Many blockbuster discounts start BEFORE Christmas

Huge 50%+ sales under way. The Boxing Day and Jan sales now begin before Santa's even down the chimney. A few stores even let you order online on Wed to arrive by Xmas if you pay full deliv (eg, Asos, order by 8pm Wed, £6 p&p - see Xmas last orders & deliv costs).

Below, we've a rundown of the top 20 sales (see the full 60+ Boxing Day and January sales), and your rights. Plus we reveal which giants boosted sales last winter from their original discount, to help predict if it'll happen again – yet there's no certainty and stuff may sell out.

Big 20 'Boxing Day' & 'January' sales

All percentages 'up to'. See full 60+ retailers' sales

Asos* 50% off 21 Dec CONFIRMED will boost from 50% to 70%, 5 Jan
The Body Shop* 50% off 22 Dec Last winter offered 35% extra off code, 6 Jan
F&F clothing* 50% off 15 Dec No boost last winter
Gap* 60% off 14 Dec Last winter boosted from 60% to 75%, 27 Dec
Habitat* 50% off 17 Dec Last winter boosted from 50% to 70%, 12 Jan
Ikea varies by store, max 50% off (no online sale) 17 Dec No boost last winter
River Island 50% off 23 Dec web (26 Dec stores) CONFIRMED will boost from 2 Jan, likely 70%
Tesco Direct* 50% off 23 Dec web (24 Dec stores) No boost last winter
Toys R Us* 50% off 18 Dec No boost last winter
Urban Outfitters* 50% off 23 Dec CONFIRMED will boost from 50% to 75%, 30 Dec
Amazon* 50% off likely 24 Dec (4pm) No boost last winter
Argos* TBC (50% off last yr) 25 Dec web, 26 Dec stores No boost last winter, but in previous yrs, 60% from Jan
Boots* 50% off 24 Dec web, 26 Dec stores Last winter boosted from 50% to 70%, 14 Jan
Debenhams* 50% off 24 Dec (5am) web, 26 Dec stores CONFIRMED will boost from 50% to 70%, 27 Dec
House of Fraser* 50% off 24 Dec (12pm) web, 26 Dec stores CONFIRMED will boost from 50% to 70%, 17 Jan
John Lewis* TBC (50% off last yr) 24 Dec (5pm) web, 27 Dec stores No boost last winter
M&S* 50% off 24 Dec (12pm) web, 26 Dec stores CONFIRMED will boost from 50% to 60%, 31 Dec
New Look* 70% off 24 Dec (12pm) web, 26 Dec stores No boost last winter
Next* TBC (50%+ off last yr) TBC (24 Dec web, 26 Dec shops 2014) No boost last winter
Selfridges* 50% off 25 Dec web, 26 Dec stores CONFIRMED will boost from 31 Dec, likely 70%
(1) Where no online start time specified, retailer hasn't confirmed it. Store opening hours vary.

Your sales rights

1. You've NO legal right to change your mind if you buy in-store. You're only entitled to a refund if faulty. Otherwise you can only exchange if the store's published returns policy says so, and what it says goes - so if you need a receipt, you need a receipt. Plus many stores suspend these policies during sales, so never buy anything and assume it’ll let you change it. See Buying Rights.

2. Buy online and you DO have the right to change your mind. The Consumer Contracts Regulations mean if you order online or by phone, you have 14 days to cancel your order and a further 14 days to return goods, regardless of reason. These items are excluded so can't be returned or cancelled (see full online buying rights):

  • Personalised goods (eg, photo mugs), unless faulty.
  • Fresh food and flowers, unless faulty.
  • Travel, hotel and event tickets.
  • Opened games, videos or software, unless faulty.
If you click and collect at stores, you're covered. If you just reserve (but don't pay online), you're not. What matters is where you pay.

3. If faulty, return quickly and you DO have refund rights. The game changes if goods are defective. Stores' policies are irrelevant as your statutory rights allow a refund if you're quick. Shops may fob you off - eg, "go to the manufacturer" or "no returns even if faulty during sales". They're wrong. See What Shops Get Wrong and Return Rights.

Buying 2nd-hand from stores/traders (not individuals), gives you the same rights, though what's "satisfactory quality" varies from a 10p T-shirt to a £2k bag. See 2nd-Hand RightsRelated: 40 eBay Tricks.

4. Pay by credit card for extra protection. Buy anything at £100+ and pay even 1p by credit card (not debit) and Section 75 laws make the card firm jointly liable. If goods are faulty, or the retailer goes bust, it must pay up as if it were the shop.

REPAY IN FULL each month, preferably by direct debit, so there's no interest. In which case... get 5% cashback too: the Amex Platinum Everyday* card has no annual fee and pays 5% in the first three mths (max £100), then up to 1.25% (fail to repay in full & it's 22.9% rep APR). Full info and other options in Cashback Credit Cards.

5. Martin's Money Mantras. Always check Martin's Money Mantras. If the answer's 'no' to any of them – DON'T BUY.

This article first appeared in the weekly email on 23 December 2015.

Martin Lewis
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Duplicate links of the * links above for the sake of transparency, but this version doesn't help Amazon, Amex Platinum Everyday, Argos, Asos, Boots, Debenhams, F&F Clothing, Gap, Habitat, House of Fraser, John Lewis, M&S, New Look, Next, Selfridges, Tesco Direct, The Body Shop, Toys R Us, Urban Outfitters