Here are Martin’s top things to look out for:
1. When you buy something in store, remember you have absolutely no right whatsoever to return it (unless it’s faulty)
Martin asked the audience how long they thought shoppers have after purchasing an item in store to return it. One audience member answered “28 days” to which Martin replied “wrong”, explaining that it’s a common mistake many people make. That’s because while some shops may honour a refund, they don’t legally have to provide a refund or credit note for something purchased in store that you no longer want.
You only have a legal right to return store-bought goods when they’re faulty. But here you have just 30 days, which Martin warned doesn’t leave shoppers long if they’ve already purchased items to give at Christmas, as come 25 December, it may be too late. Martin said: “So if you’ve bought something expensive, I’d be checking now that the gift isn’t faulty, so that you still keep your full refund rights.”
2. Always get a gift receipt otherwise the recipient will have no refund rights
Another top tip Martin gave is to get a gift receipt for the recipient. This transfers the legal rights to the person receiving the item, without which they will have no rights to return the present, even if it is faulty.
Martin added that if the store cannot offer a gift receipt, then write that it is a gift on both your receipt and the store receipt as this can help should the item need to be returned.
3. You can return many items purchased online – even if not faulty
The situation is markedly better for consumers shopping online though. Here, you have an ‘absolute no-fault right of return’ – unless the goods are perishable or personalised. This means many items can be returned even if they aren’t faulty.
Online shoppers have 14 days to inform the seller that they’re sending the item back, and then 14 days from when they told the seller to actually do so – so a maximum of 28 days.
4. Look out for the last free or cheap Christmas online order dates
Martin’s last tip was to check for online retailers’ last free or cheap Christmas order dates. He gave the following examples, but you can check our Last Orders guide for more info on other retailers:
- 15 December – Curry’s
- 18 December – M&S
- 19 December – Selfridges
- 20 December – Asos
- 23 December – Amazon Prime and Argos