How to return unwanted Christmas presents

Whether it’s a jumper that’s a bit naff or doesn’t fit or a gadget you’ll never use, chances are you’ll receive a Christmas gift you don’t want this year.

An estimated two thirds of people receive presents they don’t like and last year a study by GoCompare suggested £223 million worth of gifts were returned.

But be careful you don’t miss out on a refund because of the wildly differing returns policies of high-street stores and websites. With some big-name stores refusing to take back gifts as early as 4 January, shoppers face losing out on the chance to exchange gifts or get refunds and gift cards.

Technically, consumers have no right to a refund or exchange if the item is not faulty and you simply decide you don’t like it. However, most stores accept them as a goodwill gesture. But beware that most shops have a different exchange policy during a sale, like on Boxing Day for example.

A survey by money saving website 360vouchercodes.co.uk has revealed the varied returns policies for 26 leading stores and websites over the festive period.

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Marks & Spencer

Throughout the year Marks & Spencer offer a ‘goodwill’ returns policy, which gives customers 35 days to return or exchange an item bought online or in store with a valid receipt or parcel summary document.

Most items online can be returned for free but there are some exceptions including furniture, kitchen electricals and non-M&S branded toys.

Items bought in store can be exchanged at any UK branch but items purchased online cannot be exchanged via post, they can only be refunded.

The extended Christmas returns policy has been valid from 14 September, which means anything bought online from that date can be returned up until 16 January. Items returned by post must be posted by 16 January.

Debenhams

Under its usual returns policy, the store is happy to exchange or refund a purchase within 28 days of delivery. Items you wish to exchange can only be done in store.

Items purchased in store or online as Christmas gifts can be returned up until 31 January.

River Island

To save the chaos on Boxing Day, River Island refuses to accept returns on 26 December but has extended its usual 14-day returns policy. Orders placed Christmas week can be returned online or in store up until 31 January for a full refund. Make sure to keep hold of the dispatch note as proof of purchase because if that is lost you can only exchange the item at the current selling price. Only refunds can be offered with online purchases.

MandM Direct

This online retailer sells big brands at reduced prices. Since October, MandM Direct has been offering an extended Christmas returns policy where customers have until 19 January to return their goods.

For purchases outside of this time, the usual 28-day returns policy is in place but does not offer a free returns service.

A Hermes return service is available, where you can pay £2.99 to have your items left with the Hermes Parcel Shop. Or you can return your goods via the Post Office and be charged for standard delivery.

ASOS

Orders placed from November can be returned up until 31 January. The usual policy is you can return any item for free within 28 days of receiving it.

Next

The usual returns policy for Next is 14 days, but this has been extended for the Christmas period. You can now return items up until 17 January – unless they are Christmas decorations, where you have 14 days from the date of the in-store purchase. If ordered online you have 14 days from the date you receive the decorations.

Ted Baker

For online purchases between 9 November and 24 December you can return your goods up to and including 24 January – but only for a gift card or exchange. You can also return purchases made online to a standalone store.

Goods purchased from a standalone store from 1 November can be returned up to and including 24 January for a gift card or exchange. Similarly to River Island, the store is refusing to process returns from Boxing Day to 28 December.

New Look

In order to serve customers as quickly as possible, the store is refusing to process refunds or exchanges on Boxing Day. But any Christmas purchases made between 31 October and Christmas Eve can be returned until 31 January with a receipt. However, as with its usual policy, sale items can only be exchanged and not refunded.

The usual policy is to return goods with 28 days of purchase.

FootAsylum

Any items purchased between 26 October and Christmas Eve can be returned up to and including 10 January. Its website doesn’t state whether this is in-store returns only or if it also applies to online purchases. No returns will be processed between Boxing Day and 28 December.

H Samuel

All items purchased between 26 October and Christmas Eve can be returned for an exchange or refund up to and including 30 January.

Cash refunds for gifts can only be made to the payment card used to purchase the goods. So if a recipient wants to return their gifts they can get a gift card of the same value.

Like other stores, H Samuel is not dealing with returns from Boxing Day up to and including 28 December.

Selfridges

Orders made online between 13 November and 7 December can be returned by 11 January. Anything purchased in store with a gift receipt can be returned to a store by 4 January.

Boohoo

The online clothing retailer has extended its usual 14-day returns policy over the Christmas period. Orders made between 12 November and Boxing Day can now be returned up until 18 January.

Accessorize

During the Christmas period, the shop’s standard 30-day returns policy has been extended. This means online purchases from 24 October to Boxing Day can be returned to its warehouse up to and including 21 January. However, if returning to a store an exchange or gift card will be offered.

Amazon

The standard 30-day returns policy has been extended by Amazon over the Christmas period. Items dispatched from 1 November to 31 December can be returned at any time before midnight 31 January.

HMV

Any items purchased throughout November and December can be exchanged up until 31 January. There are some exclusions such as games credit and subscriptions. In store, HMV will be exchanging unwanted Christmas gifts from 27 December.

Toys R Us

Online purchases from 4 November to 18 December may be returned for a full refund up until 15 January. Its website states this policy does not apply to purchases made in store.

WHSmith

For purchases made from 1 November, WHSmith has extended its returns policy to last until 30 days from Christmas until 23 January.

House of Fraser

From 25 October you can return items in store for an exchange or refund to a gift card. If returning online you will receive an eVoucher. If you are not happy with your purchase you can return it for a full refund to the original payment within 14 days of purchase.

Pandora

Pandora’s 30-day standard returns policy has been extended for products purchased between 2 November and Christmas Eve. Purchases can be refunded online or in store up to and including 17 January.

F&F

F&F will offer a full refund up until 31 January both online and in store for any purchase of unwanted presents purchased between 1 November and 24 December.

The White Company

The standard returns policy has been extended to 31 January.

An item that was received as a gift can be returned for an exchange or gift voucher but an email will be sent to the person who made the original purchase. Refunds can only be made to the original payment card on which the gift was purchased.

Monsoon

The standard 30-day policy has been extended and any online purchases made from 24 October to Christmas Eve can be returned to the warehouse up to and including 21 January for a full refund. If returned to a store then an exchange or gift card will be offered.

Watch Shop

All items ordered from 1 November are valid for a full refund until 31 January.

Lipsy

Anything purchased online from 1 November can be returned in store for a full refund until 9 January. However, anything purchased in store from 1 November is valid for exchange only.

Laura Ashley

Items can be returned within 28 days of receipt, but gift receipts can be used to make an exchange until 17 January.

Game

As long as you have the original invoice and payment card used to make the purchase, you can get a full refund on any Christmas gift as long as it is sealed and in the original packaging.

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