Christmas is a time for giving – but what if one of your gifts turned out to be faulty or wasn’t quite what you wanted?

Jagdeep Sandher, head of dispute resolution at Leamington Spa solicitors Blythe Liggins, said there are more legal rights if the product is faulty but that stores are not legally obliged to let you return products if they are unwanted.

He said: “With faulty goods, whether it was bought in store or online, you will usually be entitled to a refund.

“Thirty days from purchase is usually the window for a refund and, after that timeframe, you may be able to have the product replaced or repaired as an alternative – though some retailers will still be ready to offer a refund. If they cannot offer a repair or a replacement then you are entitled to a refund.

“To be classed as faulty, there are legal standards which a product must fall short. For example, if the item is not satisfactory and as described, fit for purpose and able to last for a reasonable length of time, you can certainly put forward an argument that it is faulty.”

Jagdeep added that, while there were certain legal rights around obtaining a refund for faulty products, there was no legal obligation for retailers to offer a refund for an unwanted product which was bought in store.

He said: “If the store-bought good is simply unwanted, retailers are not legally obliged to let you return it – for example, if it’s a piece of clothing which is the wrong size or you don’t like the colour of it.

“However, retailers often tend to offer more lenient policies than this, particularly in the period following Christmas, possibly offering an extended window for exchanges or refunds, so it’s definitely worth finding out.

“If a store has a return policy, this will be stated on the original receipt and they are within their rights to adhere to it. This makes it worth being aware of the return policies on the gifts you buy for others.

“For future reference, it might be advisable to consider putting a gift receipt in with the presents you give as this will make it easier for the recipient if they do want to try and exchange it.

“The rules for online purchases are slightly different. This is because retailers offer a 14-day window for you to give notice of the return, and then a further 14 days after that to send the goods back.

“These are standard timeframes to be aware of but some retailers may offer more generous return policies if you check.”

CAPTION: Jagdeep Sandher, Partner and Head of Dispute Resolution at Blythe Liggins Solicitors in Leamington Spa.

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