Know your rights on unwanted presents

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WHILE the vast majority of people are happy with the presents they receive at Christmas, occasionally a gift isn’t “up to scratch”.

So, if a present doesn’t measure up to your expectations or is faulty, would you know your rights?

Now the shops have reopened after Christmas, Lancashire County Council’s Trading Standards Service is advising people about their entitlement to a repair, replacement or refund.

If you got an unwanted Christmas gift and there is nothing wrong with it, you don’t have the legal right to a refund - but some shops may let you return the item or offer you a credit note if you can provide the shop with proof of purchase such as the receipt.

If an item is faulty, you have rights under the Sale of Goods Act. This applies if the gift was bought in store, from an online retailer, from a catalogue, over the phone or on your doorstep.

Items must be of satisfactory quality, free of defects, suitable for the described use and fit the description on the packaging or what the trader told you.

County Coun. Albert Atkinson, Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member responsible for trading standards, said: “With people exchanging gifts at Christmas, you might unfortunately receive faulty goods.

“It’s important if you have to return something, that you get what you’re entitled to receive. Consumers have clear rights when it comes to items that need repairing, replacing or refunding.

“Although most retailers are reliable, knowing your rights as a consumer can help you to avoid being ripped off.”

People are advised to follow these simple steps:

You do not need a receipt to get a refund for faulty goods though it’s always wise to keep hold of it if possible. You may be required to show proof of purchase from the shop concerned with a credit card slip or bank or credit card statement.

Buying items over the internet, over the phone, from a catalogue or on your doorstep gives people additional rights as well as those under the Sale of Goods Act. Although not applicable in every situation, these extra rights give you seven days to change your mind and cancel your order from the date of delivery.

When buying anything online, try to stick to well-known companies such as those you have done business with before or those that have been recommended to you. Get a postal address and telephone number, and print out your order and any terms and conditions in case of problems after Christmas.

Buying goods or services costing over £100 and up to £30,000 with a credit card gives consumers extra protection as the Consumer Credit Act says that the credit card company is equally liable for any breach of contract, so if a problem arises you can claim from the trader or the credit card company.

Try to resolve any issues with the trader themselves. If you can’t resolve a problem with a trader, you can call Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06 or visit www.direct.gov.uk/consumergoods.

For details about your rights, visit www.lancashire.gov.uk/tradingstandards