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Returning your unwanted gifts...

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For Christmas I gave my teenage nephew what I thought to be a very attractive jumper. He politely asked if I still had the receipt! Fortunately the shop I purchased it from anticipated my lack of judgement and gave me a gift receipt and so my nephew can swap the jumper for something to the same value.

But what would my position be if I had not been given a gift receipt?

The answer is largely contained in the Sale of Goods Act 1979. Under the Act, the retailer I purchased the jumper from is legally obliged to offer a refund or exchange if the goods:

  • are faulty because they do not match the description;
  • are not of satisfactory quality or,
  • are not fit for purpose (in this case the only ‘fault’ is my fashion sense!)

If none of these conditions apply, the retailer is not legally obliged to offer a refund or exchange -although in practice many retailers do provided the goods are returned undamaged within a specified period of time.

Therefore it is worth checking the retailer’s terms and conditions and keeping hold of the receipt. Without a receipt or other proof of the amount paid, the retailer may only be obliged to offer you the sale value of the item.

However, if I had purchased the jumper online I would have been entitled under the Act to ask for a refund anytime within 7 days of receiving the jumper even though it was not faulty, provided I complied with the retailer’s terms and conditions in returning the jumper to them.

If you have any questions regarding your consumer rights (especially for those unwanted presents!), please contact Dawson Hart on 01825 762281 and ask for Alison Sparks.