BBB tips to ease the holiday gift return process

During this season of giving, it’s almost inevitable that you will receive a gift that either doesn’t fit, is the wrong color, wrong style or that you just don’t like. While most stores adjust their return policies during the holidays and allow for a longer period of time to return an item, keep in mind that a business is not obligated to accept items for refund, exchange or credit. To put you in the best position for a happy return or exchange, BBB has the following advice:

  • Know and understand the seller’s return policy. Most return policies will be listed on a company’s website or on the back of the receipt. Make sure to fully understand what’s required for a return or exchange, and if you have questions, call the store directly and ask about your specific situation.
  • Keep original packaging. Some stores may require products be returned in original purchase condition, unused or un-opened.
  • Bring identification and credit cards. Some retailers will ask for identification when making a return, as well as the credit card used to purchase the item.
  • Don’t expect cash back. If you don’t have the original receipt for the item you’re returning, chances are you will only receive store credit or be allowed to exchange the item. Even with a gift receipt, many stores will only offer store credit.
  • Read the warranty first. If a gift you received is damaged or defective, read the warranty. In some cases, warranties exempt retail stores from product liability and require consumers to mail the product directly to the manufacturer in order to receive monetary refunds, credit or product replacement.
  • Don’t delay. In almost every case, a store will require an item be returned within a specific time frame. If you wait too long, you may miss your chance at returning the item.