By DON DARE 6 On Your Side Consumer Investigator
KNOXVILLE (WATE) - By now the stores have closed and the mad dash for that perfect Christmas gift is over. But what if it isn't so perfect and you have to return it?
There are some things you need to keep in mind when it comes to returning gifts.
Be prepared to have company on the big Christmas gift return day - Wednesday.
The group that keeps these records, The National Retail Federation, says one out of three Americans returned at least one Christmas gift last year. Hunter Hatcher has some tips for anyone who wants to return a gift."As long as you hold onto your receipt, you're in good shape usually," Hatcher said.
If you don't, Hatcher says, some stores are more cooperative than others.
Hatcher is right. It's important to hold onto that receipt. Many retailers will post their return and exchange policies.
"Since I am a professional shopper, I try to be aware of what the return policies are," said shopper Cayra Kirkpatrick.Kirkpatrick is spot on. Return policies can vary from allowing a refund without a receipt to allowing no returns at all. Each store can establish its own return policy, as long as you can see the rule. If returns are not allowed, it has to be conspicuously disclosed at the time of purchase. To avoid hassles during the return process, go back to the store of purchase with a receipt or a gift receipt. If you can, make sure to bring the original packaging along with tags. If the return is an electronics item, be prepared to be charged a restocking fee. For online returns, check to see if the merchant will pay for shipping. Many online retailers will include mailing labels or have a way for you to print them out from websites or emails. Now, if you're returning CDs, DVD's, Blu-ray discs, and video games, they must be returned unopened. If they're been opened but are defective, they may be exchanged for the same title. Clothing, shoes, and accessories must be returned unworn and remember to bring along the original invoice. And finally, at many stores most items can be returned within 90 days of when you receive them, but it's best to check first.
If you have a consumer issue, call the 6 On Your Side Hotline at 865-633-5974 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.