Complete Guide to Holiday Gift Returns

Shopping Savings
on December 26, 2012

The day after Christmas is usually the busiest time for customer service and item return desks. Many people appreciate the gifts their loved ones give them, but sometimes, it is just necessary to return an item. Perhaps, it is a clothing item that doesn’t fit or it is an electronic that does not work.

Knowing when any why to return an item is an important part of staying on top of your finances. You should never own something that you do not plan on using in some way. However, returning items can huge headache. Most consumers don’t read the return policy on their favorite stores, making for even greater frustrations when they learn their item is non refundable. Here is a short guide for Christmas returns.

The receipt

As a general rule, you always want to keep your receipt. Most stores will only give you store credit if you cannot provide them with a proof of purchase. That is also why it is a good practice to always keep gift receipts when you are giving gifts.

If your Christmas item did not come with a receipt and you need to return it, you have a couple options:

1. You could try politely asking the giver if he or she kept the receipt and explain why you must return the item.

2. Try taking the item to the store of origin and returning it for store credit.

Different policies

You should know the return policies for your favorite stores. This will save you time and frustration. Here are two stores and their policies that you may not have known about.


    • You can only return three items without a receipt within a 45-day period
    • Most items are returnable in 90 days
    • Air beds and electronics must be returned within 15 days with package and receipt
    • Lawn mowers, weed eaters, swimming pools, chainsaws, air conditioners, power washers, compressors, and generators need to be returned within a 30-day period with the receipt.
    • Video games must be returned unopened and with a receipt unless they are defective. Defective games may be returned within 90 days with receipt and package. They may be exchanged for another game of the same title.


    • Almost all unopened items returned within 90 days will be eligible for refund or exchange
    • Opened music, games, and movies cannot be refunded but may be exchanged for the same title
    • Opened or defective collectibles, such as die-cast cars, Barbies, sports cards, etc. may not be returned
    • Other electronics must be returned within 30 days
    • Redcard holders will receive an additional 30 days for nearly all items that were purchased with that card
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