4 tips for getting a refund for a faulty gift

By UK CreditCards.com

In the wake of the holidays, many are undoubtedly trying to return gifts that turned out to be faulty. If you were the recipient of a gift that is either damaged or just doesn't match your expectations, you should be able to either get the item replaced or claim a refund. The best way to do this is to contact the store where the goods were purchased -- but some retailers might try to avoid giving you the refund you're due.

If you are dealing with a difficult retailer and the gift is truly defective, you will need to become a consumer rights know-it-all and become familiar with a piece of legislation called the Consumer Credit Act of 1974. Section 75 of this act applies to items that were purchased with a credit card and that are worth between £100 and £30,000. It allows those who purchased goods or services to be reimbursed by their credit card company instead of the merchant in some specific instances. In other words, if the merchant won't refund the value of the purchase, the credit card company will step in and pay the buyer back.gift-return 

Section 75 comes into play when goods are never delivered or when the merchant misrepresented them. So, if the laptop you received is dead on arrival or if the cruise tickets you got are useless because the cruise line went out of business, you might be in luck. Of course you won't get the refund directly. The person who bought you the faulty gift with a credit card would have to get involved and ask his or her credit card company for a refund.

Despite the legal protection Section 75 offers, pursuing a refund can be complicated and time consuming. Here are some tips for exercising your consumer rights and increasing your chances of getting reimbursed for faulty items.

1.  Attempt to return the gift as soon as possible.

The best way to avoid the complications of Section 75 is to attempt to get a refund directly from the seller. As soon as you recognise there is a problem with the gift, inform the retailer by visiting the store, calling or writing a letter or e-mail to the customer service department.

The retailer may require that you present a gift receipt. If so, contact the person who bought you the gift and ask them to obtain one. With a gift receipt, the matter can be swiftly resolved in the form of a cash refund or store credit.

Some stores will try to avoid offering refunds, especially on sale items. When the gift giver bought your gift, he or she may have picked it up off the sales racks, which often display signs stating that sale items are non-refundable. If you suspect that a merchant isn't playing fair, however, report it to the Trading Standards Institute, a consumer rights organization that helps customers and merchants resolve their conflicts.

2.  Make sure Section 75 actually applies to your situation.

If you simply don't like your gift, Section 75 does not apply to you. So if someone gives you an expensive but hideous purse, don't ask that person to go after his or her card company for reimbursement. Section 75 protects only those who have been sold defective, misrepresented or nonexistent goods.

However, if you have a gift receipt, you will probably be able to get a refund or store credit from the retailer -- and pick out something more to your liking.

3. Obtain a template online.

In the event that you and the gift giver have exhausted every avenue for returning faulty items, there is only thing for it -- to claim under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act in writing. First, the gift giver will need to send a letter to the bank that issued the credit card -- in other words, Capital One or Egg rather than Visa or MasterCard. There are templates and sample letters online that the gift giver can amend to suit the circumstances.

4. Contact the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Whether you are pursuing a refund through a merchant or through the gift giver's credit card company, expert advice can always help. Reputable credit card companies accept their responsibility under Section 75, and reputable merchants will deal with refunds honestly and professionally. However, in the event you are finding it difficult to get a refund, you can contact the Financial Ombudsman Service. Set up by Parliament in 2001, the Financial Ombudsman Service is made up of experts who can look into and help resolve a variety of complaints, including complaints about faulty goods.

Making a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service is free and simple to do. Just fill out the claim form on its website.


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Published: 4 January 2012