BBB offers tips for hassle-free gift returns, exchanges - Tucson News Now

BBB offers tips for hassle-free gift returns, exchanges

(Source: Tucson News Now) (Source: Tucson News Now)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Millions of people across the country will hit the malls on Tuesday to return those unwanted gifts as the holiday season winds down.

According to a recent study by the National Retail Federation, nearly 50 percent of people surveyed said they planned to shop on the day after Christmas.

If you’re one of them, the Tucson Better Business Bureau says there are a couple of things you can do to save time and frustration.

First, check the store’s return policy beforehand. Some retailers change policies during the holiday season, so it’s good to know before you go.

Also, make sure to bring the receipt with you if you have one.

Many items being returned were gifts, so if you don’t have proof of purchase make sure the item is in its original packaging with  all of the tags attached.

Create a shopping map. Write down all of the stores you plan to go to that way you can figure out the best game plan to avoid long lines.

Many people also plan to take advantage of after-Christmas sales. Many retailers mark down holiday items significantly. The BBB says it’s best to get there early to get the best deals.

More tips from the BBB:

  • Ask the store about its return policy. Can a customer obtain a refund, a store credit, or exchange unwanted merchandise? How long is the period when returns are allowed? Some stores have extended return periods for gifts, while others limit returns to a week or less after the item is purchased.
  • Keep your receipts. If you are giving the item as a gift, ask for a gift receipt and enclose it with the present. This will facilitate returning the gift if necessary.
  • Don’t assume that regular return policies apply to sale or clearance items. Some merchants consider the sale of such items to be final, so ask before buying. If you are the gift recipient, do not assume you have the right to return or exchange an unwanted gift. Like the shopper, you are bound by the merchant’s return policy.
  • Ask about restocking fees. Some merchants charge a restocking or "open box" fee for returns of electronic products or large-ticket items. A restocking fee can be as high as 25 percent of the purchase price.
  • Look for a posted return policy when shopping online. If returns are permitted, ask what procedures and time frames need to be followed. Find out whether shipping fees are charged for returning items and whether shipping costs or restocking fees are deducted from the price of returned items.
  • Keep items in their original packaging. Don’t remove electronics or similar products from their boxes before wrapping. The original packaging may be required for a return. In some cases, such as DVDs or CDs, the package must remain sealed.
  • Leave tags on clothing. If you remove the price or black it out on the tag, try to leave the item number or bar code visible as it will make it easier for a store to process the return.
  • Time your returns to avoid hassles. Return lines can be lengthy the day after Christmas, but don’t wait too long to return items. Pick a time when the store is unlikely to be crowded, and be polite when talking to customer service clerks. If you are a regular customer or have a store credit account, mention that as you discuss return options. Merchants are usually willing to accommodate loyal customers.

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