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Boy unhappy with his present

The Christmas presents we complain about

Have you ever bought or received a Christmas present that’s left you feeling a little flat? We’ve all had the odd gift that hasn’t been right, but if the problem is to do with poor quality, there are things you can do. As Christmas shopping season starts, know your rights now and you save yourself problems later on in the festive season with dud gifts.

Complaints about goods are highest in January, with tablets, notebooks and laptops hitting the top spot this year, according to Citizens Advice. Complaints in January 2015 with these products were one third higher than for the rest of the year.

Other personal goods complained about include women’s clothing, televisions, toys and jewellery.

Complaints about toys had the biggest increase in complaints, with the amount of complaints doubling in January 2015 in comparison to the rest of the year.

But with new rights under the Consumer Rights Act, which applies to goods bought after 1 October 2015, you’re now even more protected when things go wrong.

Here’s what to do if your shopping is more frustrating, than fun.

Christmas shopping – know your rights

Complaints were most likely to be about defective goods, while one in seven people contacted the service because of misleading claims and descriptions about their purchase. One in 20 complained that businesses didn’t honour their cancellation rights, according to the figures.

But if a product doesn’t work, or is poor quality, you have a right to have a refund.

A specific timeframe has been created in which you can reject a faulty item and get a full refund - now 30 days from the date you purchase the product.

Previously this was described as a 'reasonable time' (in practice this was usually 3-4 weeks). The new Consumer Rights Act now gives clarity on this.

It is a good idea to check products are working and good quality before you give them as gifts.

However, if problems occur outside of this timeframe, you can ask the retailer to repair or replace the product.

If you discover the fault within the first six months from delivery, it is presumed to have been there from the time of delivery - unless the retailer can prove otherwise.

After one failed attempt by the retailer to repair or replace a faulty item, the Consumer Rights Act now entitles you to ask for a refund or price reduction. 

My present isn’t faulty, but I still want to return it…

We’ve all had those gifts, where for whatever reason, they’re simply not right.

Unfortunately, if you simply don’t like an item, you have no legal rights to return it. But, if a company has a returns policy they must stick to it. You will need the receipt though, so if it’s a gift you’ve received rather than bought yourself, you’ll have to ask for the receipt.

If the item was bought online, over the phone, or by mail order the person buying the gift may have additional rights to return it. This is because your purchase could be based on a brief description, or photograph, so what you receive may not be as expected.  

This one may have to be considered carefully to avoid offending, but selling unwanted items could also net you some extra cash if you are struggling in the post-Christmas period. 

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