Holiday Gift Returns On The Rise

This year's holiday shopping season is being called one of the worst in decades. It's most evident with the high rate of holiday gift returns.

Consumer reports estimate one in five people will return a Christmas gift this holiday season. Some local retailers say this year's gift returns are at an all-time high and they expect more throughout the week.

"Well, this is definitely known as the time to expect many returns, so we are definitely prepared for that," said Gabriel Garcia, executive team leader at Target.

Most retailers in our area have extended their gift return deadlines to accommodate customers. But some warn: if you want cash for your gift, come prepared with a receipt.

"Our database is pretty good at looking up under a phone number or credit card or check. As long as we have the original receipt, you can get a full refund. Otherwise, we can give you store credit," said Joe Larra, Circuit City manager.

You should also be aware that cash refunds can be limited based on the way the item was purchased.

"Something to expect, if you are purchasing with a check is that cash will not be returned, just according to our policy and the way that it's processed, for about 10 to 12 days," Garcia said.

It's important to note that return policies vary by store. Some retailers, like Circuit City, vary their policies per item. For example, CDs have different return requirements than laptops or televisions.

More helpful gift return tips:

  • Find out how long you have to return an item. As we mentioned, several stores in our area have extended gift return days. Visit your retailer's web site for their Christmas gift return dates.
  • Don't open anything you may want to return. Most retailers will not accept merchandise that has been opened or taken out of its original packing, especially electronics.
  • Return the items as soon as possible. Some stores may not be around for much longer, because of the struggling economy. Don't wait until your retailer closes its doors to return your gift.
  • Stores can set their own return policies. Retailers are not required by law to return your money, unless the item is defective. So it's important to find out their return policies before you make a purchase.