As consumers, each year we lose millions of euros on unwanted Christmas presents and unused gift vouchers. Rather than leaving them to collect dust in the corner or adding to landfill by dumping them, you could put them to good use. You may even get a gift you love in the process!

Can you return an unused gift?

Hopefully, you were given a gift receipt that will explain your options. If you don’t have a receipt, then try to find out where the gift was bought and when. If the gift was bought online, the business is required to provide one. If the gift was bought in a store, whether you can return it and get a refund or exchange will be based on the shop’s policy. In good news, many businesses allow returns and have extended return periods into January, so the first step is to make contact to find out what the business will do. If you know that the gift was bought online, the person who gave it to you may be able to return it if it’s been 14 days or less since the gift was delivered to them. You can find out more about these rights in our Right to Cancel section. However, it might be an awkward conversation to find out!

Spend vouchers straightaway

Gift vouchers can be a good way to give a personal gift that still allows an element of choice, but they can also be easily lost or forgotten about. Your consumer rights mean that gift vouchers must be valid for at least five years, but it’s a good idea to use them as soon as possible.  If the business from which the voucher was bought closes down, it will be difficult or impossible to get a refund. Remember also, that some in some cases, maintenance fees can run down the amount you have to spend so get spending.

If it’s faulty, bring it back

Did you know that you have consumer rights for up to six years after you buy something? Under consumer law you are entitled to:

  • The right to a refund within the first 30 days if a product is faulty.
  • Decide if you want a repair or replacement. It should be provided by the business within a reasonable time, without significant inconvenience to you and free of charge.
  • Ask for a refund or price reduction if the fault is major. You can also do this if you have difficulty getting a repair or replacement.
  • Depending on how long the product should reasonably last, the business can also be responsible for resolving issues for faulty products for up to six years. 

Sell or donate it

If none of the options above suit, you could give the present to someone you think will appreciate it. Alternatively, you could sell it on an online platform, donate it to a local charity or give it to someone for free by listing it on freecycle websites.