Getting gifts is great, but returning gifts isn’t–especially if you don’t have the receipt or you have to deal with a retailer that simply doesn’t want to deal with returns (no fair, I say).
That’s why I thought you’d find this checklist from Consumer Reports, on how to avoid gift-return snafus, to be helpful. Luckily, I had all the receipts and information I need to make gift returns this past weekend. I wish you many happy returns, too.
- Get a gift receipt. I always attach a gift receipt to any present I buy–even my kids’ own gifts. Not only does this ensure that we’ll get the full price we paid if we return it, but retailers tend to be more lenient with return periods when you have a gift receipt. For example, the Uggs I bought my daughter? I’ll have 90 days post-Christmas to return them versus 30 days if I hadn’t bought them around the holidays and with a gift receipt.
- Keep packaging intact. “Stores are likely to refuse a return if the packaging materials are open or discarded,” says Consumer Reports. “Even a missing instruction manual, cords and cables or warranty card can give retailers reason to deny the return.”
- Follow all instructions to make an online return. You may need a special packing slip or even to ship it to a specific “returns-only” address. Call ahead to ensure that you will meet all requirements and get the full value from your return.
- Hold off on rebates on products–for now. Items like computer software, video games, CDs and DVDs aren’t generally returnable for another title after the seal has been broken. If an item comes with a rebate offer, make sure it works before removing the UPC code to redeem the rebate.
- Don’t get stuck paying restocking fees, which stores charge to “process” your return. It usually applies to electronics and, frankly, I think it’s a rip off. Typically, restocking fees range from 10 to 15 percent of the purchase price. Items more likely to have restocking fees include camcorders, TVs, digital cameras, and computers. Consumer Reports discovered that the following retailers tend to charge restocking fees: Amazon.com (15% for computers and fine jewelry); Best Buy (15% on laptops, camcorders, digital cameras and GPS navigators); Bidz.com (15% on all items, plus shoppers have only 15 days to return items); Sears (15% on electronics products returned without the original box, used, and without all of the original packaging); Home Depot (special-orders and some cancelled orders are subject to a 15 percent restocking fee); Macys (10% on furniture); Newegg.com (15% on all major purchases if the box is opened.)
I hope that every gift you give and get is the one wanted, and that you don’t have to deal with returns in the coming weeks!
Most mothers teach their kids to cook and clean. Leah Ingram’s mother taught her to compost. These days she’s passing along this green message to her own daughters as they all try to live a green and frugal lifestyle as The Lean Green Family. Visit her blog, Suddenly Frugal.