Some stores have more generous return policies for goods purchased at holiday time. Checking the store's website, calling its customer service line or visiting the local store directly are the best ways to determine if a gift can be returned or not.
Retailers are less likely to take back items that are damaged or have missing tags or packaging. For example, Amazon will not accept returns of items that are missing the serial number or UPC square on the box. Best Buy and Circuit City charge a 15% restocking fee on some electronic items if the box has been opened; however, consumers should not have to pay that fee if the item was defective when it was unwrapped.
Having the receipt will likely ensure that a consumer receives credit for the item's full value. Without a receipt, a retailer may only credit a consumer with the lowest recent price or simply deny the return altogether.
Some stores will take back items that were purchased online or over the phone. Consumers opting to return items via mail should make sure they have the correct address specified by the retailer.
Some retailers monitor returns. If a consumer's return is inexplicably denied, it may have been incorrectly flagged by a store's computer as "return fraud." Consumers might be able to resolve the matter by e-mailing the Return Exchange, a company that monitors returns for retailers, here.
More info from Consumer Reports.
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