Everyone hopes to unwrap the perfect gift on Christmas Day, but sometimes a present can be the wrong size, shape, or simply not to your liking.
The good news is that you are able to return unwanted items to stores, provided you can prove certain criteria.
How long do I have to return an item?
Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, you are legally entitled to return goods that are of unsatisfactory quality, unfit for purpose, or not as described, and you have up to 30 days from the date you take ownership of the product.
While shops are not obligated to provide a full refund for goods purchased in store unless they are faulty, many retailers often still do - providing it is within the time frame outlined in their returns policy.
After the 30 day period, you will not be legally entitled to a full refund and will have fewer rights, meaning you may only be able to ask for a repair, replacement or partial refund.
However, some stores may often extend their refund policy around the festive season.
For goods purchased online, under the Consumer Contracts Regulations you have 14 days after your order is received to notify the seller you want to return the item and claim a full refund.
After you have informed the seller you wish to cancel your order, you then have a further 14 days to send the goods back.
These rights only apply to the person who made the purchase, so if you wish to return a present the store may ask the original buyer to make the return.
What do I need to return an item?
All retailers will usually require the following items to approve the return of a product:
A receipt - You will need your receipt for proof of purchase, so be sure to take it along with you. If the item was a present, you will need to take along the gift receiptThe card you paid with - You will require the card that was used to buy the item in order to process the refundThe original packaging - Always ensure you return the items as you received it in the original packaging
Returns policies differ across retailer, so while some may provide a full refund for an item, others may only offer an exchange or a credit voucher instead.
Some stores extend their refund policy around the Christmas period (Photo: Shutterstock)
Which items can I return?
You are entitled to return items that don't meet the following criteria:
Satisfactory quality - Goods should not be faulty or damaged when you receive them, and must be in a condition that is considered ‘reasonable’Fit for purpose - Goods should be fit for the purpose they are supplied forAs described - Goods should measure up to the description given to you at the time of purchase
However, there are some exceptions which cannot be returned, including:
Perishable items - Such as food and flowersDVDs, music and computer software - These products will likely be refused a refund if the packaging seal has been brokenMade to order items - If a product has been personalised, it is unlikely you will be able to return it
Christmas returns policies
An extended returns period is available at these major retailers following the Christmas period, offering shoppers an additional window to bring back unwanted goods.
Marks and Spencer - The extended Christmas returns policy is valid from 10 October 2019, allowing returns bought after this date to be made until 11 January 2020John Lewis - The retailer has extended its usual limit for returns just for the festive season. Any gift bought between 21 October and 24 December 2019 can be returned up until 28 January 2020, if it’s unwanted or unsuitable.Debenhams - Items purchased between 24 October and 24 December 2019, can be returned until 31 January 2020New Look - Any Christmas purchases made between 31 October and 24 December 2019 may be returned until 31 January 2020, with a valid receipt/gift receipt or order number/dispatch note. This policy applies to all items purchased, whether full-priced, promotion or sale. No exchanges or refunds will be processed on Boxing DayTopshop - Orders placed between 22 November and 23 December 2019 can be returned online and in store, up to and including 31 January 2020River Island - The retailer will offer an exchange or refund card until 14 January 2020, if the item has been purchased more than 28 days before. Bring your receipt or gift receipt to receive an exchange or refund card at the original purchase priceASOS - Orders placed from 1 November to 24 December 2019 can be returned up until 31 January 2020, for a full refund back to the original payment methodAmazon - Items dispatched by Amazon.co.uk (including items sold by third-party sellers and fulfilled by Amazon) between 1 November and 31 December 2019 inclusive may be returned at any time before midnight on 31 January 2020H Samuel - Purchases made between 1 November and 24 December 2019 can be exchanged or refunded up to Saturday 25 January 2020HMV - You can refund or exchange items bought in an HMV store any time in November and December 2019 until Friday 31 January 2020. Some exclusions (including console games and gift cards) apply. Exchanges will be accepted from 27 December 2019, with proof of purchaseGame - You can return your product for an exchange or refund until 3 January 2020, if purchased between 15 November and 5 December 2019