BBB gives tips on holiday gift returns, exchanges

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BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Didn’t get what you wanted for Christmas and need to return it? The Better Business Bureau of South Central Louisiana shares a handful of tips to make returning items easier.

Holiday gift return and exchange tips from the BBB:

Get to know store policies. Before you make a purchase, find out if the store has a return policy and, if so, how it works. Understand that many retailers change their policies for the holiday season. If the store does allow returns or exchanges, find out if you will need to pay a restocking fee. Ask the seller if they offer cash refunds, exchanges, or only store credit. Store policies are usually posted at the check-out counter or printed on the back of receipts.

Understand online store return policies. If you are shopping online, search for the seller’s return policy and read it through before clicking “buy.” Find out if they accept returns or exchanges, and who pays the shipping when an item is returned. In some cases, you can save on shipping fees by returning an online purchase to the local brick-and-mortar store.

Get the details on a product’s warranty. Most electronics and home appliances come with warranties that are to be fulfilled with the manufacturer, not the retailer. Find out how returns and repairs are handled if an item stops working or needs replacement parts. Will the retailer ship the item to the manufacturer for you? Or will you need to deal with the manufacturer directly? Knowing the answers will leave you well-prepared for any future issues.

Keep your receipt and packaging. Most stores will only accept returns and exchanges if you can present the item with its receipt and original packaging. Always include a gift receipt with items you give, and hold on to any gift receipts you receive.

Bring your ID. To avoid holiday return scams, many stores ask to see your ID when you return an item. Sometimes retailers require you to bring your ID and the original form of payment. If this is the policy of the store where your gift is from, you may need the assistance of the gift giver in order to be reimbursed.

Make returns in a timely fashion. Almost all return policies are valid during a specific time period. Some stores modify their return period during the holidays, so don’t risk missing your chance to make your return. Take the item back to the store without delay.

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