The Lowdown: How to Return Christmas Gifts ...

Are you wondering how to return Christmas gifts to a retailer? If you're one of the many people who received gifts that they can't use or don't like, you'll probably want to return them to the store and get something you like instead. But what are your legal rights, and how can you ensure a refund? Here are some practical tips on how to how to return Christmas gifts …

1. Don't Open Them

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My first tip on how to return Christmas gifts to the retailer is that you shouldn't open the box it comes in if you're sure that you'll want to return the gift. Some stores may not accept returns that have been removed from the packaging, if it means that the item cannot be resold.

2. Exchange

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Generally speaking, stores do not have to accept a return if you simply don't like an item. Many will do so as a courtesy, but may only offer a credit note for returns. So don't be disappointed if the store won't refund you in cash. In that case, you'll have to spend the credit note on something else you like in the store.

3. No Returns

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Unfortunately there are some items that you can't return, unless they're faulty. So if you're gifted something like earrings or cosmetics, you probably won't be able to take them back to the store for reasons of hygiene. Donate them to a thrift store instead. The same goes for underwear, so train your partner not to buy you underwear unless he knows your taste and your size very well.

4. Online Purchases

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It may not be worth your while returning something that was bought for you online, as the cost of return postage may not make it worthwhile, plus the risk that it will get lost in the mail. You may be able to return it to a store if they have one near you; check their website to see if they offer this facility.

5. Time

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Keep an eye on how long you have to return an item. It probably won't be 30 days from Christmas Day. Remember that the giver probably bought it some time before Christmas, so the period for returns will begin the day they purchased it. You might not have much time to return it, so don't leave it too late.

6. Receipt

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Although some stores will accept a return without a receipt, it will help if you do have it. If you feel embarrassed about asking the giver for the receipt, tell them you need to swap it for a different size or you're allergic to something (if it's cosmetics). Without the receipt, you may have to settle for store credit rather than cash.

7. Defective Items

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Finally, you may need to return the item because there's something wrong with it. If that's the case, you'll be able to return it even if it's not in the box. Get the receipt and bear in mind that there is still a time limit.

Bear in mind that these are only general guidelines; exact details and rights vary from state to state (and of course depend on which country you live in). If you can't return the item for some reason, donate it to charity or regift it next year. Just don't regift it to the person who gave it to you! What is the craziest or most awful gift you've ever had?

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