The day after Christmas, or “return day,” as it’s known to many, is a nightmare for retailers and shoppers alike. But if you get some duds under the three this year, you’re going to have to make the trek to the store for an exchange or refund eventually. In order to do it hassle-free, “Tightwad” Tod Marks of Consumer Reports, offered up five tips for happy gift returning.
1. Know that retailers are becoming more generous and lenient when it comes to returns, but they still have policies to enforce. Know the policy of the store you’re planning on return something to before you drive to the mall and stand in line. The return policies are typically on the backs of receipts or on the retailer’s web site.
2. Don’t remove tags from any clothing! It should go without saying, but once you rip off the tags, all returning bets are off. Retailers are paying more attention to ‘wardrobing,’ Marks said, which is the fraudulent act of wearing clothes with the sole purpose of returning them. Once you remove tags, assume you can’t return the item or, at very best, are going to get an even exchange. And when it comes to shoes, don’t wear them outside even for a minute or scuff the bottoms or you will be out of luck.
3. Receipts are the ‘holy grail’ of returns, Marks said. Without a receipt, your chances of returning an item for cash, credit or even an exchange are much slimmer. If you’re giving a gift, always get the store receipt for yourself and a gift receipt for the recipient. That way, it’s no questions asked if the product is returned.
4. More retailers are now actually charting people’s returning behavior to clamp down on ‘serial returners.’ If you get on their hit list, because you return items too often, you might be turned away at the counter. The Return Exchange is a web site that lets you clear your name if you’ve made the list unrightfully.