Store Return Policy Gets Stricter This Christmas

Store return policy will be stricter this Christmas as stores finish a bad year and try to fight fraud. Find out why a receipt return is more important than ever and how to make any gift return smoother.

Store Return Policy Overview:

Store return policy often became more flexible during past holidays. This year, only 28% of retailers plan to be more flexible compared to over 52% in previous years according to a survey by the National Retail Federation. The survey also found that 16% of retailers plan to tighten their store return policy this Christmas.

Receipt Return:

Its easiest to make a gift return if you have the receipt. Make sure that your gift recipients get a gift receipt. Some stores will not take any return without a receipt. Without a receipt return, you may also risk getting the current post-holiday marked down price instead of the higher price you really paid.

Other Gift Return Advice:

Before any purchase, check the website terms or ask for details about the store return policy. Find out whether its cash, store credit or exchange; whether its receipt return only; time limits; and any penalties including restocking fees. Check if you can return online purchases to the nearest physical location. Electronic and computer items are especially likely to have a limited return window and restocking fees of 15% or more. If you plan a gift return, try to keep the package sealed and keep all the original packaging.

Sample Store Return Policy:

According to Consumer Reports, the best store return policy can be found at Wal-Mart (90 days with some restrictions); Kohls (no advertised limits, a no receipt return is eligible for store credit); Kmart, and Nordstrom. Ross Stores also has a good receipt return policy offering full refunds for 30 days. Target was found to be the most improved for now offering a limited no receipt return policy for refund or exchanges within 90 days with some restrictions. Home Depot has a limited 90 day return policy and reserves the right to limit or refuse returns anytime. Office Depot has a 14 day limit and offers exchanges only for electronics. Best Buy has a 15% restocking fee on opened electronics. Burlington Coat Factory usually offers store credit not refunds.

Bottom line, its better to give than to return. A prompt receipt return with an unopened package gives you the best chance for a smooth gift return.

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