Two thirds of shoppers are expected to make some kind of return this holiday season. If you’re one of the majority of people who need to do so, then it’s in your best interest to make that return as soon as possible.
Chances are good you may have received one or more holiday gifts this year that you’d rather not own.
Maybe you’ve put on a few kilos since Aunt Edna last saw you and you need a sweater in a different size, or perhaps you’d prefer not to have a sweater covered in kittens at all. If this is you, don't wait to exchange.
How long do I have?
Most stores tend to have a 30-day return policy, but that 30 days started the day the gift giver purchased the item, not when you received it. While a number of retailers adjust that rule a bit around the holidays, it’s a good idea to get your gift back as quickly as possible so you don’t run out of time.
If you received something like electronics, that return window may be even smaller. Apple, for instance, typically requires items to be returned within 14 days of purchase. It extends the timeline around the holidays for items purchased between November 15 and December 25, but that 14-day timer started for all those gifts on December 26. That means you only have until January 8 to make that return.
When you do make that return, the closer you can get the product to looking “new” the better, That means putting it back in its original packaging if you still have it available, and making sure you have all the accessories that came with an item inside the box as well.
Even though it might be uncomfortable, it pays to ask the gift giver for a receipt for that unwanted item. Without a receipt, you might be required to take store credit, or not be able to make the return at all.
And it should go without saying, but be nice when you make that return. Yes, the line to do so will be long, and the whole experience pretty unbearable, but the shop assistant who’s helping you has gone through that experience for days now. It costs nothing to be pleasant when you make that return, and you’ll improve the experience for both yourself and the person responsible for taking that Cat-mas sweater back.
Remember: While Australia's consumer laws are pretty stringent, retailers are not obligated to refund your unwanted gifts just because you don't like them. If the product works as advertised, they are perfectly entitled to refuse your request for a refund. With that said, they usually cut customers some slack over Christmas, so don't put it off that store visit for too long.