How to cheat at Christmas

Opinion / Friday, December 23rd, 2011



This isn’t some Delia-style preach to use ready-made mashed potato. There are only one and a half shopping days left, but it is still not too late to get a good deal on gifts – they key is to be cheeky.

At this late stage you’ve got no chance of getting online orders delivered in time for Christmas – but you can play two systems off against one another to get the best deal possible. Knowing that most items are cheaper online, do your shopping in-store (keep the receipt safe!) and then check the price of your purchases online. For entertainment products like books, CDs, DVDs, games and electronics, download the Amazon app to your smartphone and you can even snap away at the barcodes as you shop and get an instant price comparison online!

Then, if the price difference makes it worthwhile (remember that Amazon offers free but slower than usual delivery on orders over £5), put in an online order for the same goods you have bought in person. Wait until they turn up, and then exercise the right to change your mind given by most shops to return them to the store as if they were the ones you bought there in the first place. Note that this is not a statutory right provided by law (unlike for orders placed online, where you have a legal right to inspect the goods and return them at no cost for a full refund, including of your original delivery charge, if you change your mind), but is the policy of most retailers.

Okay, so it’s a little cheeky, and it’s something I would probably only inflict on the larger, faceless retailers rather than the independents I want to survive – but it will certainly save you a few pennies that you can spend on something nicer than lining the pockets of HMV’s shareholders. Happy Christmas!

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