Posted: 22/12/2014 at 14:07
Hi Yorkshire Lass, there should be small buds on redcurrants at this time of year. If you think it might be dead, use your thumbnail to scrape away a little bit of the bark on a stem. It should be green underneath. If it is brown, try a few more stems but if you don't see any green anywhere it might be a dead.
If you do find some green, then it should start growing in about March and the small rather insignificant flowers appear not long after the new leaves, in about April.
Here is the RHS link about growing redcurrants:
There are no real rules as far as returning plants, but if one is clearly dead and doesn't show any growth or performs poorly even though you have followed their instructions, then state this when complaining and most suppliers will exchange for another or alternative plant, supply vouchers to the value of it, or give you your money back (their preferences are usually in that order!)
Having no transport, I always buy online and there is an excellent thread called 'the good guys' where members have recommend suppliers who they have had good experiences in using. Local GCs can be a bit of a lottery - some are excellent, some not. You can tell by asking about the plants you are interested in - if they don't seem to know much then avoid.