The sweater didn’t fit right, the color was all wrong. You already have a singing bass on a plaque and the “Puppies in a Basket” throw pillow—gifts received and much appreciated—are not quite right in your mid-century modern pad.
For whatever reason, if you need to return a gift, follow these simple tips to make sure all your returns are happy.
Try to get the receipt
Things will go more smoothly if you can get the gift receipt from the giver.
Sure the singing bass cost $98 before Christmas, but if it’s marked down to $8.13, assume that’s the amount you’ll get in return.
Return the item in its original packaging
It should look exactly the way you received it. Points deducted for any signs you actually wore the sweater.
Make the choice
You may get a choice between a greatly reduced value in cash, or the full value in store credit. Take the credit.
Take the right card
If it’s a gift you bought (chartreuse? what were you thinking?!) make sure you have the original credit card you used for the purchase. You’ll be getting a credit back to that card, not cash.
Really nice, thoughtful, kind and cordial. Store personnel are often given discretion on how they handle a return. Just imagine how they might choose to respond to a real jerk.
Time your trip
Figure out what time of day is the busiest in that store and then don’t even think about showing up then. Frazzled employees are not always in the mood to deal generously. Go instead when they’re fresh and friendly.
Do your homework
Know the retailer’s return policy and guidelines ahead of time. Take Amazon for example:
If you want to return a gift that you bought or you received that was purchased through Amazon, the steps are very specific and quite user-friendly—whether you made the purchase or it’s a gift you received that was purchased by someone else at Amazon. Just make sure that you follow these step-by-step instructions.
You may return most new, unopened items sold and fulfilled by Amazon within 30 days of delivery for a full refund. During the holidays, items shipped by Amazon between November 1 and December 31 can be returned until January 31.
Whether you purchased the gift or you received this gift, you will need the 17-digit order number (or “Order ID”) found on the left side of the packing slip or gift receipt. If you don’t have the packing slip, contact the Online Returns Center. They will ask for information to help them locate the order, such as the sender’s name, their e-mail address, their phone number, and information about the item you wish to return.
Rule of thumb: If you can’t get cash, opt for store credit. If you can’t get credit, try for an exchange. And if the clerk insists on obeying that 9-foot sign posted at the check-out that screams Absolutely No Refunds, Exchanges or Credit … EVER, don’t panic.
Remember there’s always regifting.