Martin Lewis gives vital advice for returning gifts bought online this Christmas

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Caller Ashton asked Martin Lewis: “With the current Covid lockdown restriction on retail it seems a lot of people are choosing to buy Christmas presents slightly early this year and online. As far as I’m aware you can’t request a gift receipt online. What are our rights to return or exchanges for things that are unsuitable and have been purchased online?”

“What a question,” Martin said, impressed. “Let’s start with the basics.”

The expert went on: “What is a gift receipt?

“Well currently the rules are that only the person who purchased it has a right to return.

“So if you give someone a gift they cant return it unless they have a gift receipt that gives them that right.

“If you were doing an online return the process means the gift would have to go back to the person who bought it, so I think the gift receipt element is a bit for a red herring.”

So, what are your rights when it comes to things bought online?

Martin said: “The real issue here is how long you have to return gifts online.

“In store you have no right to return unless the shop allows it or the product is faulty.

“Goods bought online, unless they are perishable or personalised, you have an absolute right to return and you have 14 days with which to notify them of your intent to return and then a further 14 days to send it back, so maximum is 28 days.

“A lot of people think the maximum is 28 days, that’s not the case, if you tell them you’re returning it after three days you have 14 days to return it.”

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So luckily for Christmas shoppers this year it seems they are better protected.

Martin said: “If you bought it online you actually have more rights.”

Martin previously warned against not paying for anything via bank transfer during lockdown.

He was advising a woman who was thinking about booking a wedding venue but unsure whether to go ahead with a payment via bank transfer. 

She told the money expert that venues were refusing to take payments via debit or credit card.

When it comes whether she should risk the payment, Martin had a stern and personal warning.

Martin said: “I have to be plain and this isn’t what you are going to want to hear.

“I would never pay for a substantial transaction in BAC.”

He went on: “BAC are bank transfers and they have no protection. There’s no rights.”

Martin Lewis also explained how you can track down lost bank accounts. 

Martin explained that some older banks have subsequently been taken over by more familiar names, and money saved is still accessible.

He said that while a lost fund is unlikely to have significantly grown in value, it is definitely worth investigating.

A dormant account is so called as it lies untouched by the individual who set it up, and becomes so if a person has not accessed this for three years or more.

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