How to Successfully Return an Unwanted Gift to the Store

While you may enjoy every gift you received over the holidays, there is a good chance you might need to return a few of them.

The first thing that you will want to do is to check the return policies from the stores you think they may have come from, whether online or in person.  You will want to know what the time frame is for returning items, as well as the reasons the store accepts for a return.  


When it comes to the weeks, and even the first month, after Christmas, many department stores (like Kohl’s and Nordstrom) are happy to take returns.  If you have a gift receipt, you will be in even better shape.


When you first open the gift and find out that it is something you cannot use, make sure that you keep the original packaging and the tags if they are still on it.  If you must open the box to examine the item, make sure you don’t tear the packaging or lose any small parts.  Never wear or use any item that you plan to return.  Quite a few stores will not accept items if they are used.


When you take the gift back to the store, be aware that you might have to pay a restocking fee.  This is often the case with electronics, but you will need to check the policies of the store.  Many stores have a restocking fee that ranges from five to 30 percent.  If you are shipping a gift back to an online store, you will want to see what the shipping fees are.  If they are more than the worth of the item, it is sometimes not worth the hassle.


Of course, if you find out that you waited too long to return a gift, you have another option: you could always sell the item on eBay or Craigslist to get some fast cash back.  Or you could even re-gift the item next year.  Just make sure you don’t accidentally give it back to the person who first gave it to you!

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