Consumer: ‘Unshop’ away those unwanted gifts

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If Santa didn’t quite get it right this christmas, don’t worry. just get re-sell happy like millions of others.

It’s the thought that counts, they say. And for many people who found themselves clutching not quite the festive gift they were hoping for on Christmas Day, the first thought sell it on!

Estimates suggest more than £2billion worth of unwanted gifts were given this festive season.

But rather than sticking them in the back of the wardrobe, many people are being far more enterprising.

Forget sales shopping, millions of people are simply “un-shopping” their unwanted presents online.

New figures show that listings for unwanted goods on eBay and Gumtree shot up on Boxing Day.

Even on Christmas Day itself, before the turkey had had its proper resting time, listings for computers and tablets had risen by 25 per cent and there were 25,000 listings for craft items on eBay.

There were ten times more women’s clothes items listed on eBay in the 24 hours after Christmas compared to men’s, while the most searched items on Gumtree were iPhones and Playstations. The eBay site was expecting over 100,000 new listings on Boxing Day alone.

Meanwhile data from also shows a record number of unwanted gifts were sold online, as figures revealed 32,705 people logged on to sell their goods before 11am on Christmas day, with almost 2.7m presents present sold online. The top ‘unwanted’ gift was Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’ album, with more than 53,000 copies listed for sale,

However if you don’t want to venture into online re-selling, you may well have to bite the bullet and tell the gift-giver!

Here is a rundown of consumers’ rights when it comes to returning those unwanted items, whether they were bought on the high street or online, as compiled by’s Les Roberts.

Can I return an unwanted gift bought on the High Street? Shops don’t have to accept returned goods unless they are faulty, not as described, or not fit for purpose. However, if you want to return an item simply because you don’t like it, most shops will offer to exchange or refund it as a gesture of goodwill.

How long do I have to return it? The returns policy is typically between 28 and 30 days, but many extend this in the weeks after Christmas. Shops aren’t required to have a returns policy, but if they do, they have to stick to it. Some retailers may offer a different type of refund, like a credit note.

What do I need to provide when returning an item? It’s important to bring the receipt with you (or gift receipt which doesn’t show the cost of the item). You should be given either a refund or be able to exchange the item. If the item was bought on a credit or debit card then the refund will usually be applied to that card. If you don’t fancy asking whoever bought the present to get the refund and give you the money instead, you’ll most likely have to make do with an exchange or a credit note.

What if I don’t have the receipt? If you can’t get hold of the receipt and you’re taking an item back simply because you don’t like it, the retailer is under no legal obligation to give you a refund - but they may offer you an exchange or a credit note. If the goods are faulty, you can return without a receipt and still have the same rights under the Sale of Goods Act. However this only applies to the person who bought the item, so you may need to ask them to return it for you.

What if the item was bought online? If the item you want to return was ordered online, over the phone or by mail order, you have even greater protection under the Distance Selling Regulations.

Are there any items I can’t return? Most retailers’ returns policies will specify you can return non-faulty goods if they are unused. However, there are exceptions like DVDs, music and computer software; earrings, make-up and toiletries; perishable items such as food and flowers and bespoke or personalised items .

What if the items were paid for by credit card? Any items costing between £100 and £60,260 and bought on a credit card are subject to protection under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 and the Consumer Credit Directive of 2011.

PIC: Tony Johnson

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