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  1. ITV Report

Top tips for Christmas present buying and how to return dud gifts

As the countdown to Christmas has officially begun shoppers are hitting the high streets to make this year memorable.

With the average household spending an extra £500 in the run up to Christmas last year, not many can afford to disappoint with their gifts this time round.

Consumer rights expert Helen Dewdney, aka The Complaining Cow and author of How To Complain, shares her top tips on how not to splurge this festive season and what to do if you receive that dreaded unwanted present.

Don't ignore retailer's emails

Buying your Christmas presents online rewards preparation.

Shoppers can sign up to retailer's mailing lists to bag a bargain and get to offers early.

In 2016 plenty of customers opted to buy online spending approximately £25 billion, research by Statistica has shown.

Use Cashback websites

If everyone made the nice list this year, using a cashback website will help put some extra pounds in your purse with every spend.

A report by The Bright Star Digital revealed two thirds of shoppers admit they only buy an item if a discount or deal is on.

Smart shoppers will use multiple cashback websites.

Ask for a gift receipt

Including a gift receipt in a wrapped present prevents it ultimately going to waste.

Your average Brit spends more than £300 on each Christmas present according to the same report but not everyone gets it right.

To prevent an unwanted present going to waste, providing a gift receipt gives you the best chance of making a return as some retailer's will not take items back.

Also be aware, if you buy online you have 14 days to change your mind from receiving the item and the retailer must give you a full refund.

Whether you pay for return postage will be down to the retailer's terms and conditions.

Avoid gift cards

Gift cards might feel like the only option if you are stumped on what to buy someone but many do not use them.

Many gift cards have a short expiry date so giving cash can make sure that everyone has a happy Christmas.