But returning gifts can also be a complicated process, so the Better Business Bureau has five tips for making your return process as painless as possible.
- Tip 1: Know the stores return policy - Ask what specific return policy applies to the item you are purchasing. Do not assume the regular return policy applies to sales or clearance items. Some merchants consider sales items to be final. Also, the clock is ticking, with some merchants not accepting returns after as few as 9 days.
- Tip 2: Save your receipts - They are usually needed for returns and ask for a gift receipt.
- Tip 3: Keep the original packaging - Don't remove electronics or similar products from their boxes before wrapping as the original packaging may be required for a return.
- Tip 4: Know the online return policy - If you are shopping online, read the posted return policy before buying. If returns are permitted, be sure to print a copy of what procedures and time frame need to be followed, along with complete contact information for the business from which you are ordering
- Tip 5: Understand unusual policies - As an example, health regulations, which can prohibit the return of certain items like hats and intimate apparel.
And one extra tip. Know that returns are a courtesy provided by merchants. Dennis Horton, Director of the Rockford office of the Better Business Bureau reminds people that “Shoppers need to keep in mind that returns are a customer service and are not required by law unless the merchandise is defective.” 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.