Helping Mums Embrace Gentle Living & Easy Journaling

Beware the refunds policy when buying presents


I know this post is a bit late for christmas, but there is all the birthday’s next year and Christmas in 12 months time.

Basically, BEWARE buying presents for people without being sure of the refunds policy, especially if it’s not a big name shop you are buying from.  You may end up only being able to get a credit note, exchange or even worse, nothing at all.

Also, if you do want to take things back, get your butt going, because you might be running out of time; I ran into that problem after one of my birthday’s, thanks Swarosky; not shopping with you again after being your biggest fan ever.

The Money Saving Expert has a great summary of our legal rights in this summary of refunds policies.

In these harder financial times, it might be difficult for small businesses to survive, but what they need to understand is that customer service is the key to our choice of where to shop, and so is making sure that we have security on our expenditure.

Today I was able to take back a dressing gown to Next from the hairy northern one, just because it was too long and I’d asked for a short one.  Thirty minutes later I took back a dressing gown for Little Dimples that I’d just bought in the sales, because I’d found a much more suitable one in Sainsburies.  That makes Next a safe bet when it comes to presents or buying things for my family.

Compare this please to the snooty, back tempered woman in ‘Its all about sports‘, which is a shop selling snow and sports kit near Willows farm.  Her face said it all when I walked in with the big fluffy snow boots, hat, gloves, bag and ear muffs that I’d been given for christmas from my family.  At no point in the buying of all that stuff by the Big hairy northern husband and Curly headed boy had the sales assistant said ‘I assume you aren’t buying this for yourself, so be warned that we don’t give refunds’.  There was no sign.  There is nothing on their website.  It’s unclear as to wether you’d get a refund if you returned something bought on the internet from them in their terms and conditions.  But she is perfectly within her rights to self-righteously think I’m lucky that they give a credit note.

Well honey (yes, that is meant to be patronising), at some point I’ll spend that credit note, and when hubby is has a job again and I have money to spend I won’t be coming to you, and I’ll be making sure that all my friends know how ‘helpful’ you were as well.  Oh and I’ll be reposting this blog post next Christmas too.

Update 2013:
I have just been back to this shop to spend my credit note.  I was surprised to find that the woman who had given me the impression she was one of the owners, was in actual fact not, and no longer works there.  I feel a bit guilty now, because I really should have complained properly and given the owner the right to reply.
What I can say is that I bought a FABULOUS coat, that will really help with my Fibromyalgia, so I’m really chuffed.  The owner was a lovely man and both him and the assistant were tremendously helpful.
I still lost out on the fact that I discovered when looking at the receipt that she had not refunded me the total on the credit note, but had taken a percentage off – argh, not worth worrying about!


Have you encountered shops that only give credit notes for things clearly bought as christmas or birthday presents?  Please do share here and add a comment!  And remember when buying from smaller shops or places you don’t often go to check their refunds policy.


Please name and shame below if you have had the problem yourself.

8 thoughts on “Beware the refunds policy when buying presents

  1. Ooh, this is a difficult one. I can see why you’re disappointed, but as a business owner, I would be extremely frustrated if someone bought something from me, that wasn’t faulty or broken, but then just decided actually, they wanted their money back. I don’t think it’s legally required to even offer a credit note, is it?

    I suspect though it’s the retailer’s attitude that upset you more than their policy – which I completely understand. A business might not always be able to meet a customer’s requests, but basic manners and courtesy are the least we can expect – and I’d take my money elsewhere every time if someone was rude to me.

    1. You’re right – I worked for so many years at the very tough end of customer services (priority 1 on an IT support desk for big corporations whose business stopped if we didn’t fix the problem asap), that I kind of expect to be treated well. It is quite possible that I would have been settled down by gentle handling.

    2. The only thing is that as a small business owner, I wouldn’t get anywhere if I didn’t offer a 100% money back guarantee people wouldn’t be willing to risk their money on me. I even had someone request back the 99p it cost to buy my book from Amazon the other day!

  2. I despise snooty shop assistants. I wouldn’t dream of looking down on anyone who works in retail (or any job for that matter), but what gives some of them the right to look down on me as a customer? Feel your pain and frustration. Grrrrr!

I love hearing what people think about my posts!