Christmas leftovers – how to get those unwanted presents back to the shops

James walker and resolver reveal the best and worst shops for returning unwanted Christmas gifts

Red Christmas Present On White Background

Christmas is over and, as you munch your way through cold turkey sandwiches, it’s time for the inevitable Christmas-present de-brief.

As well as the favourites, there will inevitably be some stuff that doesn’t hit the mark – clothing that doesn’t fit, doubled-up gifts, or presents so painfully naff the only thing to do is to quietly exchange them for something else.

So how do you make sure you can return your gift, and where are the best places to go if you need to return a gift? Resolver has delved into the returns policies of some of the biggest names online and on the high street.

“Returns policies are generally set from the point at which the item is sold or – if bought online – delivered, so returning a Christmas gift isn’t always easy.

“Some retailers have special policies for festive gifts that extend returns until well past Christmas. In fact, if you buy from John Lewis you’ll get three months to take back anything and get a refund whatever the reason.

“Beware, though, because there are plenty of retailers out there with much more tricky returns policies. Some of these might be fine for ordinary purchases, but if you’re buying before Christmas, you need to make sure you pick the right time.

“As well as how long you have to take a gift back, there are other things you need to be aware of. Make sure you keep it in the packaging if you can – for example it’s really hard to return opened DVDs or games. If the product is opened, unless it’s faulty, the store isn’t obliged to accept a return. Many retailers will, however, provided a product is in good condition – so keep as much of the packaging as you can, just in case.

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“Another thing to watch out for are hidden returns charges – some shops charge a ‘re-stocking fee’, while some online retailers make you pay for the cost of postage when you return.

“Finally, make sure you know whether the store you’re going back to will offer you a full cash refund, or just store credit – with gift receipt’s it’s unfortunately often the latter.”

Below is a list of the six best and six trickiest retailer returns policies for post-Christmas recalls. We’ve also put together a list of who’s hot and who’s not for five popular gift categories.

Top six Christmas retailers - Best retailers to return Christmas presents to:

1 John Lewis (three months all year round)
2. Adams (31st January)
3. Ernest Jones (31st January)
4. Debenhams (31st January)
5. New Look (21st January)
6. M&S/Next/Toys R Us (mid-January)

Worst six retailers for returns - Worst retailers to return Christmas presents to:

1. Iwantoneofthose.com – 14 days to return; you have to pay postal fee to return goods
2. Apple - 14 days to return. Gifts must be in original packaging
3. WH Smiths - 14 days to request a return for online purchase
4. Maplin Electronics – 30 days to return, but a restocking fee of £10 or 20% of the price
5. J D Sports - 5th Jan and you have to pay to return the products
6. Goldsmiths – 4th Jan, unworn and you have to pay for the return

Beware – the retailers with tricky extra rules on returns

Maplins – charges a re-stocking fee of £10 or 20% of the purchase price

Amazon - returns only free if the product is faulty. Otherwise you have to pay for the packaging and postal costs

Toys R Us – only offers a gift voucher/store credit for returns

House of Fraser – if you return later than 14 days after purchasing, then you’ll only be able to exchange for a gift certificate

Apple, Boots, Currys/PC World, Game and Waterstones – all insist that returns are either in their original packaging

Got a complaint to make about trying to get a refund? raise it via Resolver now!

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