What to expect when returning a gift

With Christmas revelers planning to descend on stores to return ill-fitting or unwanted gifts, store managers offer this advice about returning merchandise:


Q: What's the best time to return a gift?

A: Go early in the morning because it gets much more hectic later in the day. Many stores require you to return a gift within 90 days of purchasing it.

Q: What's the best way to return a gift?

A: Have the receipt. That guarantees you'll get all of your money back. A spokesman for Target suggests including the receipt when you buy a present for someone.

Q: What if you don't have the receipt?

A: The gift can still be returned. If it was purchased with a credit card, presenting that card when you return the gift should let most stores verify the purchase.

Q: What if there is no receipt, and the gift was paid for with cash or a credit card you don't have access to?

A: Most stores will still allow you to return the gift, but they won't give you cash back or credit the money to your credit card.

The store will allow you to exchange something for another item, or give you a gift card that allows you to purchase something else from the store.

If you can't prove how much you paid for the item, you might not get all of your money back.

It's also best to leave the tags on the gift to prove the item came from that store.

Q: Is it a bad idea to buy gifts with cash?

A: If you pay with cash, keep the receipt.

Q: What if you bought a present with a gift card and want to return it?

A: Keeping the receipt is still the best option. Most stores will not give you cash back. They will give you another gift card, or credit your existing gift card.

It's also a good idea to keep the actual gift card, even if there is no longer any money on it.