Tips on how to return holiday gifts you don't need

It's been a record-setting season of low sales and high discounts, and there stands to be even more now that Christmas Day has passed. These guidelines can help you navigate retailers for continued deals when you return holiday gifts.

Returning gifts

  • Whether you're the gifter or the giftee, make sure understand the retailer's return policy. According to the National Retail Federation, more than half of retailers' return policies will be more lenient during the holiday season, but that doesn't mean you won't hit a snag here and there. Some of those big pre-Christmas discount offers may have strings attached such as limited or no returns, or exchanges or store credit in lieu of refunds.

  • If you receive a gift in the wrong size, style or color, don't open the product packaging or remove tags. The item will be difficult if not impossible to return, and may be subject to a restocking fee if accepted by the store.

  • Be sure to save receipts, whether for the original purchase or enclosed as gift receipts. This'll ensure that you receive the full purchase value for an item in your refund, exchange or store credit transaction. Receipts also contain return policies and deadlines important for your planning.

  • Make online returns easy by knowing the process and who (you or the retailer) foots the return shipping bill. Most online retailers with brick-and-mortar shops will allow in-store returns of shipped goods.