What to do with your unwanted christmas gifts


giftsSO YOU’VE opened your Christmas presents — and some of them are shockers.

They might say it’s the thought that counts, but that won’t stop countless Aussies from trying to return unwanted Christmas gifts this year.

In fact, according to Green Villages Sydney, more than 1.7 million of us receive unwanted gifts at Christmas — so if you’ve scored some dodgy presents this year, you’re definitely not alone.

But when it comes to returning unwanted Christmas presents, what are your rights?

In short, there’s good news — and bad news.

On the plus side, if you received a gift that is broken, defective or doesn’t match the advertised description, you’ll be able to return the item to the store it was originally purchased from for cash or store credit, or get a replacement.

You’ll be able to return the item even if it was purchased online, or during a sale, and also if it stops working within a “reasonable” amount of time.

“The first thing to know is that the rules are no different at Christmas time compared to any other time of the year,” she said.

“It’s the Australian Consumer Law, this is actually a federal law and the shops are bound by these things.”

According to Canstar, that means that stores that have signs claiming “no refunds”, “no refunds on sale items” or “exchange or credit only for return of sale items” are breaching Australian Consumer Law when it comes to broken or misleading items.

If, on the other hand, the gift works perfectly, but you just don’t happen to like it, you might face a bigger challenge.

The first step is to ask for a receipt from whoever bought the item for you, which might be an awkward conversation to have.

But even if you are able to get hold of the original receipt or another proof of purchase, shops still aren’t obligated to accept returns based on a change of mind.

Instead, they operate on a case-by-case basis, with different stores having their own returns policies.

While many large retailers such as Myer and David Jones will let customers return non-faulty items for an exchange or refund provided goods are returned “within a timely manner” and in “saleable condition” as an act of goodwill, they are not legally required to do so.

If the store won’t accept the return, then you’re probably stuck with it — but don’t forget sites like Gumtree and eBay, which will soon be flooded with unwanted Christmas presents.

You can also donate the gifts to your local op shop or favourite charity.

And if all else fails, there’s always next year’s office Secret Santa to offload the most heinous of gifts …