5 Easy Tips for Returning Those Unwanted Holiday Gifts without Hassle

Help avoid all of the stress that often comes along with holiday gift returns

Returning Unwanted Christmas Gifts
Image: Pixabay
December 26, 2017

We've all been there. You had a great holiday spending time with friends and family—yet you're left with a gift or two that you simply don't want or can't use. So what do you do with them?

Do you take the time to return your unwanted gifts, re-gift them to someone else, or hide them away in the back of a closet somewhere?

Obviously the decision is yours—but if you choose to return any gifts, taking these five simple tips into consideration before heading out will help you avoid any unnecessary hassles and make your trip to the store as quick and easy as possible!

Gift Returning Made Easy

Be sure before you open that box: Merchants can impose a restocking fee, which is often 15 percent of the product's cost. Many merchants do impose this fee for electronics items. Products such as computer software, CDs, and DVDs generally can't be returned once they're opened. It might also be hard to return products with damaged packaging or missing tags.

Keep all gift receipts: These days, more merchants will turn you away if you don't have a receipt. If you didn't get a gift receipt with a product you want to return, you may be out of luck unless you're prepared to ask the giver for the receipt.

Check store return procedures online and note any time limits: Big merchants usually allow 90 days for returns of most items but might have far shorter periods for electronics, software, and CDs and DVDs. During the holidays, however, some retailers will extend their deadlines. But the only way you will know for sure is if you check with the store.

Bring your ID: Most companies require a government-issued ID to make a return without a receipt and some even require it for returns with a receipt. Retailers use your ID to track how often you return products. Many times, however, it's primarily used for returns without a receipt to catch theives who steal a lot of merchandise and try returning it for quick cash or store credit. But they still want to know which consumers have a habit of returning merchandise, so they can track you this way even if you paid cash.

Know your options: If an item was purchased online and the merchant has walk-in store locations, check the merchant's website to see if you can return it at a store. This way you can avoid repacking and a trip to the post office, as well as costly shipping fees.

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