Is that new iPhone 6 you got for Christmas not your cup of tea? You’re probably not the only one. After the busy holiday shopping season comes the postseason return frenzy. But consumers should be aware that retailers and sellers often amend return policies for the holiday season. It is especially important to be well versed in these policies before taking that toy drone, smartwatch or Xbox One back to a store.
Tech gifts in particular could be tricky to return. With items available at many different retailers and sellers, stores may be reluctant to accept a return without a receipt. Some gifts are especially hard to return, such as smartphones purchased at a retailer with a contract from a third-party mobile carrier. Simply returning the phone does not cancel the contract, so contract smartphones are sometimes exempt from return policies, depending on the store.
If returning gifts without a receipt, customers should be prepared to accept store credit instead of a refund. Customers may also want to return online purchases to a store location if possible in order to avoid shipping and restocking fees. Waiting a week or two to return unwanted gifts is also a good option as many stores offer holiday return dates that extend into January.
For more details on how to turn your unwanted tech-related holiday gift, here is a rundown of return policies from the top retailers and sellers.
Best Buy is accepting returns on items purchased between Nov.1 and Dec. 31, 2014, through Jan. 15, except for items that required an outside contract, such as a mobile phone (the standard 14-day return window remains for contract phones). Customers must have all returnable contents with original packaging, proof of purchase and a form of ID in order to exchange an item or get a refund.
Amazon.com is accepting returns on items shipped between Nov.1 and Dec. 31, 2014, through Jan. 31, with its return policy applying to items shipped directly from Amazon and to items shipped from a third-party seller, unless that seller has its own return policy.
Items being returned for reasons other than an error by Amazon will have the cost of shipping taken from the refund. Customers also can opt to pay for their own shipping when returning an item in order to receive a full refund.
Apple is accepting returns on items purchased between Nov.1 and Dec. 25, 2014, through Jan. 8. Customers must keep in mind that returning an iPhone to Apple won’t automatically cancel service with a wireless carrier, which must be done separately.
Radio Shack does not have a holiday return policy but upholds its 30-day money-back guarantee (minus shipping and handling for online purchases). To receive a full refund, customers must have all returnable items, accessories, paperwork and original packaging.
Walmart is accepting returns on items purchased between Nov.1 and Dec. 25, 2014, depending on the return window for a particular item. Items that must be returned within 14 days, such as contract phones, can be returned between Dec. 26 and Jan. 9. Items that must be returned within 15 days, such as computers, camcorders and video game consoles, can be returned between Dec. 26 and Jan. 10. Items that must be returned within 30 days, such as lawn mowers and air conditioners, can be returned between Dec. 26 and Jan 25. Items with a 90-day return period maintain the same return period.
Office Depot/Office Max
Office Depot and Office Max are accepting returns on items purchased between Oct. 1 and Dec. 24, 2014, through Jan. 14 as long as it has no other amending policy. If so, the stipulations of the amending policy must be followed if it is a sooner date.
Staples is accepting returns on items purchased between Nov. 23 and Dec. 24, 2014, through Jan. 17 or 14 days after purchase or order.
Target does not have a holiday return policy but upholds its 90-day return policy. Refunds of shipping charges are dependent on the reason for return. Electronics must be returned within 30 days of purchase. Customers who aren’t refunded shipping charges can contact Target Guest Services at 1-800-591-3869 to see if they are eligible for a refund. Customers with gift receipts receive store credit.
Kohl’s does not have a holiday return policy but upholds its no time restrictions for returns policy. Customers who made purchases on Kohl’s charge cards can return items up to 12 months after purchase for a full refund to their account. Customers who made purchases without a Kohl’s charge card or purchased items outside of the 12-month window can receive a store credit or a corporate-issued refund.
Toys R Us
Toys R Us does not have a holiday return policy but upholds its 90-day return policy with a receipt. Items must be in good condition with original packaging and paperwork. Online purchases may be returned to a Toys R Us store or through its Online Return Centers. Details can be found on the above link.