According to new research, an estimated £143 million’s worth of unwanted Christmas presents will be returned this year.  However, only around two thirds of people will be successful in returning items.   

The research, commissioned by GoCompare Money, found that 30% of UK adults have returned a Christmas present they had been given, with 8% doing so last year.  On average, the value of last year’s returned gifts was £35.10.

The survey looked at the reasons behind recipients returning gifts.  Just over half (51%) did so because the item was the wrong size, colour or version.  Other reasons cited were that the receiver didn’t like or want the item (47%) while 21% said they already owned something similar.  Some said they simply needed (8%) or wanted (5%) the cash value of the present.

When asked about their experience of returning items, only 69% of people said they’d no problems taking back an unwanted gift.  However, others experienced unhappy returns: 13% had been told by the retailer they couldn’t get a refund or exchange without a receipt; 8% were told that the retailer didn’t accept returns; 7% had been advised by the retailer that they were beyond the time limit for returns. 

A further 7% said the retailer refused the returned item, claiming that it had been used or was damaged, while 7% said they had a problem returning a gift that was purchased online.R

Commenting on the research, Matthew Sanders from GoCompare Money said “Most of us will have received at least one Christmas present we wanted to return.  Perhaps it was clothing that was the wrong size, a naff jumper from granny or a duplicate of something you already own.  Thankfully, many retailers relax their returns policy around Christmas, making it easier to return items you don’t want.”

“Gift receipts also make the process of returning gifts much more straightforward.  They don’t show the price of the present and make it much easier for the recipient to exchange or return the item – without the awkward conversation with the person who bought the present. Gift receipts also show the key information you need to make a successful return – when and where the item was purchased and details the retailer’s returns policy will be printed on the back.”