10 Tips for Returning Christmas Gifts

The biggest shopping day of the year is Black Friday. But the biggest return week of the year is between Christmas and New Year’s Day. These days, most stores are prepared for this influx of gift recipients who just don’t like what they got. But this doesn’t mean they all have a hassle free return policy. Here are the 10 things you can do to make gift returns easier:

  1. Don’t open the inner packaging of a present if you think you won’t like it. This is especially important for items like electronic media that are subject to strict return policies.
  2. Keep boxes and Styrofoam packaging materials for gifts you think you might want to return. If you can pack it up so it looks like new, your chances of getting a full credit are better.
  3. Put all gift receipts in one place while you are opening presents so they don’t get thrown away with the wrapping paper.
  4. Leave tags on clothing until after you have tried the items on to make sure they fit.
  5. Try to return items within 30 days of the purchase date on the gift receipt to ensure the return period hasn’t expired. You may want to wait until after the New Year if possible so lines are shorter.
  6. Check online for the details of a store’s return policy before you go stand in line at customer service.
  7. Be prepared to accept a store credit at smaller stores or if you don’t have a receipt.
  8. Only return gifts that were shipped to you from an online retailer if you don’t mind paying for the return postage.
  9. Be aware that if you return a gift that was purchased for you online, the gift giver may get their money credited back to their credit card or PayPal account. You won’t get anything and the giver will know that you didn’t like what you received.
  10. If the gift isn’t actually horrible, consider re-gifting or donating it instead of returning it.
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