If you’re like many people, you received at least one gift this year that you didn’t want or can’t use. Before you go to the store or online for a refund or exchange, the Federal Trade Commission has some tips to help things go more smoothly:
Check on return and exchange policies. You can usually find them on the back of sales/gift receipts, at the store, and on the seller’s website. Be aware: merchants often have different refund and return policies for sale items, especially clearance merchandise. For items purchased online, check to see if the seller has a storefront that lets you make in-person returns and exchanges.
Bring your ID: Even if you have a receipt, some stores require a driver’s license or other government-issued ID.
Ask about fees: Some merchants charge a restocking fee – often 15 percent or more of the purchase price – for returns of electronics and big-ticket items.
Keep items in their original packaging. Products like computer software and DVDs generally aren’t returnable once their packaging has been opened, unless they’re defective.
Digital gifts. Refund and exchange policies for e-books, downloadable games, software, apps, and digital music and video services vary by seller. For example, some will exchange an e-book for a gift card, as long as you haven’t downloaded the book. Others require the purchaser to request refunds for e-books and music subscriptions. Most sellers generally don’t allow returns for downloadable games, software, or apps.
Ask to speak with a manager. If you have trouble returning or exchanging a gift, ask to speak with a manager or visit customer service.
For more tips, visit Money & Credit.