Faulty Christmas gifts? Your return rights explained

Faulty Christmas gifts? Your return rights explained

With Christmas Day now behind us, you might be returning some unwanted or faulty gifts, but do you know your rights?

Around four in ten (44%) shoppers we surveyed incorrectly believed they had a legal right to a refund if they changed their mind, while another four in ten (43%) knew that you don’t.

Returns policies are entirely dependent upon the retailer and there is no legal requirement for them to have a policy, however if one exists, it is a contractual agreement they must stick to, so check out the stores’ return policy online before you take the item back.

If you shop online you have additional rights under the Consumer Contracts Regulations which give you 14 days from delivery for a refund if you change your mind. However, exceptions to this include CDs and DVDs with a broken seal and tailor-made or personalised items.

We also found that a quarter (24%) of people didn’t know how long they had to return a faulty item, with as many as two in five people (41%) guessing incorrectly.

If an item is faulty consumers are protected under the Consumer Rights Act which means that you have 30 days to return the item and receive a full refund. Even after this time you can ask the retailer to repair or replace your faulty item.

If you’ve purchased a faulty product any time after 1 October 2015, you can use our faulty goods tool to create a ready-to-go letter to sign and send off to the retailer requesting a refund, repair or replacement.


Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said:

“It’s naturally disappointing when something you’ve bought turns out to be faulty, but don’t despair, you do have rights.

“If you’re returning something this Christmas, whether it’s not quite right or faulty, check your rights before you hit the high street and be sure to act quickly to avoid further disappointment.”

Consumer Minister Nick Boles MP said:

“You know that present you got from your aunt – who still seems to think you are 13 years old. Well the good news is if she ordered it online you can probably return it. The Consumer Rights Act and Consumer Contract Regulations make clear what rights people have. And we can all be grateful to Which? for continuing to spread the word at one of one of the busiest times in the shopping calendar.”

For help and advice on what to do if you have a faulty product and to use our tool to help create a bespoke letter to make your claim, visit: www.which.co.uk/faultyproducts

Note to editors:

  •     Populus, on behalf of Which?, surveyed 2,065 UK adults online between 23rd and 25th of October 2015. Data was weighted to be demographically representative of the UK population. Populas is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.
  •     The Consumer Rights Act came into force on the 1 October 2015, replacing the Sales of Goods Act, Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations and the Supply of Goods and Services Act. For purchases made on or after the 1 October, the Consumer Rights Act applies, however if you made your purchase before this date, then the Sale of Good Act will apply.
  • Which? Consumer Rights is a free website to help consumers understand their rights and find simple ways to solve everyday consumer problems. Receiving more than 500,000 visitors per month, the website covers 80 topics and provides access to more than 220 letters and step-by-step guides. To find out more, visit: www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights

For help and advice on what to do if you have a faulty product and to use our tool to help create a bespoke letter to make your claim, visit: www.which.co.uk/faultyproducts

Press Release: ,