When it comes to gift-giving, it is the thought that counts. But, that doesn’t mean you are necessarily stuck with a present you truly do not want or need. If you’ve opened your gifts this year and found a handful of items that don’t fit the bill, be prepared to join millions who plan to exchange or return unwanted presents over the next several days. Before heading to the store or packing up that too-tight sweater to send back in the mail, know what makes for the easiest return process along with the return policies of major stores around the country. You’ll be well on your way to getting the gift – or the cash – you really wanted this holiday season.
Tips for Making Returns
The best step you can take if you know returning an item is in your future is to politely ask for the receipt. The gift-giver often has the proof of purchase, which does not include the price paid for the item, and they are happy to pass it along if the present isn’t a good fit for you.
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If a receipt isn’t available, be sure to have your ID ready to go, any tags included on the gift, as well as the packaging the gift came in before you head to the store for a return. Although a receipt may not be necessary for a successful refund or exchange, having an item in good condition with the original tags is incredibly helpful in the process.
Major Retailer Policies
Now, once you know what you need for your return, it’s helpful to know what to expect when you get to the store. Each retailer has its own return policy, but we’ve put together the pertinent details on the most common below. If you’re unsure if you can return a specific item or the timeframe for returns or exchanges, call the local store or check out the retailer’s policy online first.
Target – If you received a gift this season purchased at Target, you are in luck if you want to return it. Target has one of the most lenient return policies across all retailers, giving you up to one full year to return something for a refund or an exchange. That year’s timeframe only applies if you have a receipt, however. If you’re headed in sans a receipt, you can return a new or unopened item up to 90 days. When electronics are involved, you only have 30 days, but the 30-day window does not start until today, December 26th.
Amazon – The e-commerce giant is well-known for its speedy shipping, and the good news is that customers with returns can expect a similar, quick process for getting their money back. If you received an item from Amazon but don’t want it, you have until January 31st to return it for a full refund. However, read the fine print. Third-party sellers may not accept returns for a return, and certain items, such as groceries, flowers, or plants cannot be returned but they may be refundable. Amazon gift cards can not be returned, either. Some sellers may charge a restocking fee, and you may pay for shipping to get the item back to the seller. Ask for a receipt from your gift-giver to ensure a smoother process.
Apple – One of the most restricted retailers when it comes to returns is Apply. Items purchased between November 15 and December 25 can be returned up until January 8, with some exceptions. Returns are not available on opened software, downloads, software upgrades, or Apple gift cards. Also, your options for receiving a refund in the payment method of your choice will be limited.
Kohl’s – This popular retailer allows in-store as well as online returns without a time limit, unless we’re talking about electronics. For those, customers only have 30 days to return the item in its original packaging. For the holiday season, items purchased between November 1 and Christmas Day can be returned until January 31, with or without a receipt.
Macy’s – The department store has a fairly lenient return policy, allowing items to be brought back within 180 days of purchase for a full refund. Jewelry, small electronics, furs, and certain high-end brands have a much smaller return window, extending 30 days at the most. However, the 30-day window for restricted items is extended to January 31 this season.
Best Buy – If you are returning an item from Best Buy, you have until January 14th to do so. You need a receipt, as well as original packaging and any accessories or charging cables that came with the item to receive a full refund.
Walmart – Returning items to Walmart depends greatly on the item. Some returned gifts have a 15-day window, while others have a 30-day window. However, any electronics purchases between November 1 and Christmas Day can be returned up until January 18. Other specialty items can be brought back until January 25 for a full refund. For non-restricted items, you have 90 days to return for a refund.
To ensure you’re able to get what you want this holiday season, even after the gifts are opened, simply ask for the receipt or where the item was purchased. Most gift-givers never know that a return is made, and many retailers make it an easy process to get a refund for an item or exchange it for something you enjoy. Get to know the return policy of the retailer before heading to the store, so you aren’t disappointed once you arrive.