Brits set to return £223m in unwanted gifts this Christmas

23rd December 2014

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Britain will return £223m worth of unwanted Christmas presents this year as friends and family miss the mark with gift-buying.

Last year nearly one in ten people returned gifts, but 45% have been unsuccessful in securing refunds, according to a survey by GoCompare.com the price comparison website.

It found the average value of unwanted presents was £50.

Over the years, 29% of shoppers say they have attempted to return a Christmas present.

The main reasons for returning presents was to exchange them for a better fit or colour (45%) or simply because the recipient didn’t like what they had been given (40%), 12% said that they had returned a gift because they wanted the cash.

In addition, 38% of those surveyed said they have kept an unwanted Christmas present because they didn’t want to upset the person who gave it to them.

Only 16% of those surveyed said that they were always honest with the giver about returning gifts, 14% said that they tend to avoid the subject of unwanted presents while 9% admitted to lying to the giver about returning a gift.

Claire Peate, Gocompare.com’s customer insight manager, said: “At some time in our lives, most of us have experienced that awkward moment of receiving a present which we either don’t like, doesn’t fit or we already have.  But, retailers are under no legal obligation to give a refund for unwanted gifts – unless they are faulty, not as described or unfit for purpose.

“However, as a goodwill gesture, many high-street stores operate a ‘returns policy’ which allow you to exchange, or receive a refund, credit note or gift voucher for unwanted presents.  These policies typically require items to be in unused, perfect condition and sealed in their original packaging and exclude perishable items such as food and drink and specially commissioned or personalised gifts.  Shops generally impose a time limit within which you have to return items but, many extend this period to allow for Christmas.  You can find details of retailers’ returns policies on their till receipts, in-store signs and websites.”

If the shop is having a sale when you return the item and you don’t have a receipt, you will probably only be refunded the current selling price, according to GoCompare.com. Any refund for unwanted gifts bought using a credit or debit card, will normally have to go back on the same card.

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