Christmas return policies vary … but have become stricter at some stores
Due to the crazy sales this holiday season, reports are that there will be nearly $50 BILLION in gifts returned this week. So, if you got a toy you already have or simply want to return your Christmas gifts for something else, it pays to familiarize yourself with the return policies of the stores from which your gift came from.
And stores are being more narrow this year in their return policies in an effort to keep shoppers from getting their money back. The National Retail Federation estimates that 13% of stores tightened the rules for certain merchandise- especially electronics like cameras, cell phones, and personal computers, and stores like Target, Sears and Wal-Mart have made their return periods shorter, and many will try and give you a gift card to encourage you to buy something else.
Target, for example, has cut their return window in half, from 90 to 45 days for all returns, rather than just videogames, DVDs, and electronics. And all items must be in original packaging – unopened and sealed. Walmart, drastically cut returns to 15 days for cameras and other electronics. If your toy was bought online at Amazon, you may return most new, unopened items sold and fulfilled by Amazon.com within 30 days of delivery for a full refund, which usually takes about 2-3 weeks (although most refunds are fully refunded in 3-5 days after receipt and processing). Toys R Us seems to have the most liberal return policy with most items falling under a 90 day return period, but there are exceptions: Video Games, Accessories, and Systems, Computer Software, DVDs, Music, Electronics, Radio-Control Items, Trading Cards, Collectibles all must be returned within 45 days.
And if you don’t bring along a receipt or gift receipt, you will be stuck with the lowest current price or gift card, rather than get exactly what was paid for the gift you are returning. Other tips include – use the right credit card when processing a return, if bought on plastic, watch out for restocking fees – especially on electronics (usually about 10-15%), and be mindful of the windows for returns as they can vary from store to store.
For a list or return policies, check out this article by ABCNews.