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Up to 40% of unwanted gifts last Christmas

Despite everyone’s best efforts, there are always some Christmas gifts that fail to live up to expectations.

Whether that’s because they are the wrong size, a particularly awful colour, or just because they have no meaningful use, there is still something that can be done.

Knowing all about the options that exist for those with unwanted gifts or items they wish to return is essential, especially if items need to be returned by post.

The period directly after Christmas sees a massive increase in the level of items being returned to stores.

For instance, up to 40% of clothing items and between 5% and 10% of electrical goods bought via catalogues and the internet were returned by shoppers last year.

Retailer John Lewis reported that rates of returns from sales increased from 10% to 12% across the last three festive periods while the average return rates for clothes retailers is around 30%.

Analysts suggest that a rate of return of between 25% and 50% is commonplace, although admittedly it does vary by industry and location. Last Christmas also saw internet shopping grow by nearly 20% compared to a year previously, so return rates are likely to increase further as a growing number of people venture online to shop.

While stores don’t have to offer refunds for items that are the wrong size, most will offer a replacement if the correct size in stock. One exception to this rule is if the goods were purchased without actually being seen which is the case for any items purchased online.

This will of course vary depending on the stores concerned and unfortunately – from a customer’s point of view – stores do not have to offer a refund if someone simply does not like an item. The good news for customers is that most retailers operate a ‘goodwill’ policy and will offer an exchange, refund or credit note for most returns.

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However, they MUST offer a refund or replacement by law if a product is faulty at the time of purchase.

Should it be broken or tampered with however, then the seller is within their rights to decide which course of action to take. Some may offer a partial refund or offer a repair service; some may offer a replacement; while others may opt to do nothing.

It’s a little different for goods that are ordered online, as customers have 14 days from the point to decide if they want something or not. A refund is required if goods are returned in that time in a good condition and a customer does not have to provide a reason.

Any returns or exchanges will often require a proof of purchase. This can be a receipt, a bank statement or even company packaging. Essentially this confirms that the goods were purchased from the retailer concerned and not from a salesman on a street corner!

As far as Christmas gifts are concerned, it’s best to ask those who sent the gift for the receipt if something is faulty or if a change of size may be required.

If you find yourself unable to return an item, it’s always worth asking around to see if anyone would like it.

Alternatively, there are hundreds of charity shops and gift options that are always on the lookout for donations.

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Please note if you do not select the “signature required” delivery option, UKMail will not be liable should your items be subsequently lost or damaged after the delivery (see clause 11.7 of the Terms & Conditions). *We define a “Parcel” as a package with dimensions up to 80cm x 80cm x 80cm and a weight of up to 25kg.

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