Almost as soon as gifts are unwrapped, another wave of shoppers hits the mall. The day after Christmas is a big day for retailers as people head to stores to return gifts and use gift cards.
If you’re among the crowd trekking back to the store, ShopSmart magazine offers these tips:
- Online purchases may or may not be eligible for in-store returns, and some stores will take certain items but not others. Ann Taylor, for example, will take back some items bought online. But if you’re trying to return swimwear or a wedding dress, you’re out of luck. Check the return policy online before making a trip to the store.
- Gift cards usually aren’t returnable. Even Nordstrom, famous for their lenient return policy, won’t take them. If they do, the amount might be refunded to the purchaser’s credit card – that’s what Bloomingdales does.
- Some stores will accept a return without a receipt, but some won’t. Williams-Sonoma will take back defective merchandise only with a receipt. Other stores will issue a gift card, but won’t give refunds.
- Items from clearance outlets usually are not returnable. Crate & Barrel and The Land of Nod are among those outlets who won’t take returns.
- Even if they accept your return, it could be subject to fees. Amazon will charge 20% restocking fee if you return items more than 30 days after delivery. Sears charges 15% for electronics if they don’t have all their packaging and accessories.
Avoid return trouble by tracking receipts
ShopSmart also highlights four apps that shoppers can use to keep track of receipts, making future returns easier.
- Lemon lets you store digital receipts and pictures of paper ones.
- ReturnGuru sends users email reminders when their return deadline is approaching.
- Neat is a cloud-based service that charges a subscription fee to file scanned receipts.
- Slice looks in users’ email inboxes to gather receipts from online purchases.
Keep in mind also that many credit cards offer purchase protection and most offer dispute resolution. If an item is defective or damaged, is lost or stolen, or if you have reason to believe the store should accept it for return or exchange, you can always contact the issuer of the credit card used. For example,Visa Signature, American Express, and World MasterCard offer purchase protection for cardholders.