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Christmas Shopping – know your rights

publication date: Dec 4, 2012
author/source: Dean Dunham
Dean DunhamIf you buy something that is faulty then you are automatically entitled to a full refund regardless of where you bought it. So if that gleaming new toy that you've brought for a child is flawed when they open the box, take it straight back.

It's slightly different if you want a refund for something because you've changed your mind – and it depends on where and when you bought it.

High Street shopping
Unfortunately, when you buy from a physical shop you are not entitled to a refund just because you change your mind or the erson you bought something for simply doesn't like it. Lot's of people think you should get a refund for changing your mind, but according to the law you do not.

Most retailers will, however, allow you an exchange if you have proof of purchase.

A right to exchange is not a legal requirement, but often it's part of the retailer's own terms and conditions. It's therefore a good idea to always check the shop's exchange policy before you buy.

Online shopping
When you buy goods and services online you have enhanced rights, which entitle you to a seven day cooling off period if you change your mind. When you buy online your rights are different to if you walk into a shop, because of the cooling off period.

When you are shopping on the net, you have seven days to change your mind from when you receive the goods. So if you have second thoughts when you get the item, you can get your money back and get something else in time for Christmas instead.

If you are refused a refund, you should say the following:

"Under the distance selling regulations, you have to give me seven days cooling off. I know my rights and I want my money back."

If they still refuse to allow you to return the goods for a full refund, then make a note of date and keep a copy of any emails. You can then contact your local trading standards office.

You can find more information about your consumer rights on Dean's website.