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How to Make Gift Returns Easy

Know the store’s return policies for hassle-free returns.

We are all hoping to give, and receive, the perfect gifts this holiday season. But when Santa or some other helpful elf sends a gift that’s not quite right, stores are saying “No problem.” In most cases, you can return it, but if your Santa has included a gift receipt in the package, don’t throw it away because some stores don’t accept returns without a receipt.

Walmart strives for customer satisfaction by exchange, refund or repair. Even without a receipt, Walmart gives customers the option of a cash refund for purchases under $25, or a shopping card is the purchase was over $25. For the holiday gift buying season, Walmart has adjusted its return policy for items with a limited return/exchange period, such as TVs, cameras, computers, DVD and music players. For those purchased between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24, the limited return period will begin Dec. 26. For all others, returns are accepted within 90 days after purchase. Pre-recorded movies, music, and computer/video game software and circuit cartridges must be returned within 90 days in the original and unopened packaging with a receipt to receive a refund or exchange.

Target promises to attempt a return on every item purchased in its stores or on Target.com by scanning the receipt or packing slip, offering receipt look-up or through a non-receipted return or exchange with a valid form of identification. Most unopened items in new condition returned within 90 days will receive a refund or exchange. Open music, movies, video games and software cannot be returned, but may be exchanged for the same title. The following items must be returned within 30 days: netbooks, laptops, eReaders, tablets, cameras, camcorders, digital audio players, GPS systems, videogame hardware, personal DVD players, and no-contract cell phones. For items purchased between Nov. 1 and Dec. 25, the 30-day refund period starts Dec. 26.

Macy’s accepts items with a receipt for a full refund, regardless of the original purchase date. Without a receipt, Macy’s can look up the information with an account number or customer return label. If you don’t have a proof of purchase, Macy’s will give you store credit for the item’s lowest selling price within the last 180 days.

Best Buy says gifts purchased between Nov. 4 and Dec. 24 qualify for their Holiday Return and Exchange policy and may be returned until Jan. 24. The original receipt, gift receipt or packing slip is required for all returns and exchanges. If returning or exchanging an item in a Best Buy store, a valid photo ID is also required. Carrier contracts for mobile phones and other third-party service providers do not qualify for the holiday gift policy. Geek Squad Protection/Trade-In Plus plans returned after 30 days from date of purchase will be refunded at a pro-rated amount. There are no restocking fees. Opened computer software, movies, music and video games can be exchanged for the identical item but cannot be returned for a refund

Toys “R” Us accepts returns made within 90 days of purchase for most items when accompanied by an in-store receipt. Items must be returned in new, or like-new, condition, and in their original packaging with all paperwork including manuals, assembly instructions and an in-store receipt, as well as all accessories to ensure full credit. Pre-recorded movies and music, computer and videogame software, and trading cards; must be returned in their original, sealed and unopened packages along with an in-store receipt or online packing slip for refund. If the packages have been opened, the items may only be exchanged for the identical items or titles.

At Kohl’s, whether a gift was purchased in store or online, just bring the item and your gift receipt to the Customer Service Desk of any Kohl's store near you. If your gift arrived by mail from Kohl's, you can return it by mail. Simply fill out the Return form that accompanied your purchase, pack the merchandise and receipt into a sturdy box and apply the supplied return label. Please send all shipments prepaid and include all merchandise tags. If you don’t have a receipt, you can still return your item for a merchandise credit towards anything in the store.

Have you had an easy time returning gifts? What can stores do to make the return experience easier and less stressful?

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