To re-gift or not to re-gift

Returning Unwanted Christmas Gifts
Image: Pixabay
Updated: December 21, 2016

We've all been there. You had a great holiday spending time with friends and family—yet you're left with those one or two gifts that you simply don't want or don't have any use for.

So what to do? 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 from Consumer Reports 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!

  • Be sure before you open that box: Merchants can impose a restocking fee (often 15 percent of the product's cost), and many do for electronics items. Products such as computer software, CDs, and DVDs aren't generally returnable 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.
  • Bring your ID: Some companies require a government-issued ID with a receipt. That way, they can track serial returners even if the transaction is in 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 and avoid repacking and a trip to the post office, as well as costly shipping fees.