EVERY Christmas most people either give or receive at least one slightly “iffy” gift. While many of us will smile politely and wear or use that gift once, others will be looking to return items and pick something better suited to their tastes.
Another, perhaps less common scenario is the case of a faulty gift which often leaves both the gift-giver and receiver wondering what options they have.
With some items (whether faulty or not) the options are clear – a 14 or 28 day no-quibble-money back/exchange option, easy! High street retailers don’t have to offer that sort of returns policy, although most chose to do so. It’s worth remembering that many of the bigger retailers offer extended time frames around the festive period of which you, as the consumer can take advantage.
The answer is less clear in the second of our two scenarios. If the gift is faulty, then it is much more likely that the retailer will have an obligation to give you a refund or exchange, but as in many areas, consumers do need to be aware of the rules and regulations governing how they should act.
Firstly, it’s important to act quickly. You have 30 days in which to reject something that's faulty and get your money back.
If you’re outside of your 30-day period, or if you prefer, you can ask for a repair or replacement.
In the first six months from when you buy the item, the onus is on the seller to prove it was of satisfactory quality when you bought it – so don’t hang around if you begin noticing problems with a purchase. After this point, the onus switches and you are therefore more likely to face an uphill struggle in getting the replacement you’re after.
Finally, if you find yourself up against a retailer who refuses to refund, repair or replace a faulty item, the first step (after having made the initial request) should be a written, formal complaint to the manager of the shop/store.
If you still have no luck, there is always an option to refer the matter to the ombudsman to make a final decision and/or seek legal advice in respect of your consumer rights.
TEL: 01458 844101