Denmark’s Christmas present exchange begins, but stores can refuse unwanted gifts

Although it can feel like a national sport in Denmark to exchange presents in the days after Christmas, shops in the country are not actually obliged to accept the return of items.

Denmark’s Christmas present exchange begins, but stores can refuse unwanted gifts
Photo: Stine Tidsvilde/Polfoto/Ritzau

Trading rules do not oblige retailers in Denmark to accept the return of items purchased as gifts.

Physical shops are not bound to either give refunds or exchange items for other goods.

However, the vast majority of shops go along with the practice of returning gifts – an extremely common phenomenon amongst Danes.

“Exchange services are part of competition parameters like other types of service,” head consultant and legal expert Bo Dalsgaard of the Danish Chamber of Commerce told Ritzau.

“If you do not offer to exchange Christmas presents, the customer may go and do their shopping elsewhere if they are unsure about how the gift will be received,” Dalsgaard said.

Most shops in Denmark require a receipt or proof of purchase to be presented in order to exchange items.

The Danish Chamber of Commerce estimates that 350 million kroner (47 million euros) worth of Christmas presents – four percent of the total Christmas shopping in Denmark – will be exchanged in the country this year.

Online stores must abide by different rules to their high street counterparts, with EU standards providing for a 14-day period following delivery in which items can be returned for refund.

Some online stores that also have physical shops may offer in-store return of items, depending on the retailer's own terms and conditions.

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Thousands more families in Denmark seek Christmas charity

A significant increase in families have sought Christmas help from the Danish Red Cross compared to last winter.

Thousands more families in Denmark seek Christmas charity

Higher process for food, electricity, gas and fuel are being felt by vulnerable families in Denmark, driving more to apply for Christmas packages offered by the Red Cross, broadcaster DR writes.

The NGO said in a statement that more people than ever before have applied for its Christmas help or julehjælp assistance for vulnerable families.

While 15,000 people applied for the charity last year, the number has already reached 20,000 in 2022.

“We are in an extraordinary situation this year where a lot more people have to account for every single krone to make their finances work,” Danish Red Cross general secretary Anders Ladekarl said in the press statement.

“For many more, their finances no longer work, and this is unfortunately reflected by these numbers,” he said.

The Red Cross Christmas assistance consists of a voucher worth 900 kroner redeemable at Coop stores or, in some stores, a hamper consisting of products.

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