What are shops' return policies under Tier 4 restrictions?
- Credit: Archant
At some point, everyone has received a gift they are less than happy with - despite putting on a brave face on Christmas Day.
But how do you return these unwanted gifts in the middle of a pandemic?
Normally, a trip into the store with the gift receipt is enough to return or exchange the present.
Now, with Suffolk in Tier 4 and non-essential shops closed, it is more difficult.
Some, such as Boots, can still open because of their status as essential retailers - but others are trying new ways of making it easier.
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So, from extended return policies to collection services, here is how to return that Christmas gift that did not tickle your fancy.
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The department store chain is closing all of its stores at some point in the new year.
For items purchased after December 26, it is no longer accepting any returns for "non-faulty items, change of minds or excluded items".
But items purchased in store between November 19 and December 17 can be returned until close of business on January 15.
For items bought between December 17 and December 25, the standard 28-day return period applies.
It is not clear what this means for stores that are closed in Tier 4 areas. However, the retailer says it will reopen these stores "as soon as the government advises that it is safe to do so".
Department store John Lewis is offering customers 35 days after a store reopens following the restrictions to return their item.
Elsewhere, unwanted gifts bought between October 8 and December 24 can be returned up until January 28.
Marks and Spencer
Marks and Spencer is able to keep its food halls open under Tier 4 restrictions, as they are classed as essential stores - but has had to close its home and clothing departments.
It has also extended its returns policy until January 31 for items bought between October 4 and December 27. This applies both online and in store.
But for purchases made after December 27, the normal policy applies.
The fashion retailer announced it will extend its refund and exchange policy for customers "after the lockdown period".
This extension applies to items bought between October 8 and January 4.
It is not clear whether this refers to stores which have to close under Tier 4.
Primark says it will update its website when more information becomes available.
Argos stores in Tier 4 have now moved to only allowing collection of online orders.
However, some Argos stores — such as those in Ipswich, Sudbury and Bury St Edmunds — are located in Sainsbury's supermarkets.
A statement on Argos' website suggests that shoppers can return unwanted items to these stores while picking up essential shopping.
However, the company has also extended its returns for policy so that items bought since October 18 can be returned up to 30 days after temporarily closed Argos stores reopen.
Items which were delivered can also be returned via Argos' collection policy. Find out more here.
The electronics retailer is extending its returns policy for any product bought between October 29 and December 24 until January 14.
But, Currys says, for stores closed under Tier 4 restrictions the returns period will be extended beyond the January 14 cut off once stores reopen for unopened products.
Items purchased online can be returned to selected Next stores via an online service.
Alternatively, it is possible to return an item via a courier - but a £2 charge applies.
For goods purchased in store, Next is granting customers an extra 14 days after stores re-open to return them.
Amazon returns are still functioning as normal.
However, the online retail giant has extended its returns period for items that were shipped between October 1 and December 31 until January 31.
For item purchases after December 31, the usual 30-day policy applies.