Just because you bought it or received it doesn’t mean you’ll always want to keep it.  Even though we’re in the thick of shopping season, there may be a few things that you end up wanting to return. With the growth of online shopping, a lot of the traditional return policies that some of us are familiar with have evolved accordingly.

Whether it’s a gift you received or something you bought yourself, returning items can often become a troublesome chore.  You may have lost the receipt or missed the deadline to return. Here are some lesser known pointers that may help you get through the process with minimal hassle.


If You Lost Your Receipt, Don’t Be Afraid To Ask

More and more stores are making the age-old policy that you need a receipt irrelevant.  Big retailers like Macy’s will go as far back as two years and search for an electronic copy of your receipt.  Target is able to confirm your purchases for up to 90 days if you used a credit, debit, or gift card that you still have.


Go Digital

A number of businesses such as Apply, Hertz, Oakley, Tumi and Whole Foods now offer electronic receipts.  As we know, going paperless has been a huge movement over the last few years.  Accepting your receipts digitally makes it easier to stay organized and eliminates paper messes.


Check For Holiday Return Policies

Retailers such as Amazon and Pottery Barn have extended holiday return policies.  If your Amazon order shipped between November 1st and December 31st, you have up to January 31st to return it.  For Pottery Barn, if your item(s) shipped between October 15th and December 24th, you can make a return until January 31st.  It never hurts to check.


Read The Return Policy Before You Buy Online

Even if a retailer has physical stores that you can go to, you might not be able to return something you bought from their online store.  It’s important to make sure you read the online purchase return policy or contact customer service and ask before you click and submit your order.


Know The Limits Of PayPal

Stores like Target will give you cash if you return items purchased with PayPal to one of their physical locations, but you’ll only get store credit when returning online purchases.  It doesn’t hurt to make sure you know the exact return policies when using PayPal to pay for items.


You Might Lose Money For Promo Items

We all enjoy freebies.  However, if you try to return something that came with a promotional item, a lot of retailers will not refund you unless you return everything.  It’s either that or they will simply deduct the price of the promo item from your refund.


Beware Of Returning Gift Cards

Some retailers have banned customers from returning gift cards altogether.  Others may allow it, but the money will be refunded directly to the original credit card that was used to purchase the gift card.  It might be best to just try and use a gift card for whatever you can.


Be Prepared To Stay Together If You Buy From Outlets

Just because big name retailers have outlet locations doesn’t mean that you can return items to their regular stores.  If you bought something from an outlet location of one of your favorite brands, you may be stuck with it for the long haul.  Just be sure you’re okay with that possibility before you purchase.

The best thing you can really do is educate yourself.  Before you buy, it’s always best to not only check return policies (both online and in-store), but also read any kind of fine print that might be there.  If you do ask a customer service agent over the phone, I highly recommend that you ask for something in writing because in my experience, a verbal confirmation doesn’t always stick.


See Also

Weird News: Walmart Scammers Vomit On Video Game Receipts to Get Refunds
National Consumer Protection Week 2013: 5 Tips Every Consumer Should Know
How to Dispute Unauthorized Credit Card Charges and Get Your Money Back

Article sources

ShopSmart – January 2013 Issue

Image sources

Wikimedia Commons

5 Responses

  1. Steven J. Roberts

    Kevin trudeau,s “Freemoney” is bull. he charges 19.95 for the book yet charges 33.85 for shipping. everytime you try to use the sites he quotes in his book they want money. Where is the free? He,s got it in his pocket because he scammed us

    • Elizabeth Arbuckle

      While on painkillers after Adenoid surgery last year,I was loopy enough to order this book from television.The book arrived very quickly,and was aimed at people who put no thought into where they might have money laying around.Suggestions for getting free money included forgotten stocks,bonds,bank accounts,etc.,all the way to dead relatives in whose wills you might be a beneficiary.I did get a full refund!

  2. Gail

    Have Questions about the complaints of the Quiz hr. on CHCH. Have tried to find out this this works and how they are able to give away this money? Where does the money come from? As a recent viewer of this program – I to recently tried to call in but with no luck – an operator comes on line and tells me to check with my provider which is Shaw? 900-528-8080 is when the operator tells me not in service? It gives a message for Roger customers to call a diffirent number.
    Would really appreciate if someone can send me an email as to how this quiz show works and how people get through on this telephone line? By the sounds of the complaints – it is a scam? How does this program get the MONEY to payout? I had 4 words I could have submitted when it was down to the 6th word – starting with the letter “B” in the program aired last night Feb. 16/13. Anxiously waiting a reply? Gail

    • Miranda

      Hi Gail, thanks for your comment. If you’d like to submit a complaint to Scambook, please click here. Your complaint(s) will be screen for compliance and then a Scambook Investigator will follow-up with the issue.


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