Most of the women I know complain that their partners are no good at picking gifts for them, and they either end up with things they don’t want, or they go out and buy their own.  Of course this can work find at birthdays and Christmas, but come Valentines day, do you really want to go out and buy your own sexy underwear.  On the other hand, if your other half can’t even manage to buy a bunch of roses for you, then perhaps it’s our family department you need to be speaking to?!?!

So what happens if the man (or woman) of your dreams comes home on V day with the nightmare of all gifts.  Do you have the legal right to change it.  Well it depends on where they bought it from, and what that store’s policy is on returns and refunds.   People are often surprised to learn that they do not have an automatic legal right to exchange something just because it doesn’t fit or it’s not what they wanted.  You are only entitled to change it or have your money back if it develops a fault or is broken within a reasonable time.  It’s slightly different if you buy on line (where retailers must have a returns policy) which is one of the MANY reasons why I may never set foot in a shop again, except of course, my beloved L K Bennett.

If the store your item came from does have a returns policy, they must honour it and so must you, such as the tricky point of “proof of purchase”.  I have advised a number of retailers who tell great stories about the lengths people will go to, to prove an item came from a particular store, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, such as my client never having stocked the item in question!

This can also lead to difficulties between the recipient and the giver.  A client of mine once had to advise a customer that yes they had stocked that item, around four years earlier, although it was still on sale in the local discount store for a fraction of it’s original price.

If you need advice on consumer law, or you just want to know what to buy me for the big day, drop me a line at  I’ll make it easy for you – just go in to Tiffany’s and buy the first thing you see for sale in the big glass counter at the front- I’m sure I’ll love it.

Kleyman & Co Solicitors – the full service law firm – for all your shopping needs.