5 Rules for Gift Returns

Now that the holiday gift giving has ended, chances are that you have some returning to do.  According to Consumer Reports, nearly 20% of people intend to return at least one gift.  With retailers changing rules and adding limits, there are a few keys to making sure returning works for you. This is a popular topic right now, but in case you’ve missed it elsewhere:

  1. Don’t wait.  Many retailers are becoming less generous with their extended holidays return times.  In addition, reduced stock levels mean that it may be harder to find something that you want to buy.  Also, the longer you wait, the greater the chance that an unexpected scheduling change will result in your being too late to return the item.  (This has happened to me!)
  2. Keep the packaging, even if the item has been opened.  If your item has a store specific bar coded sticker on it, be absolutely sure to keep it.  Those stickers are a key to easy returns as they identify the date and price of purchase.
  3. Bring your patience and, if at all possible, leave the kids at home.  No one really wants to go shopping with a posse, but sometimes it is the only choice.  This would be a good time to come prepared with snacks and entertainment.  Make sure you’re not tired and hungry, too.  A cranky parent is in no shape to help cranky kids.
  4. Bring identification.  Many stores require a state issued ID card for returns.  Even if you aren’t driving, tuck your license in your purse to make returns easier.
  5. Be nice!  A little kindness and courtesy may help smooth the way if your return is slightly outside of the guidelines.

Hopefully you won’t have many (or any) returns to manage. Otherwise, make it easy on yourself by being ready and doing it soon.

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.