Return Policies: What to Know Before You Buy

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Though you have every intention of getting your loved ones the perfect gift, sometimes things don’t quite fit, work properly or maybe the recipient already has the item. Whatever the reason, making sure you understand return and exchange policies before you buy will help make for a smoother gift return experience for those on your Christmas shopping list.

Here’s how to ensure hassle-free gift returns and exchanges:

  • Keep the Receipt: Receipts make or break a smooth return process. Keep a copy of your receipt and be sure get a gift receipt for the gift-recipient.
  • Policy Rules: Most retailers post their return policies and provide a written copy of the policy upon request. The store’s return policy should include whether returns are subject to any fees, including restocking fees. In some cases, defective products must be returned to the manufacturer rather than the retailer based upon the product’s warranty.
  • Don’t Open Packaged Gifts: If there’s any doubt you want to keep it, hold off on the scissors. Packaged toys, house wares or electronics can be difficult to return once opened, unless the item is damaged.
  • Act Fast: Many stores post special holiday return policies and the more time that ticks by, the more hoops you’ll have to jump through. Know when the returns are accepted by, which is generally 30 days from the date of purchase.
  • Check the warranty: Some products have warranties that spell out the manufacturer’s liability if the product is defective. Reading a product’s warranty before returning an item to a store is highly recommended.

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