Giving gifts allows you to express love and share happiness with people you care about. It's also a process that can become bogged down with warranties, rebates and other boring paperwork. We're here to help you with the latter.
Photo by philosophygeek.
Warranties And Extended Coverage
Up-front, it's worth pointing out that under Australian consumer law, there aren't fixed warranty periods that apply for particular goods: whether something receives warranty coverage depends on the price, the type of item and any promises made by the seller. Regardless, keeping track of when an item was purchased and a copy of the receipt is essential, and is also helpful for any manufacturer warranties which are offered over and above your statutory rights, or if you do decide to spring for an extended warranty. (We often recommend not doing so.)
Apps such as previously covered Warranty Tracker (Android) or Serial+ (iOS) can help with the process of tracking warranty coverage. These apps allow you to enter when you purchased a product, how long the manufacturer warranty lasts, the product's serial number, photos, UPCs, and other relevant information. You can also have these apps send you a notification when you're nearing the end of a warranty period.
Gift cards also require paperwork: you have balances to keep up with and a pile of cards to drag around. There are apps designed to track gift cards, but most of them are US-centric. We'd advise keeping it simple: when you acquire a gift card (whether for yourself or as a gift for others), note the expiry date in your calendar, and also put a reminder one month before it expires.
Rebates are a huge pain for everyone involved, and manufacturers and retailers cynically rely on the fact that many people never get around to claiming them. However, if there's a saving on offer, you should take advantage of them. One of the most basic tricks to ensure you actually send them in is to print out rebate forms immediately. That ensures you don't miss the cut-off date for any active promotion.
Store policies regarding returns vary. Remember: if an item is defective, you're entitled to an exchange, but a retailer isn't obligated to offer you a refund simply because you don't like a gift or because it's a duplicate of something you already have. Many will, but they're not legally obliged to.
Whatever the approach of the individual store, keeping receipts will maximise your chances of making an exchange. That doesn't need to be a complicated approach: just label an envelope as 'Christmas 2014' and place all the relevant receipts in there. if you're inclined to lose paperwork, scan your receipts with your phone and save them to Evernote.