As consumers exchange gifts for the holidays, many will be underwhelmed and dissatisfied with the gifts their friends, family and co-workers have given them.
CNN Money reports that shoppers will return more than $46.28 billion this year, a record amount for holiday returns according to the National Retail Federation. Similarly, a survey taken by Western Union taken last year found that 75% of Americans claimed to have lied at least once about liking a gift that they really did not like.
Stores have different policies on returns, so to help your post-holiday shopping woes we offer you seven helpful tips to remember to be sure you can return unwanted gifts with minimal hassle after the holidays.
1. Do not open the box.
In the rush of unwrapping gifts, you may be tempted to open presents even if you plan to return them. Don't! Certain items can only be returned if the box is unopened and you may risk not being able to exchange the gift for something better if you open the box.
2. Save the receipt.
Many gift givers will give a receipt with their present. Be sure to save the receipts of the gifts you receive and give a gift receipt to your friends and family members along with their presents. Realistically, they might want to trade in their gifts just like you do.
3. Keep an eye on the date.
Many stores have tricky gift return policies and you may be stuck with your unwanted present if you do not adhere by their rules. Be sure to check whether the store requires you to return the item within 15 days, within 30 days or within one year.
4. Avoid lines for returns by waiting until a few days after Christmas.
Once you know how many days you have to return an item, you may want to schedule a date that is a few days after Christmas. Stores and malls will be packed on Dec. 26 and 27 with customers hastily returning unwanted presents. Avoid the lines by waiting a few extra days before trading in your gifts.
5. Know where you can return and what the process requires.
Many consumers are now ordering gifts online and those returns may be trickier. Be sure to check whether you can return your items (like clothing) to the store where they were purchased from or if you will need to return the item in the mail (like gifts from Amazon.com). The process may be more tedious if you have to return gifts online, so be sure to give yourself extra time.
6. Be clear and explain why you are returning an item.
Some stores are stricter about returns than others and may not be happy if you are returning an item just because you do not like it. Be sure to explain exactly why you are returning a gift, whether it is because the size is not quite right or because you already have a similar item at home.
7. Be aware whether you will receive store credit or cash back.
Once again, stores have different polices on returns and while some may happily give you cash back, others will only give you store credit. If you receive store credit, be sure to check how many days you have before the credit will expire.
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