Returning and Exchanging Gifts

Staff Report

Christmas is a few weeks behind us, and people may be realizing that some of the things left under the tree may not be quite the right fit.

Better Business Bureau wants consumers to be aware and research retailer’s policies on accepting returns and exchanges.

“If you find yourself with a gift that doesn’t fit or is not what you had in mind, many stores will allow refunds or exchanges for the sake of good customer relations,” explains Kip Morse, president and CEO of Better Business Bureau serving Central Ohio. “Some retailers have very liberal return and exchange policies, including no questions asked, but that is not true for all. We suggest customers be informed on the policies of each store before they head out to the mall to make any returns.”

Here’s what consumers should know in order to make the return and exchange process easy:

The store’s return policy. Do not assume the regular return policy applies to sales or clearance items. Some merchants consider sales items to be final.

Save receipts. They are usually needed for returns. You may also need an I.D.

Keep the original packaging. Don’t remove electronics or similar products from their boxes after unwrapping it, as the original packaging may be required for a return.

Know the online return policy. Find out whether shipping fees are charged for returning items and whether shipping costs or restocking fees are deducted from the price of returned items. For additional online shopping tips visit

Returns are a courtesy. If you are the gift-recipient, do not assume you have the right to return or exchange an unwanted present. Like the shopper, you are bound by the merchant’s return policy.

Understand unusual policies. Understand if certain merchandise is associated with health regulations, which can prohibit the return of certain items like hats and intimate apparel.

Time your returns to avoid hassles. You don’t have to brave the crowds the day after Christmas, but don’t wait too long to return the item. Pick a time when the store is not likely to be crowded and be polite when talking to customer service. If you are a regular customer, or have a store credit account, mention that fact as you discuss your return options. Merchants are usually willing to accommodate loyal customers.

Staff Report

Information for this story was provided by the Better Business Bureau.

Information for this story was provided by the Better Business Bureau.