A very early Black Friday this year means consumers’ rights to return faulty items bought in the event will have expired before Christmas Day. That means goods found to be faulty on the Big Day won’t legally have to be fully refunded, warns the home delivery expert ParcelHero.
Says ParcelHero’s David Jinks MILT: ‘A quirk of the calendar means that this year Black Friday fell on its earlier possible date, 23rd November. Under the UK’s Consumer Rights Act shoppers have the right to reject goods that are of unsatisfactory quality, unfit for purpose or not as described, and get a full refund, if that’s done within 30 days. But that 30-day period expires on 23rd December, the day before Christmas Eve, for items bought on Black Friday. That’s too late if you discover that your gift is broken on Christmas Day.’
Explains David: ‘That’s why we’re taking the, admittedly Grinch-like, step of urging everyone to open their presents early, in order to check they are not faulty.’
David adds: ‘Black Friday is always the fourth Friday of November, the day after Thanksgiving in America, where the shopping bonanza originated. This year that was 23rd November but next year, by contrast, Black Friday will arrive on 27th November.’
Notes David: ‘Traditionally Thanksgiving fell on the final Thursday of every November, and that would work out much better for consumer returns. Ironically it was moved back to the fourth Thursday of November in an attempt to lengthen the Christmas shopping period, which always started in the US immediately after Thanksgiving. That may have been a smart move back in the 1940s, when the day was moved, but is bad news for British shoppers today.’
But David has some good news for online shoppers, and those who bought items with some of Britain’s favourite brands. ‘If you bought online, that 30-day return limit starts from the date you received the item at your door, not the day you placed the order, so that gives a very useful extra few days to discover any faults in Christmas presents.
‘Also, even though they don’t have to, a number of Britain’s favourite stores have promised a returns period of beyond 30 days. Marks & Spencer says any items purchased after 8th October can be returned before 13th January 2019; Amazon says any item bought between 1st November and 31st December can be returned by 31st January, and John Lewis says any gift bought between 21st October and 24th December can be returned until 28th January, even if it's simply unwanted or unsuitable rather than faulty. To its credit, the store also allows people buying in store to ask for a gift receipt so that the recipient can also return the present.’
Concludes David: ‘Horrid though it sounds, do open up and thoroughly check gifts bought on Black Friday right now, particularly if you know they weren’t purchased from a retailer offering extended Christmas returns.’