All year long you’ve dreamed of the softest woven throw to cuddle up in on cold, winter nights, the all-in-one tool that might honestly save the world or new gadget that has the potential to organize your entire life. In July, you even went out of your way to admire it, showing it off in hopes the person would know this was the perfect gift for you. When the time comes, you unwrap - well, let's not go there.
All year long you’ve dreamed of the softest woven throw to cuddle up in on cold, winter nights, the all-in-one tool that might honestly save the world or new gadget that has the potential to organize your entire life. In July, you even went out of your way to admire it, showing it off in hopes the person would know this was the perfect gift for you. When the time comes, you unwrap - well, lets not go there.
Rather than faking enthusiasm and later hiding it in the back of a closet, there is a way to get what you want - return it. Chances are, if you act quickly, you can get a full refund and truly get the gift you want. The hard part may be getting a receipt without hurting anyone’s feelings.
Here are the National Retailer Foundation’s tips for stress-free returns after the holidays:
Know the retailer’s return policy. Most retailers have return policies prominently displayed, especially at this time of year. Check the original receipt or gift receipt for more instructions on a particular store’s policy. If policies are not clearly displayed, ask a sales associate or a manager to explain them to you. Most stores have a limited time to return items, when the clock runs out, you may only be able to exchange.
Save and file all receipts. Receipts are still the key to hassle-free returns. Some retailers will allow consumers to exchange merchandise without a receipt, but without one, a retailer may only provide merchandise credit for the lowest markdown-price the item was sold for during the holiday season. On the gifts you hand out this season, attach a gift receipt to save the recipient hassles.
Resist the urge to open and play with your new gadget even though you know you’re going to return it, Some retailers won’t accept returns unless the item is in its original package. The same applies to apparel, shoes and accessories. Stores usually will only accept if the items are unworn with tags still attached. Books, movies and video games must be also be unopened, unused and unmarked.
Bring a receipt to get the full exchange price.
Check your gift card online. You might think your gift card is safe, but it’s not as safe as you might think. Check online or call the company to make sure the card is still valid. Swindlers have been known to copy down the number on the back of the gift card in the store, and once activated, they empty the card before you get a chance to. Gift cards backed by a credit card company can be used at all stores in a local mall, but those come with a fee.
Make note of the store. Several large companies including Circuit City, Office Depot, Dillards, Williams-Sonoma and many others have expressed intent to close down hundreds of stores across the country within the coming months. Meaning, the store closest to you may not be open when you go to return the item. Several parent companies have filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and will keep doors open until reorganization. Most stores will honor gift cards but you may have to redeem them online. If in doubt, ask a store associate or manager about any updates or changes to the return/ exchange policy.
Be patient. Remember, the week after Christmas is one of the busiest weeks of the retail year. With people’s frustration high and tolerance low, be patient when returning merchandise.
Lake Sun Leader