The holidays were wonderful. You had a chance to enjoy your family and to exchange gifts. However, maybe one of those gifts was not the right size or just isn’t a good match for you.
Don’t feel bad if you need to make a change — after all, the person who gave you the gift wants to make sure you love what you received. If that means an exchange or refund is needed, just do it — and don’t feel guilty! Another benefit is that any store credit you get can offset some future spending, a definite perk after all your holiday purchases. (See all our ways to keep your Christmas spending in check.)
TIPS FOR RETURNING OR EXCHANGING GIFTS
1. Know the store’s policy
Many stores require a receipt in order to do any type of exchange. You might ask the person if they have this or a gift receipt to take along with you. If they do not, be prepared to follow the store’s policy.
Most will not issue a cash refund, but will return it in the form of store credit. If you do an exchange, make sure that you get like items or items priced the same, which can usually mean an even exchange.
2. Check to see if you need to return via mail or if you can do so in the store
Some places, such as Amazon, will require that the package be returned to them. Some online retailers have free returns as part of their service, so you can mail it back at no cost to you.
Other stores, such as Target, Best Buy and Walmart will allow you to return items to the store, even if it was purchased online. If you can do your return in the store, it can save you money as those postage charges can add up.
Related: How to Prevent Package Theft
3. Check the item packaging
If the box is completely destroyed, you may not be able to return it. Do your best to put the item back into the original packaging, including any and all paperwork.
Some stores will actually assess a charge if the item has been opened at all. If you know for sure you don’t want the item, don’t open it at all.
4. Watch holiday prices
If you do not have a receipt, the store will often only credit you the lowest price in the past 14 or 30 days and not the price you see on the package. If possible, try to ask for the receipt or a gift receipt to ensure you get the proper credit for the item.
5. Know the fees
If items are opened or packages are damaged, some stores may charge a fee. In addition, some items have a restocking fee attached to them (places such as Best Buy is where this is most common). Make sure you know before you visit the store, so you don’t end up being surprised with additional charges.
6. Bring along your ID
Most stores will require identification when you are making any sort of return. Have it handy, along with your receipt (if possible) when making the return. This will make the process go much more smoothly and get you out of line more quickly!
7. Wait a few days
There will be a lot of people out returning gifts and shopping clearance sales the days immediately after Christmas. If you can wait a few days, the lines will be shorter, which can be less stressful for both you and those working in the store.
The best tip of all is to be patient when making the returns. The person behind the register is only enforcing those store policies and are not trying to make your life difficult. With the number of exchanges, they will be tired and if they can deal with pleasant customers rather than rude ones, that will surely make it better for BOTH of you!