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Friday, December 26, 2008

Smarty Guide to Return Policies

By Tracy S, VP of Mommyhood and Expert Working Mom, CharlotteSmartyPants

If you’re like me, you shop high and low for just the perfect gift. I really pride myself on trying to come up with the best gift idea for each and every person on my Christmas list (sometimes it can get pretty stressful, though). And there is just no way anyone would ever want to exchange it for something else! But the reality is, holiday gift returns are almost inevitable! Especially if you’re inundated with Speed Racer cars because that is the ONLY thing your 4-year old has asked for this year!

So, I’ve tried to put together a smarty guide on return policies at some of the more popular stores. The biggest thing is GIFT RECIEPTS! I know, I know … we all hate gift receipts! Especially when you’re super smarty and get a great deal on something – that should be your little secret, right? Unfortunately, so many retailers have migrated to the “lets make it impossible to return anything” theory and pretty much mandate one. So, if a gift receipt is enclosed, it makes returning something super easy. And in most cases, if it’s not … well, consider regifting at a white elephant party next year?!

Return Policies have gotten so detailed and vary widely by store so rather than bog down the blog, I’ve provided a link to each specific return policy.

While none of us like Target’s return policy, it’s really hard to boycott their store. I did however discover a couple of super smarty tips, though! Gift receipts actually are printed with a bar code that covers your entire purchase. You can request as many print outs of that one receipt – just ask for as many as you need when you check out. And if you forgot to get one … you can even bring your receipt back at any time and request one then. That’s one thing that annoys me with other stores is that if you forget to ask for one when they first start checking you out, you’re out of luck!

I don’t shop often at Wal-Mart, but I think they are actually one of the easiest places to return things. Unless they’ve tightened their policy, they pretty much take anything back.

Best Buy
For qualifying gift purchases made between November 1 and December 24, 2008, returns can be made through January 24, 2009.

Circuit City
Caution! Some of the Circuit City stores are closing. If you purchase a liquidation item, it cannot be returned. I called one of the stores not closing and they confirmed that they follow the standard return policy listed here. I would still be cautious though …
Items purchased between November 2, 2008, and December 24, 2008, can be returned in-store or by mail through January 31, 2009.

Toys R Us

Babies R Us
Babies R Us just recently changed their return policy – very frustrating because you used to be able to very easily return or exchange duplicate gifts but now you have to have a gift receipt or it has to be on your registry.
Items shipped between November 1 and December 31, 2008, may be returned until January 31, 2009 for a full refund.

Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic

Do you have any experiences with returning gifts or super smarty tips to share?


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