Make sure you know how long you have to return unwanted food and gifts this Christmas to ensure you're not left out of pocket.
How long do you have to return any Christmas shopping this year? Under consumer law, you can get your money back on faulty goods.
But with unwanted items, you’re not automatically entitled to a refund or an exchange.
Most shops offer a 'goodwill' refund policy that allows you to take back items just because you've changed your mind.
But it can be difficult to keep track of how long you have to return anything you no longer want.
We look at the biggest high street shops and supermarkets to see how much time you have for different retailers, ranked according to the amount of time you have.
If you're looking for a specific store, simply press the 'control' and 'f' keys on your keyboard and start typing in the name.
Until early January
Next has the shortest Christmas returns deadline, as purchases made from now on are eligible for return with a receipt or gift receipt until 6 January 2020.
Purchases made from December can be returned until 14 January. You can return the unopened product with proof of purchase for a full refund or an exchange.
The Entertainer is giving customers until 21 January to return any toys purchased between 1 October and Christmas Eve.
Make sure you keep your receipt handy, as The Entertainer won't issue a refund or exchange without proof of purchase.
Gifts bought from 10 October onwards can be returned through to Marks & Spencer until 11 January – that’s up to three months after purchase.
The usual returns policy is 35 days for online or shop-bought items, and 14 days for sale items.
If you have a receipt, you'll get a full refund. With a gift receipt, you’ll get a credit note and without either a receipt or gift receipt, you’ll get a credit note for the last selling price.
Until late January
Any unwanted items can be returned to Argos until 25 January provided that they were purchased from 16 October and 25 January.
If you got your items delivered, you can have them picked up free of charge and receive a refund of the original delivery charge.
Although it's not a high street shop, the online fashion retailer is likely to be processing a lot of returns in the run-up to Christmas.
Orders between 1 November and 24 December can be returned up until 31 January for a full refund, and it's free to post items back to their warehouse.
Items bought online or in store as gifts from 24 October to 24 December can be returned until 31 January.
It's vital to flag that some items such as pierced earrings, food or alcohol can’t be returned unless faulty.
With John Lewis, any goods purchased between 21 October and 24 December can be returned up until 28 January.
Items must be in a ‘resaleable’ condition which John Lewis defines as undamaged, unused and complete with all its original packaging and labels.
If you’ve got the receipt or delivery note, you’ll get a refund.
Without the original receipt or delivery note, you’ll get a gift card to the value of the last selling price of the item.
Monsoon's standard 30 day returns policy is extended as items bought from 21 October can be returned up until 22 January for a full refund.
Shop-bought items should be returned to the store. With online orders, refunds will be given provided items are sent to its warehouse.
Christmas purchases between 31 October and 24 December can be returned until 31 January along with a receipt.
Sale items are exchange only and refunds or exchanges will not be processed on Boxing Day.
The standard 30 day returns policy is extended until 31 January for anything purchased from the start of November to Christmas Eve.
Refunds and exchanges will be given if you’ve got the receipt and items are still in pristine condition – i.e. the books haven't been read.
An extended returns policy means that shoes bought between 8 November onwards can be returned until 31 January.
Returns are free for UK customers and you can return items in store, via the Post Office by attaching a pre-paid label, through a ‘Collect Plus’ location, or at a Hermes Parcel Shop.
Things to watch out for
A couple of brands, such as Marks and Spencer, won't allow customers to return products bought in outlet stores to their regular stores, so keep that in mind when buying at outlet stores that are a little further afield.
Different retailers have very different policies when it comes to sale items, so it is always a good idea to ask when buying a product if it's possible to return it if it's not quite right.
For example, Pandora doesn't allow customers to return sale items at all, but will offer an exchange.
Other retailers such as New Look and Next allow customers to return sale items, but only give them a 14-day window to do so, instead of the 28-day time frame for regular purchases.
Can I get a refund at a supermarket?
With a lot of us likely to be spending more in supermarkets in the run-up to Christmas, the chances of us buying something we don't really want are a lot higher.
But can you return food? And why are you dissatisfied with what you bought?
Here's a list of the big supermarkets and their refund policies.
If you've changed your mind
The refund policy on items that you've changed your mind about is fairly standard across all of the big supermarkets.
Customers are able to return products (excluding those listed below) within 30 days of purchase as long as they are in their original packaging, are in a resellable condition and are still within their use-by date.
Aldi gives customers 60 days to consider whether or not they want to return a product, but it must still be in the original packaging and in a resalable condition.
Marks & Spencer is the only exception in that you are not allowed to return food products just because you have changed your mind.
Refunds will only be considered if a product is faulty.
Items that typically won't be refunded by any supermarkets unless faulty include:
- Baby food;
- Chilled and frozen products;
- Entertainment items;
- Tobacco products;
- Pierced jewellery;
- Personalised items;
- Gift cards.
What if my item is faulty?
If you get home and your item turns out to be faulty, you are entitled to return it, regardless of whether or not it is in the original packaging.
This is only applicable to foods that are not beyond their use-by date.
Lidl has the most flexible returns policy when it comes to food.
On top of being able to return any perishable products for a full refund within 30 days, the supermarket will also refund or provide a replacement for any fruit or vegetables that are considered below standard, regardless of whether or not you have the receipt.
What if I tried the product and didn't like it?
This seems to be a lesser-known secret about shopping in supermarkets – you can sometimes get a refund purely based on the fact that you didn't like something.
But this is only applicable to own-brand products in certain supermarkets.
In Sainsbury's, this is known as their TRY Promise (applicable for 30 days after purchase) and you're entitled to a full refund if you don't enjoy what you bought.
You just need to speak to a member of staff in store for a full refund, or if you do it over the phone, you will be reimbursed with vouchers.
Asda has a 'Try Me Love Me' policy where customers are offered a refund and replacement if they aren't satisfied with the food item for any reason.
If you want a refund, just take the packaging, ideally with some of the contents remaining, to a customer service desk and they will be able to give you your money back.
While not having a specifically named policy, Marks and Spencer will also happily refund any customer who has bought an M&S food product and is dissatisfied with it in any way.
For each of these supermarkets, this is only applicable to food products and you need to have your receipt handy.
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