Holiday refunds and exchanges: What you need to know

Holiday refunds and exchanges: What you need to know

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ATLANTA -

Holiday shopping season is here, and lots of people are already well on their way to finishing that list.  But if you start too early, there can be a downside, and it's all about the ability to return a gift later.  

Retailers have different return policies.  Sometimes one store will even have a variety of refund rules.  It just depends on what you buy.  So you should ask yourself: If I buy a gift early, can the recipient return it in the new year?

Big retailers tend to do what Walmart is doing: If you buy a gift between November 1 and December 24, the return clock doesn't start until the day after Christmas.  But still, no matter where you shop, you should ask about the policy.  As Mike Boynton with the Atlanta Better Business Bureau said, retailers don't have to take returns. In the state of Georgia, that's a service that's offered by a retailer.

First, you should establish that they have a return policy.  Then, go through this list of questions:

If it's an electronics item, is there a restocking fee?

Will a return only be accepted in the original packaging?

Can it be returned at another store location?

Can the gift be refunded or just exchanged?

Often times, the policy is written on the receipt, but you should always keep the receipt regardless for a few reasons.  You may need it down the road to verify payment or for warranty repairs.

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