Christmas Shopping – Know Your Rights


It is estimated that in the UK we will spend over £20 billion on Christmas presents this year but many will not know their rights after purchase.

Whether you purchase Online or from the High Street, you are entitled to goods which:

  1. Fit the description
  2. Are of satisfactory quality (i.e. no defects)
  3. Are suitable for the intended purpose.

Alex Sandland, litigation partner at Butcher & Barlow, has prepared the following guide to help you understand your consumer rights at Christmas so you are not left out of pocket.


High Street 

  1. What are the returns policies?

Most retailers in the UK offer enhanced return policies, but you should clarify this with each store. There is no automatic right to return or reject unwanted presents for a refund or store credit so always check the store policy before purchase.

  1. Do I need a receipt?

When returning goods a proof of purchase is required. The best proof is a receipt but a bank statement may suffice. When shopping for gifts for others, ask for a gift receipts. This enables the recipient to return the item. You should pay with cash otherwise the refund will need to be transferred back to the card used for payment.

  1. What should I do before wrapping?

Check the gifts when you get home. If there is a problem, contact the store as soon as possible and take a photograph (showing the time and date).

  1. What if the item does not work and has been given?

If goods are defective and have not been misused you are entitled to a free repair, like for like replacement or partial refund, provided the fault is identified within the first six months after purchase.


  1. Are my rights different from the High Street?

You can cancel an order up to 14 days from the day you receive your items. (This may not apply to personalised or perishable items). When returning items, you may have to pay the postage and you should attach proof of purchase.

  1. When will the product be delivered?

Online companies have up to 30 days to deliver goods unless otherwise agreed (i.e. you request special delivery).

However strong your legal protection, if the seller will not obey the rules, you should seek legal advice on how best to resolve your dispute.


For more information, or with a specific query, contact Alex Sandland on 01606 3343009 or email

Alex Sandland

Alex Sandland