How to simplify the process of returning gifts this holiday season

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Returns are an inconvenient reality of the holiday season. Whether you’re returning clothes that don’t fit or big-ticket items that don’t suit your lifestyle, the idea of making those returns is unlikely to inspire enthusiasm. However, the following are a few ways to simplify the process of returning gifts so it goes as quickly and as smoothly as possible.

  • Gingerly open packages. Much of the frustration associated with returning gifts can be traced to returning the items in boxes that were torn apart when opening the gifts. Before tearing into a package or removing tags from any clothing, consider the gift and if you think you might want to return it. Some stores will not allow returns unless packaging is completely intact, while some clothing retailers will only accept returns that include the original tags. So examine all gifts before you go tearing into any packaging so your initial excitement may impede your ability to return ultimately unwanted gifts.
  • Don’t delay a return. Men and women who wait to return an item may be making things more difficult on themselves. Some stores only allow returns for a predetermined number of days after the product is purchased, while others may not offer cash back after that period has expired. If you know you want to return a gift, do so soon after receiving the gift to minimize the headaches that come from procrastinating with regard to returning gifts.
  • Bring the original receipt. When possible, bring the original receipt instead of just the gift receipt. Returns made with only a gift receipt may only be eligible for store credit or a retailer may not give you full credit for the amount spent on the gift. In the latter case, without the actual receipt, you likely won’t know how much store credit you deserve or how much cash back you can expect.
  • Know the return policy before visiting the store. Return lines can be long, and no one wants to finally make it to the front of the line only to be told an item must be returned via the mail or that returns are subject to fees they don’t want to pay. 
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