Which? reveals the nation’s most disappointing Christmas presents

Out of date Baileys liqueur, potato peelers and a mop and bucket are among the worst Christmas gifts consumers have received, as new Which? research reveals Londoners and younger generations were the most likely to give away Christmas gifts last year.

The consumer champion surveyed more than 2,000 members of the public in February 2020 on what they did with unwanted Christmas presents they received last year.

Around one in five (19%) admitted they had given away or sold one or more gifts they had received last Christmas.

Those from younger generations were most likely to give away presents. Which? found three in ten (28%) of those aged between 18 and 34 years old gave away or sold at least one present they received last year, compared to nearly one in five (17%) aged between 45 and 54 years, and one in 10 (12%) aged 55 years and over.

Londoners were also more likely to find a new home for their presents compared to the rest of the UK – a third (32%) of those from the capital said they gave away or sold disappointing gifts compared to the UK average of one in five (19%).

Which? found women were more likely than their male counterparts to give away or sell their presents – a quarter (24%) of women decided to find a new home for their disappointing presents last year compared to one in seven (15%) men.

The consumer champion also asked people about the worst Christmas gifts they have ever received. Among them was a carpet cleaner, a sleeve ironing board, used potato peelers and out of date Baileys Irish Cream liqueur – which was thankfully poured down the sink.

One former school cleaner told Which? she felt “very insulted” when she received a plastic bucket, mop and pink rubber gloves one Christmas. Another person was less than impressed when they received “Mr & Mrs” cushion covers from an ex-boyfriend.

Most retailers extend their return policy during the festive period, so if you’ve received a disappointing gift you may be able to exchange it for another item or a voucher if you have a gift receipt. However, customers should carefully consider whether to accept vouchers, as they could become worthless if the retailer goes under.

The buyer is often the only one who can request a refund or exchange, however, retailers may allow gift recipients to return gifts in exchange for a gift card, voucher or credit note so long as the item was marked as a gift at the time of purchase.

If you don’t have a gift receipt, you could consider donating your gift to charity or selling it on a secondhand marketplace such as eBay or musicMagpie.

Adam French, Which? Consumer Rights Expert, said:

“Whether it is out of date booze or kitchen utensils, many of us have been left wondering how to get rid of an unwanted Christmas gift – and our research shows a fifth of people choose to give their presents away.

“We’d always advise requesting a gift receipt so the recipient has the option to exchange the present if they are disappointed.

“Often only the buyer can request a refund or exchange. But if the item was marked as a gift when ordered, the retailer’s returns policy may enable a recipient to return or exchange it.”

Notes to editor

Yonder, on behalf of Which?, surveyed 2,071 UK adults online between January 31st and 3rd February 2020. The data has been weighted to be representative of the UK population (aged 18 and over).

Which? advice on what to do with unwanted gifts is available here: https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/i-want-to-return-my-goods-what-are-my-rights

Please see a list below of what we think are 10 of the worst Christmas gifts respondents reported in Which?’s most recent survey:

  • Carpet cleaner
  • Ironing board sleeve
  • Used potato peelers
  • Out of date Baileys Irish Cream Liqueur
  • Plastic bucket, mop & pink rubber gloves
  • Mr & Mrs cushion covers from an ex-boyfriend
  • Bejewelled bath cap
  • A second-hand bra
  • A pencil stand
  • Emoji poo bath plug

The information in this press release is for editorial use by journalists and media outlets only. Any business seeking to reproduce information in this release should contact the Which? Endorsement Scheme team at endorsementscheme@which.co.uk.

Which? is the UK’s consumer champion, here to make life simpler, fairer and safer for everyone. Our research gets to the heart of consumer issues, our advice is impartial, and our rigorous product tests lead to expert recommendations. We’re the independent consumer voice that influences politicians and lawmakers, investigates, holds businesses to account and makes change happen. As an organisation we’re not for profit and all for making consumers more powerful.

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