26 September 2023

How to change unwanted Christmas gifts

Start the conversation

The Consumer Protection Agency has declared January the time of the year when people returned unwanted Christmas gifts or put their Christmas gift cards in a drawer for spending later.

Commissioner for Consumer Protection, Trish Blake said that under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), consumers have certain rights when it comes to gifts that are faulty, unsafe, not as described or which were not delivered in time.

“If a gift is faulty, unsafe or not as described, Australian retailers must offer a remedy such as a refund, replacement or repair, even if it was on sale,” Ms Blake said.

“Generally though, proof of purchase is required, such as a receipt or credit card statement from the gift-giver,” she said.

“Some retailers may offer a refund or credit without proof of purchase as a gesture of goodwill, but this is not a requirement by law.”

She said returning unwanted gifts, such as a shirt that did not fit properly, was considered to be a ‘change of mind’, which fell outside the ACL.

“In this situation, retailers are under no obligation to offer a refund, store credit or exchange, so it is best to check their return policy,” Ms Blake said.

“If you received a gift card for Christmas, make sure to check the expiry date,” she said.

‘By law, a minimum expiry period of three years is required on most gift cards.”

She said three years was a long time, however: “so consider using it before you put it in a drawer and forget about it. You can’t be certain the retailer will still be around in three years”.

“Finally, if a gift failed to turn up in time for Christmas, you may be entitled to a remedy but it is best to contact the retailer to resolve the issue first before lodging a complaint with Consumer Protection,” Ms Blake said.

She said that if post-Christmas consumer issues are unable to be resolved, people could lodge a formal complaint with Consumer Protection at its website on this PS News link.

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.