Tips From BBB: How To Make the Gift Return Process Less Painful

Holiday shoppers - identity theft tips - GiftIf you're spending this week trying to return presents you didn't want, didn't need or that didn't fit, the Better Business Bureau offers suggestions on how to make the process a little better and not so bitter.

Of course, having a gift receipt makes everything easier. But there are some other tools of the return trade you may want to consider.

"Inevitably, following the holidays, the BBB receives hundreds of complaints from consumers because they are unable to return a gift," said Patrick Bennett, a spokesman for the organization.Here are some situations that might come up and how to handle them.

1. Make sure you know the return policy. It should be posted on the store's website. Remember the store is generally not legally required to refund the money or give you credit, unless the merchandise is defective. We took a look at the return policies of major retailers here.

2. Some items can't be returned due to health regulations, such as hats, bathing suits and underwear.

3. Check for restocking fees. Best Buy just announced that it would no longer assess them (It used to charge a whopping 15%), but some stores still have them, particularly on electronics.

4. If you want money back, make sure you have a receipt that shows the amount charged and that the item was purchased in that store. If you bought with a credit card, chances are the return will be debited to the card you used.

5. Clearance and sales items? They're not always returnable -- many times, that word "sale" also means "final." It's up to you whether you go back to the giver and say "I appreciate the thought you put into buying me this lovely lamp shaped like a nose, but I can't return it and I simply don't have room for another item shaped like a body part."

Looking for other ideas and tips? Check out the BBB list here.
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