Consumer Reports survey revealed one-in-five Americans plan on celebrating this post-holiday tradition. If you anticipate joining the lengthy queues, keep these seven tips in mind.
1. Research the Return Policy
Retailers with websites almost always post their return policies. They
may be difficult to find at first, so search under links for "Customer
Service," "FAQ" or "Help." You'll find lots of small type, but it's
worth reading through all the mouse scrawlings to know exactly what
2. Keep an Eye on the Date
Some stores have extended the number of days during which you can return
holiday gifts, but most still hold to their standard policy. Remember
the expiration date is from the time of purchase. In "Return rules at 8 big retailers" published last year,
Consumer Reports found the average return period ranged from 30 to 180 days.
3. Keep the Gift Receipt
If some thoughtful friend or loved one was kind enough to include a gift
receipt, this is your golden ticket for exchanges or returns. Keep in
mind that, because such receipts don't indicate the purchase price, the
store likely will only reimburse you at the going rate.
4. If You Don't Have a Receipt...
...bring an ID. More than 60 percent of retailers require a customer to
show ID when returning an item without a receipt. This is because some
stores limit how many times you can return purchases within a set time
5. Avoid Shipping Charges
Many major retailers -- but not all -- will accept returns of online
purchases at their brick-and-mortar stores. You might have to wait in
but you'll save a bundle on shipping and the hassle of re-boxing a gift
and mailing it out.
6. Resell Gift Cards
You don't need a receipt to exchange unwanted gift cards for cash. Visit GiftCardGranny.com,
where you can resell gift cards to several companies for a percentage of the face value.
7. Don't Open What You Don't Want
Because the merchant can't resell opened items as new, you could be charged a hefty restocking fee just for cracking the lid. Amazon
the charge to 50 percent for software, used books and DVDs; but
Overstock takes the cake at 60 percent for open or used products.
Andrea Woroch is a consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc. She
is available for in-studio, satellite or skype interviews and to write
guest posts or articles. As a nationally recognized media source, Andrea
has been featured among top news outlets such as Good Morning America, NBC's Today, MSNBC, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more.