Gift recipients are shy to admit they don’t like a Christmas present despite growing confidence about returning goods at other times of year, new Which? research has found. In late November, Which? surveyed more than 2,000 people about their shopping and gifting habits at Christmas. The research revealed that almost one in three received at least one unwanted Christmas present last year.
Only four percent of unlucky recipients plucked up the courage to speak to the giver and ask for a replacement, and the same small percentage tried to return their gift to the retailer for store credit. This is despite the fact that UK shoppers are increasingly confident about returning goods to retailers, with almost six in ten of those surveyed having done so this year – up from just over five in ten in 2016. Nearly eight in ten of those aged 18 to 24 returned a purchase this year, with Millennials strides ahead of other age groups in returning unwanted goods.
Returning unwanted presents
The best way to do this is with a gift receipt but, if you weren’t given one with your gift, you’ll need to ask if the person who bought it for you still has it. Which? managing director of home products and services Alex Neill said: ‘We’ve all been put in the tricky position of receiving a gift that isn’t quite to our taste. Despite that, our research shows that almost none of us can face the awkwardness of telling the giver the truth.
‘It’s a shame for gifts to go to waste, so we would advise asking for a gift receipt and checking a retailer’s returns policy when buying a present if you want to be sure of giving someone a happy Christmas.’
Re-gifting and donating
However, instead of trying to return or exchange gifts, our research revealed that the most popular solutions to receiving an unwanted gift were either re-gifting or donating the item to charity. One in five went on to sell their unwanted gift on an online marketplace, such as Ebay or Gumtree, and almost the same number decided to simply accept the gift and do nothing. Finally, 6% took the somewhat drastic step of simply throwing their unwanted present in the bin.
The 2017 research referenced was carried out by Populus, who, on behalf of Which?, surveyed 2089 residents of the UK between 6th and 7th November 2017 about their understanding their consumer rights for taking back purchases. Data was weighted to be representative of age and gender of residents in the UK. The 2016 research referenced was also carried out by Populus, on behalf of Which?, among 2,119 residents of the UK online between 2nd and 3rd November 2016.
Again, data were weighted to be representative of age and gender of residents in the UK.
If Santa got it wrong this year, don’t feel too disappointed – Which? explains how you can turn your unwanted presents into extra cash by selling, swapping or trading them in. Christmas is a time for family and celebration – but it’s also undeniably about presents. Well-intended but unwanted gifts often end up in the bin, or on a dusty top shelf.
Yet someone else may be delighted by the present you don’t need. Which? explains how you can make the most out of your gifts this year, including how to sell them, where to trade them in and your rights on returns.
The best-known resale site is eBay – and it’s a perfectly good option to sell stuff you don’t want, as long as you take into account the costs. Aside from paying for postage, you’ll also need to pay eBay’s 10% cut of the final transaction value and any listing costs (if you’re selling more than 20 items a month – anything under that is free to list). Other options include Gumtree – which even has a specific ‘unwanted gifts‘ listings section – and eBid, where you put items up for auction.
3. Rent them
Just because you don’t want to use your gift, doesn’t mean it’s not worth hanging onto – you may be able to make some extra cash by renting it.
Sites such as Fat Lama match renters with people looking for the likes of cameras, projectors, toys, drones and even clothing. You can choose how much to charge, but there’s a price calculator to give you an idea of what people might be prepared to pay. Bear in mind that Fat Lama takes a 15% cut of the rental fee – but, on the plus side, their insurance policy covers your item in case of damage.
A host of sites have popped up enabling you to swap your stuff online. Swapz will let you swap pretty much anything – from pottery to stamps. There’s also the Gumtree Swap Shop – which has the added benefit of being able to search in your local area if you’re dealing with larger items. More specific sites include Swishing for clothes and accessories, BookMooch for books and TitleTrader for CDs, DVDs and games.
Alternatively, you could just host your own private gift swap party, and invite friends to bring their unwanted gifts along – but maybe don’t invite anyone whose presents you’re trying to offload.
4. Trade them in
Stores such as Game offer a trade-in service for games, phones and tablets. You can check the prices for your items first online, and receive cash (if you go in-store), Game wallet credit or a payment via PayPal.
It’s also possible to trade one gift card in for another, through sites such as Zapper, which will buy gift cards and vouchers for around 24% below face value, as long as they’re valid for three months from the time of trade. Zeek also allows you to buy and sell gift cards, so you can get rid of one you don’t want for one you do.
5. Return them
Returning gifts is perhaps the most obvious option, but comes with a host of potential complications if you’re not the person who bought it. Legally, you don’t have the right to return goods unless they are faulty or not as described.
However, most stores do have a returns policy and are often more lenient with their returns period over Christmas and New Years. Check the store’s policy – if you have a receipt, you’ll probably be given a refund, exchange or credit note. If you don’t have the receipt, this is trickier, as there may be no way to prove whether the item was bought in that store.
But it’s worth asking, as you may be offered the chance to exchange the gift for something you actually do want, a credit note, or the monetary value on a voucher card. If the gift was bought online, most retailers will want the delivery receipt, along with the reason you’re returning the item (though it doesn’t have to be faulty). Amazon has a special Gift Returns service, which just requires the item’s order number.
You’ll be informed whether the item can be returned, and refunds are processed as gift cards. However, this could mean an awkward conversation with your gift-giver.
6. Re-gift them
One of the simplest ways to get an unwanted gift off your hands is to simply give it to someone else – plus you’ll save the money that you would have spent buying them a new present.
But in the interests of being a good friend, perhaps only do this if you think it’s something they’d genuinely like – and don’t give it back to the person who bought it for you.
7. Re-purpose them
Requiring a bit of imagination and creativity, repurposing or upcycling can mean you’ll make something you don’t want into something you do. For instance, vases, mugs and kitchenware can double up as quirky planters and garden accessories; dodgy jumpers can be made into Christmas stockings or tea cosies; chocolate tins (once the contents has been eaten) can be redecorated and serve as handy storage boxes.
Give them to charity
While you may not earn a monetary reward for giving unwanted gifts to a charity shop, you’ll have the priceless feeling of doing some good – and your items won’t go to waste. As well as clothes and books, many charity shops will take crockery, games, films, jewellery, ornaments, paintings, shoes and toys. Some shops may also take furniture and electricals – but it’s worth checking first.
Alternatively, you could donate your unwanted gifts as a raffle prize, or to local hospitals with children’s wards in the case of toys or games.
- ^ eBay (www.ebay.co.uk)
- ^ Gumtree (www.gumtree.com)
- ^ unwanted gifts (www.gumtree.com)
- ^ eBid (www.ebid.net)
- ^ Music Magpie (www.musicmagpie.co.uk)
- ^ Zapper (zapper.co.uk)
- ^ CEX (uk.webuy.com)
- ^ Fat Lama (fatlama.com)
- ^ price calculator (fatlama.com)
- ^ Swapz (www.swapz.co.uk)
- ^ Gumtree Swap Shop (www.gumtree.com)
- ^ Swishing (www.getswishing.com)
- ^ BookMooch (bookmooch.co.uk)
- ^ TitleTrader (www.titletrader.com)
- ^ online (www.game.co.uk)
- ^ Zapper (zapper.co.uk)
- ^ Zeek (www.zeek.me)
- ^ right to return goods (www.which.co.uk)
- ^ Gift Returns (www.amazon.co.uk)
People all over the country will be hitting the roads today, heading home for the Christmas holidays. Make it as stress-free as possible by checking a few vital things before buckling up. The weather plays a big part in vehicle issues during the Christmas period.
Batteries and engines can play up due to the drop in temperature, and wet or icy roads can affect your car’s handling. However, general wear and tear also means that you should always make the time to assess your car before any big journey. Are your tyres in good condition?
Is the oil a little low or do your headlights need replacing? So before you press play on your favourite festive playlist, tick off our driving home for Christmas checklist. It might just help you to avoid a stressful – and potentially dangerous – breakdown.
How to check your car battery
Depleted batteries is one of the biggest causes of cars breaking down, according to data we’ve gathered in our annual breakdown surveys – and cold weather is not kind to battery life.
Depending on your level of experience, you could check your battery yourself, or you could take it to a garage. If you have the tools and the knowledge then most car manuals will give guidelines on how to make sure your battery is still connected and if it needs charging; a good healthy car battery should register no less than 12.6 volts. If not, many garages offer free battery checks to their customers.
Always pack a set of jump leads though. This could help you or another driver reach their family before the Christmas festivities begin!
Does your car’s oil need changing?
Every car is built differently. So if you don’t know where your oil dipstick is, refer to your car’s manual.
The dipstick will allow you to check levels and quality of the oil. First, pull the dipstick out and wipe it clean; always allow ten minutes after turning off your engine in case it is still hot. Insert the stick back in and then remove again.
If the oil just reaches or sits under the add bar, then it needs topping up. Your car’s oil may need replacing if it smells or looks dirty. A healthy oil filter will ensure your engine runs smoothly and doesn’t overheat.
How to check your windscreen wash
Rain (unfortunately forecast) combined with mucky motorways means your windscreen is going to get filthy.
With the extra traffic on the roads, you can’t afford to have your visibility affected. So open your bonnet and find your washer reservoir. Most vehicles will have a min and max mark on the side, so you can gauge whether it needs topping up.
You don’t want to run out so make sure you’ve got plenty in there. Your car manual will state how much your reservoir will hold – be careful not to overfill.
Are your headlights working?
Check all your lights – indicator, dip, full beam, brake, fog, reverse, and so on – are working correctly. Either park by a white wall or window when it’s dark to see them yourself or get a friend to look while you’re in the car.
If they’ve blown, it can be extremely dangerous. You can try replacing them yourself by taking the broken bulb to a garage to get the correct replacement and following your manual instructions – but some cars make it virtually impossible for you to easily change the bulb yourself. If that describes your car, or you’re just not confident about changing the bulb yourself, get a mechanic to do it for you.
Are your tyres safe to drive on?
Tyres going flat are the other most-common cause of breakdown, alongside batteries going flat. Given the possible difficult driving conditions that Jack Frost can usher in, you need to check your tyres before setting off.
The minimum legal limit is 1.6mm of tread depth. Handily you can check this using a 20p coin, as the border of the coin is exactly 1.6mm. Remember to check all the way round the tyre.
If you’re close to the limit, then consider changing your tyres anyway as you don’t want to rely on the minimum when on potentially slippery roads. If you’re driving where it might be icy or a risk of snow, then you could change over to winter models that have a thicker tread of 3mm. Alternatively, you could invest in a pair of snow socks for your car.
How to change a car tyre video
If your car has a spare tyre, make sure it is also fully inflated and that the tread depth is also legal. If you get a puncture, here’s our simple video guide to changing a tyre:
Check the rules and regulations
Aside from an up-to-date road map and your driving licence, what else do you need for your festive road trip? If ‘votre conduite’ in France, you will need to carry your own breathalyser. You’ll be fined if you’re caught without one and that’s just one way to ruin Christmas day.
Spanish laws state that if you need to wear glasses you’re required to carry a second pair with you while driving. And whatever you do, please stay calm in Germany. Abusive language and derogatory gestures are fineable.
To stop yourself from being caught out, check the rules of the country you’re driving to – and any other countries you’ll drive through on the way. If you’re driving in Europe, organisations like the AA and RAC list what is needed for each country on their websites.
Have you packed a survival kit?
Unfortunately, even after all this prep there is still a chance you could run into problems when you’re travelling home for Christmas. So always pack a survival kit just in case.
This could include a first aid box, blanket, torch, phone charger, ice scraper, high-visibility jacket, map, empty fuel can and a reflective warning sign. Snacks, water and a thermos with a hot drink in won’t go amiss, either. Stay safe and enjoy the festive celebrations!
If you’re still breaking down after ticking off this checklist, it might be time to think about getting a new car.