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From gadgets that don't work to knitwear you’ll never wear, many people ignore the fact they could make serious cash from unwanted Christmas presents.

A period of mass consumption, you are bound to receive a few Christmas gifts that you won’t use, wear or cherish. But instead of allowing these items to gather dust, take up space and become forgotten about, why not exchange these items for something you really want?

Our handy guide will tell you how you can trade in your unwanted items for cash while informing you how much you can expect to make from your unwanted prezzies.

Where do you stand?

Depending on how savvy the buyer of your Christmas present was, they may provide a gift receipt with your present should it not be to your taste. However, this isn’t always the case.

If a gift receipt was provided, excellent. From here, individuals simply need to look up each stores’ individual returns policy to see how many days they have to return the item themselves.

If a gift receipt wasn’t provided, you have a few options.

First, take a deep breath, try your utmost not to offend your Christmas present buyer, and ask for the actual receipt. Without one, there is no legal proof the item was bought in store.

This is where it gets more complicated however, because the buyer will need to be reimbursed ahead of sending the cash to you. Naturally, if a Christmas gift was bought via a friend or relatives’ debit or credit card, you won’t always be able to receive cash for it but they will. A credit note to offset future purchase costs or an exchange may be offered as a welcome seasonal alternative however.

Then there is the case of returns policies differing from store to store. Not only in terms of return date length but also the fact some stores even allow items to be returned without a receipt.

To find out where you stand, consult each shops’ comprehensive terms and conditions online to be in no reasonable doubt ahead of facing cross-counter disappointment in store.

Sidestepping aggravation

Unsurprisingly, many individuals choose to avoid the aggravation of the returns route altogether while seeking an online trade-in solution instead. Popular websites in this realm include…

  • eBay
  • Gumtree
  • Shpock

The period around Christmas is incredibly busy whereby entire days can be wasted queuing to return items in town, meaning trade-in websites quickly become an appealing prospect. Placing the power into your hands, these sites allow individuals to set their own item fees and sale dates while opening up a potential sale to the masses online.

While it’s impossible to accurately estimate how much you will make per item given this depends on factors such as condition, demand and indeed, general interest, new items are easy to make quick cash from.

If a recently released video game is selling for a recommended retail price of £39.99 on the High Street, setting an agreeable fee of £35 is likely to light up the eyes of a bargain hunter online.

Then there is pawnbroking - an enticing prospect for instant cash. Cash Converters boast over 200 UK stores and offer valuations both in-house or online, should you crave a quicker solution than returning items or selling via eBay.

What about online?

So far we’ve spoken about returning or trading in items purchased on the High Street but what about stuff bought online?

When it comes to online purchases, The Consumer Contracts Regulations allow individuals to cancel an order from when the order is placed and end 14 days from the day the goods are received.

From here, the gift purchaser is then afforded a further 14 days to actually return the item. Ample time for gift recipients to decide they don’t want an item before taking action.

Essentially, there is an onus on the gift recipient to inform the buyer they don’t intend on keeping the item as soon as possible after Christmas Day to ensure swift reimbursement.

Can and cant’s

Naturally, if an item is either damaged or faulty and you can’t prove this was the case prior to purchase, these gifts will be returnable. That said, this is only true 6 months after purchase. Up to that point the retailer must prove that the fault wasn’t present at the point of purchase. For the first 30 days after purchase you have the right to a full refund. After that you have the right to a repair or replacement.

There are also additional lists of items which actually can’t be returned. These include:

  • Perishable items (food and drink)
  • Swimwear without hygiene strip
  • Pierced jewellery
  • Technology (DVDs, computer software etc) with seal broken
  • Personalised items (named football shirts etc)
  • Grooming products

For unreturnable items purchased in store, trade-in sites then represent a great alternative to make cash. As a last resort, some unwanted Christmas gifts may actually make for great presents for somebody else.

Received an unwanted bottle of Baileys instead of Bombay Sapphire? Surely you know somebody with a January, February or March birthday who would appreciate it so much more than you. Park these kind of items, re-wrap and gift to somebody else when the time is right, double checking things such as best before dates and who actually bought you it in the first place!

Ultimately, would you rather unwanted Christmas gifts cluttered your living room or bedroom, or instead provided you with cash to put towards something truly valuable?

Don’t sit and do nothing, make a pretty penny and put the funds towards something you’ll really appreciate in the New Year!