Be prepared when making holiday returns

Retailers prepare for returns, exchanges

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Black Friday and the days before Christmas are hectic, but the day after Christmas is also one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

At Belk in North Augusta, all employees, including 20 seasonal workers, are scheduled today to accommodate customers, Manager Stella Northington said. Belk will not have special lines for returns.

“We’ll just take care of them at the register as they come,” Northington said.

At Sears in Augusta Mall, store Manager Stanley Wilson emphasized the importance of bringing receipts or gift receipts when making returns.

“Some things go on sale as the holiday progresses,” Wilson said. “They diminish in price the closer you get to Christmas. So if you pay $29.99 for a sweater, today or tomorrow the same sweater could be $19.99. Without a receipt or proof of purchase, our system would default to the lowest price.”

For the holidays, Walmart has adjusted its return policy for items that usually have a limited return or exchange period of 15 or 30 days, said Kayla Whaling, a Walmart spokeswoman. For items purchased between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24, the limited return period will begin today.

Limited return items include televisions, cameras, computers, DVDs and music players. Televisions have a 30-day return policy, so sets purchased during that period can be returned within 30 days, starting today. For most other items, Walmart will accept returns within 90 days after purchase, though there are some exceptions, Whaling said.

“We do accept returns without a receipt. We give our customers the option of a refund, if that purchase is under $25, or a gift card, if it’s over $25,” Whaling said.

Sears also will offer an extended holiday return policy, said Kimberly Freely, a spokeswoman for Sears Holdings Corp. Most items made from Nov. 13 to Dec. 10 will have an extended return period of up to 120 days from the date of purchase. Fine jewelry, consumer electronics, mattresses and some other categories will have an extended return period of 60 days. Computers will have an extended return period of 30 days, she said.

At Kmart, all returns and exchanges require a receipt dated within 90 days of purchase. Merchandise must be in the original packaging and contain all accessories. Some items can’t be returned if they have been opened, Freely said.

At Toys R Us, customers can make returns within 90 days of buying most items with a receipt or online packing slip, said Katie Reczek, the manager of corporate communications at Toys R Us Inc. Some items must be returned within 45 days, however, including computer software, DVDs, music, electronics, radio-control items, trading cards, and video games, accessories and systems.

For two weeks after Christmas, Toys R Us will allow returns of items purchased outside of the usual 90-day window, she said.

Customers who participate in the Rewards R Us program can make returns or exchanges without a receipt.

Kohl’s has a “hassle-free return policy,” in which customers may return an item at any time for any reason, with or without a receipt, said Vicki Shamion, the senior vice president of public and community relations for Kohl’s Department Stores.


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