How to return and exchange your unwanted gifts or purchases

How to return and exchange your unwanted gifts or purchases

Everyone returns a impulse gift or purchase now and then. It may not respond. It may not suit your taste. Maybe you ordered something on a whim (or you blew up an awful deal) and now you regret the buyer. Or maybe you are just reading a book praising the virtues of minimalism and want to give that lifestyle a swing. Whether it's great gifts from friends or your Amazon Prime urgent orders, the good news is that you can easily return items.

Whatever your logic for returning something, you are not alone. The National Retail Alliance estimates that approximately $ 428 billion worth of U.S. goods will be returned in 2022, accounting for about 10 percent of total sales. Around the holiday season, about two-thirds of donors return an item.

“Consumers are very used to being able to return their products,” said Larisa Summers, senior vice president of marketing and e-commerce at Optoro, a platform that helps retailers like Target and Staples reduce costs. return returned goods. "I think a lot of buyers are not aware of how complicated that is for retailers."

You might think that returned goods are restocked on the shelf where they came from, but Summers said this only happens about half the time. At other times, the returned goods will be sold to other sellers - or worse, discarded. Optoro estimates that 5 billion pounds of returned items come to landfill each year.

So if you are going to return gifts or buy a holiday, do it in a quick and steady way. Being wise about results brings out the best gift of all: a home and a not-so-neat planet.

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Updated December 2022: Much of our advice on how to return is still there; we have added a few vendors and updated return policies.

The basics

First things first: You have more time than you think. While the usual year-round policy is “30 days after the time of purchase”, most retailers change the return date around shopping holidays until they get back. We also saw regular return policies extended due to Covid-19 chronic pandemic.

Make sure you pack your item with all tags, decorations, and original packaging if possible. If you are not exchanging a defective product, make sure your item is in good condition. It is much easier to return goods in their original packaging and in original condition for resale, Summers said. Without the original package, there is a higher chance of the items being thrown away.

Take your disposal too, especially if it's a gift disposal. In general, doing so makes it easier and less likely to get cash or storage credit for your return. Some stores will work with you to gather order information if you have lost your receipt. At other retailers, you will be out of good luck. Some stores require you to show them an ID, so be sure to bring that with you.

Summers encourages you to state why you are returning a product. Retailers take this kind of attention back, as it helps them reduce production for the next year.

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