What to do after the gift is opened and the sweater doesn’t fit?
“We can’t guarantee a return-free holiday season, but we can offer some ways to lessen the pain and maybe even shorten time spent in the lines,” says Angie’s List founder Angie Hicks.
Her five tips for a hassle-free return:
• Return policies:
If you’re hesitant at all that you haven’t found the perfect gift, check the store’s return policy before you buy it. Great bargain prices might mean a no refund policy applies. Spend some time at the Customer Service counter now and possibly eliminate a return trip when everyone else wants help, too.
If buying online, determine who pays for shipping returned items and if they can be taken to a store instead. Also ask about handling fees – they’re different and stores may not alert you to the handling charge that comes with free shipping.
Some merchants may have off-site service centers to handle returns so be sure you know the process before you need it.
• Got a receipt? Do yourself a favor and scan or copy your receipts them when you get home. Keep the scanned receipts in one file and put your originals in a box where you can find it again. Even if you lose the box, you’ll have a record of your purchases.
A different kind of stocking: Many electronic items come along with a restocking fee for any returns, so if you think your gift will be returned, know your recipient might be incurring that cost or loss in value with an exchange.
• Tag it: Most stores won’t accept returns unless the item is in its original package and they prefer intact tags, as well. Mark out the price, but keep the tags. If you are the gift receiver and you know when you unwrap that you don’t want the item, don’t open it at all – it may save you a restocking fee.
• Don’t wait: The key to a quick and easy return is to act fast. Store return policies may vary from two weeks to 90 days.
• Warranties: Electronics and appliance store salespeople may pressure you to buy that extended warranty. Don’t buy without knowing all the facts, and if your recipient always has the latest toy on the market, skip the warranty. Likely there will be an update before anything goes wrong with the current gadget.