BBB Offers Tips For Making Gift Returns Easier For Everyone

Now that Christmas is behind us, the Better Business Bureau has some helpful tips if you have to return a gift. So if it’s just a sweater that’s too big or a kitchen gadget that you really don’t need, you can reduce the stress of gift returning by keeping a few things in mind after the holidays. 

Easing the return process

  • Know the return policy. Either at the store, over the phone or by checking online. Find out the specifics of their policy. Policies vary widely and sale items may be problematic. Nearly 25% of stores change their policies just for the holidays.
  • Large items and electronics may have a restocking fee. 
  • Find out if shipping fees are refunded. If not and there is a local store of the same chain, consider returning the item at the store.
  • Keep the item in the original packaging.
  • Know that some items can only be returned to the original manufacturer.
  • Don’t put off making the return. There may be a time limit. And let’s face it: we often forget when we tuck the gift away and never get around to returning it.
  • Choose less busy times to make your return. That way store employees may be less frazzled by the rush and be more able and willing to give your transaction the time and attention it deserves.
  • Remember: temporary employees may be less knowledgeable about a retailer’s policies. Be patient and polite, but ask to see a manager if necessary.
  • The more store tags with bar codes on them, the better. Don’t pull them off until you are certain you want to keep the gift.
  • Some stores may only give store credit, especially if you don’t have the receipt. You may have to settle for a similar item only.
  • Retailers lose a lot of money to dishonest people who try to return stolen merchandise. For this reason, you’ll probably have to show proof of ID.
  • Especially with electronics, don’t open the packaging if you think you’ll want to return it.
  • Be nice. You’ll have a better chance of a smooth transaction if you are polite rather than insulting and grouchy. Store employees may be overworked and tired just like all of us sometimes feel. Kindness and empathy go a long way toward insuring an easier return transaction.


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