News and Events

Returning unwanted or faulty gifts? Know your rights!

View profile for Josh Millichamp
  • Posted
  • Author

It’s that time of year where the chaotic Christmas shopping is finally over but the sales are just too tempting to say no!

What about if one of your gifts turn out to be unsuitable, faulty or not fit for purpose?

If you want to return an unwanted item that has been bought in a shop, then this will be at the retailer’s discretion and subject to their returns policy – you do not have an automatic right to an exchange or refund where the item is simply unwanted.

If the goods turn out to be faulty then you do have an automatic right under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 to return the faulty goods. The Consumer Rights Act 2015 implies various terms into contracts entered into between businesses and consumers. These terms do not have to be expressly set out in store or on your receipt but are implied by law.

Amongst other implied terms, any goods purchased must:

  • be of satisfactory quality;
  • be fit for purpose;
  • be as described.

If the goods fall foul of the implied terms then as a consumer you have a right to return the goods and have a full refund. This is known as your “short term right to reject”. This right must be exercised within 30 days of the purchase taking place. If the goods fall foul of the implied terms after the initial 30 day period then the retailer must offer to repair the goods without any charge to the consumer (and without significant inconvenience to the consumer) or simply replace the goods. Most commonly a replacement is provided, but where this is not possible a repair should be attempted. If after a repair the goods still do not conform to the contract then the consumer has the final right to reject (i.e. request a refund).

Purchasing Goods online?

But what about if the goods were purchased online as opposed to in store? Well the rules do differ…

Where goods are either purchased online, over the phone or by mail order, as a consumer you have further consumer returns rights under the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013. These Regulations give you a cancellation period in the event that you change your mind. The time limit for you to cancel starts from the moment you place your order and ends 14 days from the day you receive your goods. You then have a further 14 days from the date you notify the retailer that you would like to cancel your order to return the goods to them.

Where goods are purchased online and turn out to be faulty then your rights are the same as those in respect of goods purchased in store. However, where the goods appear to be faulty after six months, then the burden of proof switches to the consumer to prove that the fault was present at the time the goods were initially purchased.

Paying by credit card?

It is also worthy of noting that if you are purchasing goods on a credit card and the value exceeds £100.00, consumers also have the protection of section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974. Under Section 75 the credit card provider is jointly liable for any breach of the retailer you purchase the goods from. Therefore, if you purchase goods on your credit card (where the value exceeds £100.00) you can make a claim to both the retailer and credit card provider at the same time, although you are only entitled to recover your losses from one or the other.

If you would like any further advice on consumer rights then please call us on 0800 118 1500 or contact Dispute Resolution Solicitor, Josh Millichamp.