£3.9bn of online orders will be returned after Christmas, but which stores have the best returns policies?

UK shoppers are expected to return £3.9 billion worth of unwanted gifts purchased online after Christmas for a refund or exchange, according to new research from ParcelHero.

The parcel delivery company revealed that over 10% of all gifts will find their way back to the retailer after the holidays, but warns consumers will have to act swiftly, as “the Christmas spirit runs out fast for some retailers after the 25th.”

“Shoppers are aware by now that they can return any online purchase up to 14 days after delivery with no quibbles, and any faulty store-bought or online item up to 30 days after purchase,” ParcelHero head of consumer research David Jinks said.

“Note that the no-quibble guarantee doesn’t cover non-faulty shop-bought items.

“Nonetheless, many of our favourite retailers do let us return any items, faulty or non-faulty, purchased online or in-store, for a lengthy period after Christmas. Others are more grudging.

“Typically, the most generous stores, such as Amazon, ASOS, Debenhams, Gap, The White Company and Warehouse, give until the end of January to return unwanted items for refund or exchange.

“In most cases, this covers almost all items bought from the beginning of November through to 24 December, though double-check the small print to be sure of the start date.

For example, ASOS only includes items purchased from 8 November onwards.

READ MORE: Harrods unveils AR powered Christmas window displays

“We think Watchshop is the shop to watch. Its Christmas returns period runs from 1 October through to 31 January. That’s a returns window of up to 122 days, which we think is particularly generous.

“In contrast, shoppers are going to have to be a lot quicker returning Christmas items to the likes of Game, House of Fraser, Littlewoods, Net-a-Porter, Next and Very, whose Christmas deadlines window ends on 9 January.

“Two of our favourite stores that seem to run out of the holiday spirit a little early are Harvey Nicks and Selfridges. The hols need putting back in Harvey Nichols, whose deadline for returns is 5 January, and only on items purchased between 11 November and 22 December.

“But the least generous of the stores we checked was Selfridges, whose grace period ends on 4 January and who only accept return of items bought between 14 November and 7 December.

“Before we all start madly returning items, we have to get them first.

“The window for Christmas final online order dates is getting tighter.

“Given the current strain on delivery services because of Omicron and Brexit, we won’t be surprised if retailers change to earlier final order dates as Christmas nears.

“That’s why our continually updated Christmas deadlines tool is so useful for keeping shoppers in the know with all their favourite retailers’ final order dates.”

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