If you’re headed to the store this week, be prepared for long lines and crowded aisles. The shopping doesn’t end after Christmas day.
While most consider the day after Christmas as the day for returning unwanted gifts, it’s actually one of the largest days for patrons to find sales and deals and use those gift-cards received on Christmas day.
Last year, Bill Mason, manager of New Boston Walmart told the Daily Times, “Most returns are done before Christmas even gets here now, we haven’t had the big crowds for returns, like it was years ago, but instead we have more shoppers looking for sales.”
Dave Collins, was one of those shoppers.
“Usually right after Christmas you can buy essential items like body wash, shampoo and conditioner. I buy a few of those sets on sale and it lasts me the whole year,” said Collins. “I also buy extra items to donate to places that need them throughout the year. I also buy stuff for my Christmas next year, like wrapping paper, gift tags and boxes.”
But if you’re not looking for a bargain, make sure you are up-to-date with the stores return policy. Typically you can call in to the customer service line, or check the retailers website to find information. According to National Public Radio (NPR) 23 percent of stores update or make changes to their return policies for the holiday season. Some noteworthy policy changes for 2016 include:
- Macy’s now requires all returns in one year instead of allowing returns anytime.
- Kohl’s added a deadline of January 31 for “premium electronics” instead of open-ended.
- Costco reduced its return period for major appliances from open-ended to 90 days.
- New, short return periods for drones added: Target – 14 days; Walmart – 15 days: and Toys”R”Us – 30 days.
- Sears started its holiday returns policy one week earlier, and allows returns one week later.
- Toys”R”Us increased the return period for computer hardware from 15 to 30 days.
According to associates at Walmart in New Boston, the store has not made a policy change this year. Without a receipt, Walmart gives customers the option of a cash refund (if the purchase was under $25), a gift card for the amount of the purchase (if it was over $25), or an even exchange. Shoppers can only make three no receipt returns within a 45 day period. Walmart tracks returns in a database and may deny a return that exceeds the store’s limits.
Below are some tips for returns provided by NPR.
- Hold on to receipts and packing slips
- Don’t take the gift out of its original packaging — If, as soon as you open your gift, you know you don’t want it, keep it in the box and don’t remove any tags. Resist the calls to “try it on,” “show it off,” etc. If the item is in its original packaging, you’ll be met with less resistance during the return process since the item can essentially go back into the store or warehouse shelf.
- Shipping a gift back could cost you — Amazon and Apple offer free shipping labels for returns via mail, but many retailers don’t. Overstock will deduct the cost of shipping from the amount of the item, and give you what’s left in the form of a gift card. If you mail a gift back to Best Buy, you’ll have to pay shipping yourself—though you can always walk it into a store. For Walmart, that is your only option: It doesn’t accept returns by mail.
- Be prepared to receive credit, not cash — if the gift was purchased online, getting cash in exchange for your gift is unlikely. Typically, cash back returns are given to the purchaser, not the recipient. Instead, most online retailers do offer store credit in the form of gift cards.
Reach Ciara Conley at 740-981-6977, Facebook “Ciara Conley - Daily Times,” and Twitter @PDT_Ciara.