If you're not happy about a certain gift, or that new gadget doesn't work, remember three things. "Keep the receipt. Oftentimes, you're getting gifts from someone else so hopefully the person who bought the gift has a receipt in hand. Also, have the original packaging in case you're thinking about making the return," says Marty Mack, A Deputy NYS Attorney General.
"The most important thing is what is the store's policy, and stores are required to post their return policy. You should read the detail and the fine print." If a store doesn't post a policy, a store must accept a return for refund up to 30 days after a sale, NOT when you receive it.
Mack says that doesn't mean you shouldn't speak up. "If you feel they're giving the runaround, ask to speak to the manager," says Mack. "It's dollars coming out of your pockets and a lot of expenditures are made at Christmas. It's important to protect what you've paid for."
Here's a list of changed return policies this year:
Below are some chains with generous regular or holiday return deadlines for purchases made in their brick and mortar locations, unless otherwise stated:
|Amazon.com||Jan. 31 for most items shipped 11/01 thru 12/31. Restocking fees: 50% on open DVDs, CDs; minimum 50% of price for incomplete/used items; 100% for open software.|
|Best Buy||January 15 for most purchases Nov. 3 on.|
|Buy.com||February 15 for goods purchased November 25 to December 31.|
|Costco||No deadline, but 90 days: TVs, computers, cameras, MP3 players, cellphones, projectors.|
|Macy's stores||No deadline, but furniture (3 days), mattresses (60). Receipt or return label gets price paid.|
|Marshalls||January 7 for purchases Oct. 20 - Dec. 8. This retailer posted clear in-store signs about its extended holiday return policy.|
|Overstock.com||January 31 for most items purchased Nov. 1 or later. Fees apply if opened, used, or late.|
|Sears||90/60/30 days depending on item; January 24 deadline for most 30/60 day items purchased Nov. 17 on; Report certain damaged goods within 72 hours or no refund; Even exchange only on some open items; 15% restocking fee on electronics missing parts; mattresses, etc.|
|Staples||No deadline for office supplies. January 11 for electronics & furniture bought since Nov. 24.|
|TJ Maxx||January 7 for purchases Oct. 20 - Dec. 8. This retailer posted clear in-store signs about its extended holiday return policy.|
|Target||90 days most items, except 30 days for computers (laptops, eReaders, tablets), cameras, game consoles, gps, more, but 30 days begins 12/26 for purchases since 11/1. May deny refund for opened items or those without a receipt.|
|Toys-R-Us||January 25 (or 90 days) for most items, but January 9 (or 30 days) for certain electronics.|
|Walmart stores||90 days most items. For purchases made from November 1 on, 15 days (PCs, cameras, GPS, more), 30 days (garden, compressors, more) but count days starting December 26.|
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