30th November 2020

Your Rights at Christmas

Consumer Tips

Christmas may be the most wonderful time of the year for some, but present buying isn’t always so calm and bright. Your aunt doesn’t like the scarf you bought her, the children’s new play-set came broken and you don’t know how long your gift card has before it expires. Knowing your consumer rights could protect you from many mishaps this holiday and may even give you some extra time to scoff mince pies.


Returning faulty goods

As a consumer, The Supply of Goods and Services (Jersey) Law 2009 protects you if your goods are:

  • Faulty or damaged
  • Useless
  • Not what was advertised or matching the description

These terms apply whether your goods were bought new, in a sale or even second hand. Usually, you will be required to provide proof of purchase, such as a receipt, when returning these goods.

If goods are faulty, within a reasonably short period of time after the sale took place, a consumer is entitled to a full refund or compensation. However, consumers could alternatively select a repair or replacement, which would then be at the company’s discretion to accept.


Returning unwanted goods

When returning unwanted rather than faulty goods, consumers will usually have to follow the company’s internal returns policy. These ‘goodwill’ policies may offer either a refund, exchange or credit note. It’s worth noting that companies aren’t required by law to have a returns policy, so double check before you buy. Time limits may be imposed on these returns, such as 28 days, and may increase around the holidays.


Returning online goods

When buying online goods, you have additional rights for returns. This is because of the ‘expectation versus reality’ phenomenon, where the image online may look nothing like the physical item you receive. Under the Consumer Contracts regulation, you have the right to cancel your order if you change your mind or if it’s not as advertised. You have 14 days to cancel your order, but companies do not expect you to then return the item within this timeframe. Some companies will do pre-paid returns, but some will require the customer to pay for their own postage. You should not be expected to pay for returning faulty or damaged goods.


Gift cards

When purchasing gift cards, it is important that the company issuing them includes any important terms at the point of purchase. It’s good to read the fine print, as you will be held to any terms set out when purchasing. Expiry dates for gift cards can vary enormously. These can range from just a few months to even a year. When receiving a gift card, make sure to check the expiry date to ensure you use it in this timeframe. The gift-giver won’t get their money back if you don’t spend it!


For more information, go to the Trading Standards Consumer Rights page.




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