I love Christmas.  It is great fun and there is no greater pleasure than giving gifts to friends and loved ones and seeing their faces light up when you have bought them something they really want.  Unfortunately Christmas does not always work out like it does in the movies and things can go wrong.   You receive a gift and it is defective but you have no receipt.  The Christmas turkey is okay but flavourless.  How should you approach these issues?  My top tips are as follows.
  • Keep calm and do not let material things spoil Christmas.  Love, health and friendship are worth worrying about. Defective Christmas lights are not.
  • Reputable shops will be very understanding if you want to return an unwanted gift even if you do not have a gift receipt.  Most will exchange goods or give you a credit note at the very least.  Do not be afraid to negotiate.
  • If goods are not of satisfactory quality you should not hold back from asserting your statutory rights.  If you have bought your spouse the gold watch of his or her dreams and it fails you should, when you complain, lay it on thick with emotion.  Explain to the shop that you were saddened and embarrassed and you may well find that they respond with a gesture of goodwill that goes well beyond what you are entitled to receive as a matter of strict legal principles.  The same is true of food that spoils your Christmas dinner – this is no ordinary meal and the shop in question should respond accordingly.
  • For me the worst thing in the world is waiting at the returns desk a few days after Christmas in a horrendously long queue of other disgruntled consumers.  You should avoid this at all costs.  Its bad enough having to eat cold turkey sandwiches for several days after your yuletide feast – waiting in line at Marks and spencer adds insult to injury.  Either wait until early January or send the offending items to the company’s head office to save the hassle, the time and the cost of petrol.  Be especially wary of going into any shop that is mobbed by customers participating in the sales – getting the attention of a member of staff will be harder than ever.
  • Be less tolerant than ever about poor service.  Some restaurants and other service providers double their charges and yet provide worse service than ever during the Christmas period.  Do not let them get away with anything less than what you would normally expect at any other time of the year.  Don’t allow yourself to be ripped off.