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Christmas return policies explained – all you need to know

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A Guide to Christmas Return Policies: Got a gift you can't wait to return? We explain return policy details for Amazon, Argos, John Lewis and more.

Well, Christmas is here and that means, among all the cheer and family bonding, you're guaranteed to get a few crap presents. But fear not. If you've unwrapped a Doro Liberto 810 instead of that iPhone 7 you asked for, it's fairly easy to return your unwanted gift.

Here's a guide to all the main UK returns policies, including Amazon, John Lewis, and Currys PC World, so you can march into the store, or, er... march on to the website, and demand something better than that 13-inch 720p TV your nan thought was the height of technology.

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Amazon Christmas Returns Policy

Anticipating the flood of returned items, Amazon has gone and extended its returns policy for the festive season. That essentially means you've got a bit longer to send your unwanted items back. Here's how it breaks down.

If you bought anything from the online retailer's UK site, and it was dispatched between November 1 and December 31 2016 (inclusive) you can return those products any time before midnight on January 31, 2017. After December 31, the returns policy reverts to the standard 30-day period.

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Here's Amazon's explanation of the standard return policy:

"You may return most new, unopened items sold and fulfilled by Amazon.co.uk within 30 days of delivery.

"During the Christmas season, items dispatched by Amazon.co.uk from 1 November to 31 December may be returned until 31 January."

There's a whole support page for all your Amazon returns needs, which guides you through printing out the labels required, preparing the package, and sending the unwanted item back to Amazon for a full refund.

It's worth noting that the above doesn't apply to mobile phones with contracts. To find out more about how you can return mobiles with contracts, and other refunds for items you bought from Amazon Marketplace, visit the site's Arranging Marketplace Returns and Refunds Help page.

John Lewis Christmas Returns Policy

John Lewis will accept returns within 90 days of purchase, unless the product is faulty, in which case there's a whole separate policy.

The store will give you a refund as long as you have a receipt, but if you don't have your receipt, order confirmation or delivery note, you can get a gift card to the value of the product's current selling price.

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John Lewis JL9000

That goes for anything you've ordered online or bought in-store. If you're returning something you bought online, just head into a John Lewis store and find the "appropriate department."

They'll then ask you for your billing post code, and you should be able to return the item. That also means you'll get the refund immediately, whereas other methods – such as home pickup – can mean the refund takes up to 14 days.

If you return the item using another method, John Lewis will refund the person who originally placed and paid for the order, including Clearance and Price Match items.

If you're nowhere near a John Lewis store and you'd rather mail the product back, you can print pre-paid returns labels, arrange collection, and track returns yourself. The store has a number of options, including Royal Mail and Collect+, and all the guidance and links to labels can be found on this page.

Currys PC World Christmas Returns Policy

Following Amazon's example, Currys is extending its returns policy for Christmas. Put simply, if you bought anything between November 2 and December 24 2016, you can return the item right up until January 14, 2017.

How do you go about returning a product? Well, there's three ways. First, whether you bought the product online, in-store, or over the phone, you can just go to a Currys PC World store and return it there. For Online Only large kitchen appliances and purchases made using PayPal or Your Plan Credit, however, you'll have to arrange for collection with the company's aftersales team by calling 0344 561 1234.

Second, you can also arrange a free product collection and refund, or an exchange or repair, by calling the Knowhow contact centre on 0344 561 1234. And finally, you can arrange free product collection and get a refund by emailing customer.services@currys.co.uk. Make sure you include your order number in the email, though.

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Currys

As we mentioned, Currys has extended its returns policy for the festive season, but the usual policy is that an unwanted product can be returned for a full refund within 21 days of delivery as long as it’s still in its original, unopened packaging.

There's a load more information on the Currys PC World returns policy on this handy page.

Argos Christmas Returns Policy

All products you buy from Argos come with a 30-day money back guarantee, but the store has introduced an extended returns policy for Christmas. That means any purchases made between October 12 and December 25 2016 can be returned until January 24, 2017.

If you decide to return something, you should be able to get a full refund, or exchange it for something else. You'll need a receipt or some other proof of purchase, though, and the item has to be, according to Argos: "Unused, in its original packaging and in a re-sellable condition."

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Argos

Argos does let you return almost all items in-store (and it doesn't have to be the store you bought the product from) regardless of whether you bought at a physical location or online. The only exceptions are large home delivered items – in that case Argos will have to come and pick it up from your house.

You also have the option of sending items delivered by post back to the store via Royal Mail using prepaid labels. There's more information on mailing returns, and the general returns policy right here.

Tesco Christmas Returns Policy

Not to be outdone by any of its rivals, Tesco has gone and extended its returns policy over the Christmas period. The usual 30-day returns policy has now been lengthened so that anything bought between October 1 and December 24 2016 can be returned until January 31 2017.

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Tesco

To return an item, you just need proof of purchase and you can march right into a Tesco store with your order acknowledgement email (if you bought an item online) and demand an immediate refund. If your product came via courier, you can arrange for another courier to come and collect it from your abode by calling the customer services team on 0800 323 4050 (or 0330 123 4050 local rate from a mobile).

When it comes to books and what Tesco calls "entertainment items" (so CDs, DVDs etc) that have been delivered by post, you'll need to mail them back to Tesco. The company says it provides a returns label with your order, so you slap that on a package and send your unwanted Christmas gift right back where it came from. There's more information on this page.

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Let us know if you've had any trouble returning items in the comments below.

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