Will taking the early approach to Christmas shopping leave you with the January blues or does it pay to be late to the game?
Did you join the thousands of Britons who splurged £450,000 a minute on Christmas gifts on the UK’s high streets last Saturday?
Or are you a firm advocate of buying all your presents early?
Perhaps you picked up everything on Black Friday/Cyber Monday?
Maybe you fall somewhere in the middle like me, getting most of the presents in Santa’s sack nice and early, and then later on in December, begin frantically searching for a last-minute gift for that family member who already has everything anyway.
Our survey says:
When we surveyed over 2,000 people in November, 11% said they started Christmas shopping over the summer or before the end of September; 20% in October and 21% in November, ahead of Black Friday/Cyber Monday.
And while the Black Friday/Cyber Monday period continues to be a big sales drive for retailers, just 6% of people who responded to our survey said they started Christmas shopping at this time.
A further 20% told us they planned to buy their gifts in the first three weeks of December; 5% in the week before Christmas and 1% cutting it really fine on Christmas Eve.
Interestingly, one in ten men told us they’d leave it until the last week or the day before, while most women started before December.
Your Christmas shopping rights
Leaving things to the last minute comes with a risk: a third of the online shoppers we surveyed told us that they experienced a problem with their deliveries.
So does the early, er, robin red breast, always catch the worm?
To get a refund on a faulty item, you have only 30 days in which to reject it and get your money back.
So if you’ve bought something in, say, September, and only discover it’s broken when you go to wrap it this week, you won’t be automatically entitled to a full refund.
However, you can still ask for a repair or replacement. If that proves unsuccessful, you’ll be entitled to a refund.
Buying early December to Christmas Eve will favour anyone looking to return faulty goods after the Christmas break in January, as they will be within the 30 days to get a full refund.
What if it isn’t faulty?
Suppose your item isn’t faulty, but the recipient doesn’t like it or, if it’s clothes, it’s too big or too small for them?
Thankfully, around Christmas most retailers offer a ‘goodwill’ return policy and will exchange, refund or give you a credit note for unwanted gifts.
You’ll need to provide the person you bought the gift for with a receipt for proof of purchase (it pays to ask for a gift receipt when you make the purchase and include this when you wrap the present) or be willing to return the goods yourself if you bought them online.
If you’re unsure whether the person you’re buying for will like what you’ve got them, check the store policy on returns before committing to the purchase.
Are you an early bird or a last-minute Larry when it comes to Christmas shopping? Have you ever encountered a problem when returning Christmas presents that were faulty or you simply didn’t like?