Policies Vary from One Store to Another
Wallingford, CT December 17, 2009 - At some point you may receive a gift that just doesn’t fit — literally or figuratively. This does not, however, mean that the Grinch of gift returns has to rear his ugly head and turn an exchange or refund into a holiday headache.
While gift-buyers may know the store’s return policy, that won’t help you if you have to wade into the sometimes murky waters at the customer service counter, according to Connecticut Better Business Bureau President, Paulette Scarpetti.
“Long lines at the merchandise return counter can look intimidating, especially if you are not sure of a retailer’s policies. Finding out the store’s policies can make the return process less troublesome.”
Connecticut Better Business Bureau has some advice for consumers who get a sinking feeling in the pit of their stomach at the thought of having to brave gift return lines:Don’t wait too long
While it is not necessary to run out to the store the day after you receive an unwanted gift, many stores have a limited time frame from the date of purchase during which you may return an item. Ask about the length of the grace period for gift returns.Research the store’s gift return policy
These are often prominently posted in the store, however since most gifts are bought by other people, go online or call the store to find out about any restrictions on returns.
Ask about the return policy for on sale and clearance items, which may be different than merchandise sold at full price. Do not assume the regular return policy applies to sales or clearance items. Some merchants consider sales of reduced price and/or clearance items to be final, so ask.Make sure you have a proof of purchase
Not all holiday goodies will come with a gift receipt, so it may be helpful in such cases to ask the gift-giver for some sort of proof of purchase. Most stores will not allow merchandise returns without proof of purchase but larger merchants sometimes may be willing to give a break to people in this situation if they clearly state that the item was a gift.Bring Identification with you
A driver’s permit is usually an acceptable form of identification, however other forms of ID may be acceptable, along with your name, address and telephone number to complete the return.Keep original product wrapping
Leave electronic gifts in their original packaging if it you intend to return them. Many merchants impose a re-stocking or “open box” fee of as much as 15 percent on returns of electronic products or big ticket items, which, without the original wrapping, can no longer be re-sold as new.Return customers
If you are a regular customer or have a store credit account, mention that when trying to return a gift. Merchants are often willing to accommodate loyal customers.
Don’t forget that health regulations prohibit the return of hats and intimate apparel.
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