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Top tips for returning technology goods

How to take back unwanted gifts and gadgets

Getting a retailer to accept electronics returns can quickly develop into a saga. Know your rights! Here are some tips to help you navigate the tricky world of returns, exchanges, and warranties.

Save your receipt

Yes, this one is a big "well yeah". Don't have a receipt? No return for you. But it's a problem. According to people in the electronics retail trade it's astounding how many folks don't keep receipts.

But then, every year literally billions of pounds are lost in return fraud. Retailers don't want you to buy something, use it over Christmas, and then bring it back. So get a receipt and hang on it.

If you received the gadget as a gift or you accidentally misplaced the receipt, you're not completely out of luck. Amazon, for example, will issue a gift certificate rather than a refund. If you call the site's customer service number, the representative will ask you a few questions to identify the original order (and they promise not to tell on you for returning a gift).

If you bought the product for yourself, a retailer may be able to look up your credit card number in its computer to locate the sale and facilitate a return.

If you bought the item online

Some retailers have the same policies for online returns as they do for in-store returns, but others don't. But in some ways you are better off returning online goods - under UK distance selling regulations you have a seven-day cooling off period during which you can return goods, no questions asked.

As your unwanted item is likely to be a gift bought more than seven days before you got it... well, this probably doesn't help you over much. So, in the same way as if you were shopping in store, you need to check the online store's returns policy. By law this has to be displayed.

Whether the store charges you for postage or even insurance costs of returning the item is, we're afraid, very much up to them. But help yourself by following all our other tips, and reading the store's returns policy before you make the call.

NEXT PAGE: regular returners and broken products > >

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