MILWAUKEE (WXOW) – While holiday gift returns can be stressful, the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau (BBB) provides consumers with key tips to help make returns simple this season.
According to the BBB, stores technically are not required to accept exchanges or give refunds unless the merchandise was defective or misrepresented. While most retailers have become more lenient in their return policies during COVID-19, refund and exchange programs still vary greatly from store to store.
To help alleviate stress for holiday shoppers, the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau suggests consumers follow these key tips when returning gifts this season:
Get to know store policies: Before purchasing items, shoppers should find out if the store has a return policy. Individuals should then learn more about the policy, including if the store allows exchanges, gives store credit, or requires a restocking fee. Again, consumers should keep in mind that many retailers have changed their policies during the holiday season and the pandemic.
Understand online store return policies: Those shopping online this season should locate and read the seller’s return policy before clicking “buy.” One key piece of information individuals should look for is whether or not the retailer is required to cover shipping costs when an item is returned. In some cases, shoppers can save on shipping fees by returning an online purchase to the local brick-and-mortar store.
Get the details on a product’s warranty: Consumers should have an idea of how a store handles returns and repairs if an item stops working or needs replacement parts. In these situations, it is important to know if the retailer will ship restored items to consumers directly, or if shoppers will have to deal with the manufacturer. For example, most electronics and home appliances come with warranties that are to be fulfilled with the manufacturer, not the retailer.
Keep your receipt and packaging: Many stores will only accept returns and exchanges if consumers can present the item with its receipt and original packaging. When buying gifts for others, always include a gift receipt.
Bring your ID: In an effort to avoid holiday return scams, stores may ask to see individual’s ID when returning an item. In addition, some retailers require the original form of payment used to purchase the gift. If this is the case, consumers may need the assistance of the gift giver in order to be reimbursed.
Make returns in a timely fashion: While almost all return policies are valid during a specific time period, some stores modify these terms during the holiday season. In order to avoid missing the chance to make returns, the BBB recommends shoppers take gifts back to stores without delay.
For further information on returns and other store policies, visit the Wisconsin BBB website or contact the organization at either 414-847-6000 or 1-800-273-1002.
The Wisconsin BBB also provides consumers with additional tips on how to protect themselves from scams this holiday season. Those interested in learning more can find information on the Wisconsin BBB Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.