Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Gift Returns

"Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts"
- Laocoon in the Aeneid, book II
Almost one in five Americans expected to return at least one holiday gift. If you are one of these five then ConsumerReports has this advice for returning gifts at

1. Know the time frame
Large merchants usually allow 90 days for returns but some items like electronics, computers, music, and DVDs may have shorter return periods. software, and CDs and DVDs. For example electronics bought at Walmart must be returned within 15 or 30 days. But as a gesture of holiday goodwill, if a gift was purchased at Walmart between Nov. 15 and Dec. 25, the return clock doesn't start ticking until Dec. 26.

2. Use and Keep gift receipts
My wife requested gift receipts for items we bought at Toys-R-Us and I received a hobby kit this year with a gift receipt included. Merchants used to offer store credit without a receipt but don't count on that nowadays. You may have to ask the giver for the store receipt before making a return or exchange.

3. Take your driver's license
Some companies require a government-issued ID with a receipt. This way they can track serial returners who use and return items frequently.

4. Be sure before you open the box
Once you open a box the item is no longer new so merchants may charge a restocking fee, often 15 percent of the product's cost. Digital items that can be copied like computer software, CDs, and DVDs aren't usually returnable once they're unwrapped.

5. Know where to go
If an item was purchased online and the merchant has walk-in stores, check their website to see if you can return it at a store and avoid reshipping fees.

Bottom Line

I'll be sure to use more Gift Receipts in the future.

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