Receipts key for speedy gift returns

By Matt Butner - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The day after Christmas is all about the three R's: receipts, returns and refunds.

Stores will be packed with people returning unwanted gifts.

If you're going to be one of them, there are a few things, to keep in mind.

For any return, there's one important piece of paper that will make things a whole lot easier.

"Receipts will always get you credit at a store, will always get you to be able to return the items," said K-Mart manager Eric Kelsey. "I can't stress it enough: receipts, receipts, receipts."

An original receipt will usually get you cash back.

If a relative or friend has included a gift receipt with your unwanted present, that will most often get you an even exchange or store credit.

No receipt at all means no return in many places, while some major retailers will still work with you if you show up paperless.

Another key to a smooth return is to try to bring back items in their original packaging, and make sure you have all the parts.

"If it's a TV, the remote, the manual; if it's a game system like a Wii, the controller that comes with it," said Kelsey.

You'll want to return things as soon as you can, because there are time limits on most returns -- and after the New Year when prices go down, you may get less in exchange.

This year, the day after Christmas falls on a Saturday, which could mean a long wait at the customer service counter.

"There are going to be lines for returns," said Kelsey. "The more prepared you are with receipts and packaging, the easier your experience is going to be."

It's also a good idea to call or go online to check a store's return policy before you head out the door.

Consider leaving the packaging unopened -- and don't remove the tags on clothes, until you're sure you want to keep them.

Most retailers have adopted stricter, return, policies, in recent years.

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