What are your rights if your Christmas gifts are faulty?

What are your rights if your Christmas gifts are faulty?

author: Fiona Peake

By Fiona Peake


Gift giving at Christmas can be a minefield. But the least you can expect is that the presents you buy turn up as expected. 

Unfortunately, though, when it comes to faulty, late or missing deliveries, Christmas is no exception. Let’s talk about your rights and what you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones should a gift go wrong. 

You have a right to a refund if presents arrive faulty  

Retailers are responsible for providing satisfactory quality products that are fit for purpose and as described, thanks to the Consumer Rights Act

This means that if you’ve bought a gift that doesn’t meet these requirements, you have the right to a refund, repair or replacement. 

Under the legislation, you only have 30 days to reject a faulty item and ask for your money back. 

If you miss the 30-day window, you then have six months after purchase to ask for a free repair or replacement. If a replacement is not provided, you are then entitled to a refund. 

What if I didn’t buy the item myself? 

If the faulty item in question was a gift and you don’t have a gift receipt, getting a refund, repair or replacement can be trickier. 

It’s still worth trying to go in-store though. Many retailers offer a ‘goodwill’ policy on returns around Christmas, and this might make it easier for you to sort out your faulty gift without going to the person who gave it to you. 

Faulty items under warranty must be repaired or replaced within 30 days 

Nearly all electrical items are now sold with a manufacturer’s warranty. 

Typically lasting between 1 and 2 years, warranties exist as a contract between you and the manufacturer.  

Manufacturers are legally obligated to carry out the terms of a warranty. This means that faulty goods must be repaired or replaced, usually within 30 days. Always remember to check the terms and conditions of your warranty as these can vary.  

Section 75 offers protection on goods over £100 

Under Section 75, you’re covered on all purchases made on a credit card, over the value of £100. This means if you’ve made a purchase on your credit card that hasn’t been successful (whether the item is faulty or was never delivered), you can claim the money back via your credit card provider. 

Because of the added level of legal protection offered on credit card purchases, doing your more expensive Christmas shopping on your credit card can offer that additional peace of mind. You’ll still benefit from Section 75 protection, even if you get home and repay your balance immediately. 

Returns on non-faulty items aren’t guaranteed 

If there’s nothing wrong with your gift but you simply don’t like it and you want to return it, whether you’ve got a receipt or not, you’ll only be able to do this if the store it was purchased from has a returns policy. 

Unfortunately, stores aren’t legally required to have a returns policy. However, if they do have one, they must stick to it. 

Most retailers impose a time limit on returning non-faulty products, so be sure to find out how long this is and take action in plenty of time. If for whatever reason, you miss the window, many stores extend their policies around the Christmas period, so don’t be afraid to try. 

You can find the details of a store’s returns policy on their website. 

A few things you should keep in mind 

If you’re looking to return an item that isn’t faulty, there are a few things to remember: 

1. Where possible take the receipt 

Taking the receipt with you will make your life so much easier because, without it, stores can simply refuse to do anything with your unwanted gift. Some retailers will offer you a gift card rather than a refund, but this might be of a lower value than the product you’re returning. 

2. Some items cannot be returned 

This includes DVDs, music and computer software (if the seal is broken), perishable goods (like groceries and flowers), and personalised, made to order items. 

3. Keep the original packaging 

Don’t underestimate the importance of taking an item's original packing with you when seeking a refund. Retailers vary, but some can be extremely particular about this. 

Unsure what you can do if something you’ve ordered online hasn’t arrived as expected? We’ve got you covered. 


Disclaimer: We make every effort to ensure that content is correct at the time of publication. Please note that information published on this website does not constitute financial advice, and we aren’t responsible for the content of any external sites.

What are your rights if your Christmas gifts are faulty? What are your rights if your Christmas gifts are faulty?