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Take Receipt When Returning Unwanted Christmas Gifts

Last updated on Tuesday, December 27, 2011

(UNDATED) - It’s the thought that counts, and that’s why millions of Americans will head back to stores the week after Christmas to return gifts that missed the mark during the holidays.

If you plan to return items, you'll want to have a receipt.

"Without a gift receipt or a regular receipt, you're going to get back either a merchandise credit, or you're going to be reimbursed the lowest amount the item sold for, not necessarily what you paid for it,"said Consumer Reports Senior Editor Tod Marks.

Keep stickers, labels and tags intact and remember that some stores will charge a restocking fee and in the case of some electronics, a repackaging fee if they take an opened item back at all.

"You want to be sure to not open the packaging, if you're not sure you want it," Marks said. "Because, forget it -- you can leave all the tags and labels on the item, but if you destroy the packaging or rip it apart, again, you'll have a much more difficult time returning it."

More retailers will list the terms of their return policy on your receipt, and if that still doesn't make it clear, ask someone in the store when you check out.
Some retailers will allow merchandise purchased online to be returned or exchanged in their stores. You can usually read their policies online.

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