The holidays often bring a surge in consumer spending with gift giving, but what if you need to return something you received? It’s a good idea to know some common post-holiday return policies so that you’re not caught by surprise when you go to take something back to a store. Here are some common things to know when returning a gift you received over the holidays.
Most Retailers Give You More Time Than Usual for Returns
Most major retailers extend their usual 30-day return policies over the holidays. For example, Amazon allows returns for a full refund through January 31, 2019 for any item shipped between November 1 and December 31, 2018. You’ll still have to follow any other return guidelines Amazon has, like when you buy from a third-party, there could be different return guidelines.
Target usually allows returns on most unopened items if they’re returned in new condition within 90 days of purchase. Some items have a modified return policy, which is noted on the receipt. Target extends the holiday policy on electronics and Apple® products over the holidays: All electronics and entertainment items purchased between November 1 and December 25 have a 30-day return period beginning on December 26. All Apple products — excluding mobile phones — must be returned within 15 days (like with the electronics items, the window for anything purchased from November 1 and December 25 will begin on December 26).
Walmart’s holiday return policy also extends the return period to begin on December 26 for any item purchased between October 28 and December 25, so if something has a 15-day return policy, it can be returned for a refund until January 10 (and with 20 days, shoppers have until January 25).
Many major retailers follow these big players, but you’ll want to read the fine print around the retailer of your specific gift to be sure. If you don’t have a receipt at all, then you might need to ask for one (or you might be able to get a store credit).
Some Things Stay the Same
For most stores, items like groceries, plants, and flowers can’t be returned but might be refundable if something is expired or damaged. So, you could still get a refund or credit. Store cards aren’t usually ever returnable.
If you’re not sure about the return policy for a gift that you’ve received, you should be able to find it on the retailer’s website (or you can call the retailer directly if it’s a local or smaller store). As a gift giver, grab the gift receipt if it’s available in case the person receiving the gift needs it. You can always tape it to the box or to the back of the gift for easy access.
Worst-case scenario, if you can’t return an item you could always try re-gifting or donating it!