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Top 5 tips for savvy Christmas shopping

In that last minute dash to get the “ideal” present – make sure you know your consumer rights – especially if you end up with something that needs to be returned by Boxing Day!   
1. Buying online
Many of the consumer rights don’t apply if you are buying from a private seller on websites such as Ebay or Amazon. The seller is not legally obliged to tell you about faults, so it’s really important to read the product description carefully and make sure you are happy with the returns policy they have.  
If you are buying from an online store, check if they are offering an extended period for returns as many high street stores do at this time of year.

2. Returning gifts bought online
For most goods, you will have up to 14 days to return them and receive a full refund, if they are unused. This time period is to allow you to inspect the goods you’ve bought and to be certain that you have bought exactly what you thought you had. If you do need to return something, the seller is obliged to refund the cost of standard delivery only. If you want to use recorded or special delivery, you will have to stand the additional cost yourself.

3. Right to reject
You have up to 30 days to return goods to the trader and receive a full refund if the goods are faulty, not fit for purpose or are not as described. If you prefer, or if the 30 day period has run out, you can request a repair instead. If the repair is not successful, you are entitled to a refund. 

4. Claiming refunds
If you cannot get a response from the retailer or they have gone out of business, you may be able to claim a refund through your credit card company, if you bought using your credit card; check with your bank.
If you bought with a debit card, give the company time to arrange a replacement or repair (usually up to 8 weeks). If they are unwilling to help, or you are not happy with the response you get, you can take your complaint to the Ombudsman – see the website for more details:

5. Read the small print
Take time to read the terms and conditions, particularly for expensive items. The Consumer Rights Act states that these must be prominent and not hidden away in swathes of other text. It’s always a good idea to make sure you know what the company’s policy is on goods that arrive late, or worse still, not at all. 
Need more help?
You can contact the Citizens Advice Bureau for general information. If you need more detailed advice or legal support, we will be happy to advise you of your rights and options. Call 01302 320621 or email

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