2011 Holiday Return Policies
The holiday season –- along with the upcoming post-holiday sales season –- means that consumers are in prime shopping mode. As you stock up on computers, TVs, and handbags for yourself and your friends and family, keep abreast of the different holiday return policies in case you (or the person you gave a gift to) realizes that the item wasn’t quite right.
For a list of popular stores and their return policies, check out this article by Denver News.
Holiday return policies run the spectrum, from the very lenient to all-sales-final. Stores may offer special holiday return policies in addition to their regular return periods. Amazon.com, for example, allows items shipped between November 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011 to be returned until January 12, 2012.
Big box stores and retail chains typically have the best policies. Costco has one of the friendliest policies around -– you can return any item, with the exception of electronics, at any time for a full refund. Televisions, projectors, computers, cameras, camcorders, touch screen tablets, MP3 players and cellular phones have a 90-day return period.
To ensure that I have an easy return or exchange experience, here are four tips:
Read the receipt carefully to know what your return deadline date is. Be sure to look for any exceptions or special conditions that apply to certain items. For example, many apparel stores require the tag to be attached to formal dress or cocktail dress when you return the item. That is to prevent people from buying the dress, wearing it for a day or two, and then returning it for a full refund.
Don’t throw away the receipt or gift receipt. Many stores will not give you a refund if you do not have a receipt, and may provide only store credit. With a receipt, you are guaranteed to receive the price you had paid even if the item is later discounted within the return period.
Keep the tag with the original price and barcode. If you cut off the tag or peel off the barcode sticker, keep them aside just in case. I have had a few instances of dress regret, but having the original tag helped me to a smooth return process.
Be careful you don't end up on retailers' black lists. Too many returns within a short period of time may put you on a "black list" of problem consumers. If that happens, you may encounter more hassles processing returns or even been denied returns.