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Know your returns rights before heading to the shops this Christmas

Which? reveals that more than half of shoppers are over-estimating their returns rights when doing their Christmas shopping on the high street.

With the Christmas shopping season underway, Which? is stressing the importance of shoppers knowing the difference between their rights when shopping online or in-store.

Which? asked more than 2000 people about their Christmas shopping plans and their understanding of shopping rights, finding that more than half (52%) of them incorrectly thought you always have the right to return an unwanted product bought in person in-store for a full refund. This has increased from 42% in 2016.

The survey also revealed that while 94% of Christmas shoppers intend to buy online this year, most will be shopping in-store as well, with only 5% shopping exclusively on the internet.

If you do your Christmas shopping in-store you could be in for a nasty surprise if you think you are automatically entitled to a refund. Each retailer decides their own returns policy for non-faulty goods, so if you change your mind about something you’ve bought or you’re given an unwanted gift, you may not be eligible for a refund. However, if you shop online, you are legally entitled to a full refund for a non-faulty purchase if you change your mind and notify the retailer within 14 days of delivery. You then have a further 14 days to return it.

In the recent survey, four in 10 (38%) admitted that they don’t look at a retailer’s returns policy when making a purchase, with 43% only looking sometimes. However, one in five (19%) Christmas shoppers told Which? that they always look at the returns policy. Which? is advising shoppers to do their research and check retailers’ returns policies before making a purchase in-store this Christmas.

The Which? Consumer Rights site provides free online advice on all your shopping rights, including: returns rights, what to do if you think you’ve been misled by a special offer, and how to complain if your delivery is late.

Alex Neill, Which? Managing Director of Home Products and Services, said:

“Don’t let indecision or unwanted gifts spoil your festive cheer, make sure you know your return and refund rights before you hit the shops.​

“Most of us have bought something that we later want to take back, ​so do your research and check the retailers’ returns policies to avoid a nasty surprise.”

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