Utimate Guide To Returning Gifts

With the holiday shopping season in full swing, it’s easy to focus on the gift you are about to give and receive, but you may want to begin thinking about the gifts you will receive and then return.

It happens every year: you get a gift from a friend or family member that you just don’t need or want. It’s important to remember the following tips for gift returning.

  1. Keep receipts. If you are looking to return something, having a receipt makes everything easier. Some stores won’t even consider letting you return something without  a receipt, so make sure you are utilizing gift receipts this holiday season. If you are giving gifts, make sure to request a gift receipt when you are checking out at the store and include it with the gift. If you are receiving a gift, you may feel uncomfortable asking for a gift receipt. Because gift receipts can be so helpful, though, you might want to drop a few hints to your gift-giver, like, “Oh I have a sweater just like this that I just bought.” Or, “I’m allergic to this kind of fabric!” Just be careful: you don’t want to have them get offended or offer to take the gift back themselves.
  2. Keep proofs of purchase and clothing tag intact. When a proof of purchase is damage or when the tags on clothing are removed, you may seriously reduce your chances of returning an item. In the case of clothing, retailers have become more wary of people buying clothes, wearing them and then returning them, so they may not want to give you a return on an item without tags.
  3. Be prepared. It’s important to know what a store’s policy is on returns before you go into the store. Most larger stores print return policies on their receipts, and most have their policies accessible on their websites. If you don’t like the policy or feel like you might qualify for an exception to the policy, it can be worth it to make your argument to a sales clerk or manager.
  4. Don’t become a serial returner. If you return too many items, many stores have policies that can block you from making more returns. This is to prevent people from committing fraud against the store, so be careful if you are returning a lot of items to a particular store or chain.
  5. Beware of restocking fees. Many items, especially computer software and hardware and musical instruments have restocking fees. If you return the item, a store may hit with you with up to 25% of the cost of the item so that it can be restocked.
  6. Never give in. Though policies may be written down, it is often possible to have sales clerks or managers issue an exception to a policy, either to be nice or because they are not fully aware of the store’s policies. If you think you have a legitimate claim to return an item, offering your side of the story never hurt any one. Many stores want to keep their customers happy and may become flexible if you are polite and present your argument effectively. If you are unable to return an item, it may be possible to get store credit as a compromise.

Long lines as people try to return gifts

Be Careful About Restocking Fees

Many people that are signing up for Shoeboxed ask about returns and exchanges. If you have a scanned copy of a receipt that is printed out from Shoeboxed, is that going to cut it when you go in to return or exchange something? There may be some exceptions, but the very large majority of retailers will accept a scanned copy of a receipt as long as it is readable and the bar code is not compromised in any way. We’ve never had any one complain about taking in a Shoeboxed receipt and not having it accepted.

There are some things that you do want to make sure in general with returns, though. One is the elusive restocking fee. Some stores charge you when you return an item for what it costs them to restock it. This can be up to 15%, which is a pretty penny if the item is over a few hundred dollars.

I wanted to post an email here that has been around on a couple of other places on the Internet about Best Buy’s restocking fee policy. Just wanted to let you know about these policies so you can be a smart shopper! Shoeboxed had nothing to do with the content, and doesn’t endorse the rant necessarily. Just wanted you to see it :).

Best Buy has some bad policies…. If you purchase something from, Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, JC Penny, Sears, etc., and you return the item with the receipt, they will give you your money back if you paid cash or credit your account if paid by plastic.

I purchased a GPS for my car, a Tom Tom XLS from “Best Buy”. They have a policy that it must be returned within 14 days for a refund!

So after 4 days, I returned it in the original box with all the items in the box, with paper work and cords all wrapped in the plastic just as I received it, including the receipt.

I explained to the lady at the return desk I did not like the way it could not find store names. The lady at the refund desk said there is a 15% restock fee for items returned.

I said no one told me that. I said how much would that be. She said it goes by the price of the item. It will be $45.00 dollars for you. I said all you’re going to do is walk over and place it back on the shelf then charge me $45.00 of my money for restocking? She said that’s the store policy.

I said if more people were aware of it, they would not buy anything here! If I bought a $2000.00 computer or TV and returned it, I would be charged $300.00 dollars restock fee? She said yes.

I said OK, just give me my money minus the restock fee. She said since the item is over $200.00 dollars, she can’t give me my money back!!! Corporate has to and they will mail you a check in 7 to ten days!!

I said “WHAT?!” It’s my money!! I paid in cash! I want to buy a different brand. Now, I have to wait 7 to 10 days. She said, “Well, our policy is on the back of your receipt.”

I said, do you read the front or back of your receipt? She said well, the front! I said so do I. I want to talk to the Manager! So the manager comes over. I explained everything to him and he said, well, sir, they should have told you about the policy when you got the item.

I said, “No one has ever told me about the check refund or restock fee. Whenever I bought items from computers to TVs from Best Buy, the only thing they ever discussed was the worthless extended warranty program.”

He said, “Well, I can give you corporate phone number. “I called corporate. The guy said, well, I’m not supposed to do this but I can give you a 45.00 dollar gift card and you can use it at Best Buy. I told him if I bought something and returned it, you would charge me a restock fee on the item. You can keep your gift card, I’m never shopping in Best Buy ever again, and if I would have been smart, I would have charged the whole thing on my credit card! Then I would have canceled the transaction. I would have gotten all my money back including your stupid fees! He didn’t say a word!

I informed him that I was going to e-mail my friends and give them a heads up on this stores policy, as they don’t tell you about all the little caveats.

So please pass this on. It may save your friends from having a bad experience of shopping at Best Buy.