• Damian J Miles

Christmas is coming! And so are the un-wanted gifts!

The sights. The sounds. Great food and un-wanted presents!

It happens, you get given a gift that falls a little short of the new Aston Martin you wanted. In fact it could fall short of anything that might be thought of as tasteful. What do you do? Take it back of course. But it is very important to KNOW your rights rather than state that you know your rights.

Firstly, find out what the returns policy of the seller is. Most online or mail order companies are obliged to give a 28 day returns policy without question. This is for un-used items Some items may be exempt such as goods with a short shelf life, earrings, body jewellery, cosmetics and a whole heap of other stuff. The general rule I apply is, if you had received this returned item as a gift, would you want to use it (underwear for example)?

A retail shop doesn't have the same compulsory return time. The original idea being that you have had time to try the item on, feel the quality, check it over and consider the purchase, things you can't do without seeing it physically. Most returns to retailers are at their discretion with the exceptions of faulty items, goods un fit for the purpose sold (chocolate teapot?) or anything previously agreed.

Returns rather than refunds are more widely accepted, as the retailer retains your business. Refunds hurt the finances and also, my personal opinion, I think its a little un-ethical to refund to someone who didn't purchase it.

Now, don't think you can damage something and claim a refund because its faulty. Retailers know there products. They know when they've been tampered with and can refuse both exchange or refund on this basis. You could take them to court if you wanted, but its not a nice way to be found out as a liar! I have dealt with many people doing this over the years and it only hurts them. They take away their opportunity to do what many people do with an un-wanted gift, and sell it on ebay.

Rule one when buying. Mkae sure you understand the returns policy and don't buy if you don't like it.

Rule one when returning. Understand the returns policy and be prepared for surprizes. (many people buy in sales or faulty goods). I've had more than one person try and return something purchased 9 months previous that was half price in a sale. I've even returned items to find they were on offer when purchased e.g. a £20 book that was sold as a promotion for £4, and a train set that retailed for £40 sold as damaged for £8. Small fry I know, but you get the point.

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