So what do you do with unwanted gifts? If you’re lucky, you got a gift receipt, so returns shouldn’t be a hassle. If you aren’t so lucky, read retailers’ returns policies on their websites before you schlep to the store. Here are 7 returns gotchas to avoid, from our January issue:
Not all stores take back online purchases. Sports Authority stores won’t take back anything bought on its website. Other stores—Macy’s, Ann Taylor, Loft, Gap, Old Navy, and Banana Republic are a few examples—won’t take back certain items.
Some gift cards aren’t returnable. Apple, Kenneth Cole, Nordstrom, and other stores won’t take gift cards back. A better bet: sell them on reseller sites like Plastic Jungle.com and Cardpool.com.
Using PayPal can limit returns. One exception is Target; you can get cash back for PayPal purchases in stores (but only store credit online).
Free gifts can cost you. If you get a freebie promo gift with purchase and you decide to return that purchase, not returning the freebie can cost you.
No gift receipt could mean no return. Williams-Sonoma, Bloomingdale’s, and others have strict no-receipt returns policies. You could be out of luck.
You may be stuck with outlet items. The bargains may be great, but returns not so much. The Land of Nod, Crate & Barrel, and others won’t take back outlet purchases.
Restocking fees can bite you. Electronics and media items like DVDs are notorious for restocking fees, meaning you won’t get back the item’s full value even if you return it promptly and unopened, receipt or no receipt.
I hope you’re happily keeping all your holiday gifts! But good luck with those returns next time.