If you’re like a lot of people, you got at least one gift this year that you didn’t want or can’t use. Before you head to the store or go online for a refund or exchange, the FTC has a few tips to help things go more smoothly.
- Check on return and exchange policies. You can usually find themon 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.
- Take your receipts. Having the original receipt or a gift receipt usually makes things easier, and improves your chances of getting a full refund or exchange. Without a receipt, you’ll probably only get a store credit for the lowest recent sale price.
- 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.