Retailers urged to make shoppers aware of online returns policies in run up to Christmas

Britons are expected to return £3.9 billion worth of unwanted gifts bought online after Christmas, says home delivery expert ParcelHero. The firm says over 10 per cent of the nation’s Christmas presents will wing their way back to retailers for a refund or exchange – and retailers should make shoppers aware of their return policies during this busy period.

Head of consumer research, David Jinks M.I.L.T., says: “Shoppers are aware by now that they can return any online purchase up to 14 days after delivery with no quibbles, and any faulty store-bought or online item up to 30 days after purchase. Note that the no-quibble guarantee doesn’t cover non-faulty shop-bought items. Nonetheless, many of our favourite retailers do let us return any items, faulty or non-faulty, purchased online or in-store, for a lengthy period after Christmas. Others are more grudging.

“Typically, the most generous stores, such as Amazon, ASOS, Debenhams, Gap, The White Company and Warehouse, give until the end of January to return unwanted items for refund or exchange. In most cases, this covers almost all items bought from the beginning of November through to 24 December, though double-check the small print to be sure of the start date. For example, ASOS only includes items purchased from 8 November onwards.

“We think Watchshop is the shop to watch. Its Christmas returns period runs from 1 October through to 31 January. That’s a returns window of up to 122 days, which we think is particularly generous.

“In contrast, shoppers are going to have to be a lot quicker returning Christmas items to the likes of Game, House of Fraser, Littlewoods, Net-a-Porter, Next and Very, whose Christmas deadlines window ends on 9 January.

“Two of our favourite stores that seem to run out of the holiday spirit a little early are Harvey Nicks and Selfridges. The hols need putting back in Harvey Nichols, whose deadline for returns is 5 January, and only on items purchased between 11 November and 22 December.

“But the least generous of the stores we checked was Selfridges, whose grace period ends on 4 January and who only accept return of items bought between 14 November and 7 December. It told us: ‘For anything purchased after 7 December, the normal 28-day returns policy applies.'”

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