Stores tweak return policies for holidays

40% of people expect to return at least one gift

It’s the thought that counts, but 40% of people Consumer Reports surveyed say they’ll probably return at least one gift this holiday season.

Increased online shopping may increase those odds.

To save your recipients the hassle, it helps to check the return policy before you buy.

“Every retailer has their own policy, but many extend the window through the end of January, effectively giving recipients a month to return or exchange once they’ve gotten their gift,” said Consumer Reports’ Samantha Gordon.

Here are a few:

Walmart is allowing most purchases made between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31 to be returned until Jan. 31.

If you buy electronics or entertainment items at Target, there is a Jan. 24 deadline for most of those returns. Apple products are an exception, as most of those need to be returned by Jan. 8.

At Best Buy, make returns by Jan. 13.

Holiday gifts you buy from Amazon will need to be returned by Jan. 31. But, be aware, some third party sellers may have different windows and may not be as return-friendly.

“If you’re not sure you’ll keep a gift, – don’t remove tags or rip the box! You might incur a restocking fee, which could be up to 15% of what you paid, if the packaging isn’t intact – that’s especially common for electronics,” Gordon said.

And, save those gift receipts. That will make the process simpler, but even if you don’t have one, you can still ask for a refund or store credit.

Gift cards are a popular gift, but even those can sometimes miss the mark. They can’t be returned, but many charities welcome the donation.

About the Author

Marilyn Moritz is an award-winning journalist dedicated to digging up information that can make people’s lives a little bit better. As KSAT’S 12 On Your Side Consumer reporter, she focuses on exposing scams and dangerous products and helping people save money.

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