Gifts Stay savvy if you need to swap gifts
Legally, only the person who paid has a right to return faulty goods, but the simplest way to transfer that right is to write on the receipt ‘bought as a gift for Sarah’.
Most shops are fairly relaxed about exchanging unwanted gifts especially around Christmas although they’re not legally obliged to but it’s worth finding out what their policy is before you buy. For instance, does a credit note have to be spent within a specified time period or at a certain store or can it be used online? Gift cards and vouchers
A useful fall back if you don’t know what to get someone and a welcome gift for most recipients but if the retailer goes bust or changes hands, bang goes the gift card and you’ve no rights as people with vouchers for Game, Zavvi, Peacocks and JJB Sports will be painfully aware.
Most gift vouchers have a time limit on them and they’re often put on a mantelpiece or in a drawer and forgotten. According to the Gift Cards and Vouchers Association (GCVA) around 6 per cent of all vouchers go unspent, amounting to £240m each year.Exchange and returns
The most important point to remembers is to take something back as soon as possible but unless the item’s faulty, or otherwise not fit for purpose strictly speaking the retailer doesn’t have to offer an exchange or refund.
The wrong size, wrong colour or simply inappropriate is your problem, not the retailer so always check what their policy is on exchanges. Never assume the lucky recipient of a lime green jumpsuit can just change it for a navy cardigan!
If something’s faulty, you’ll usually get a full refund within 28 days but if it’s a gift that was bought six months before Christmas, you may have to prove that the item was faulty when purchased which can be more difficult.Shopping online
The Distance Selling Regulations give you a legal right to send most goods back within a week for a full refund (including outward delivery costs), even if there's no fault but you'll usually need to pay for the return delivery. Be sure to check the policy on websites where you’re buying from private sellers.Christmas delivery
You can only complain if either you or the retailer can prove that something was for Christmas delivery (or any other specific date) as that would be a breach of contract. Obviously, that may not help you if someone’s got no present to open on Christmas morning because it hasn’t arrived so you’ll have to try the ‘something to look forward to’ tactic.DO remember it's about expectations as well as rights
Even if you don't have a legal right, companies' reputations depend on giving decent service. So you can always ask – and tell them you're disappointed if they don't help.