Published: 11:01 EST, 26 December 2012 | Updated: 11:01 EST, 26 December 2012>
Gift-givers wasted nearly $3.4billion on unwanted presents this year, and in the days after Christmas, friends and family will be itching to return their disappointments.
But before you rush down to the mall with a bag full of strange paraphernalia, Edgar Dworsky of ConsumerWorld.org, an expert on taking back unwanted 'stuff', has revealed some important tips for hassle-free returns when you don't want to have to ask for the receipt.
He advises to avoid taking back gifts on December 26, be comfortable with the possibility that you will only receive a store-credit and most importantly, be familiar with each store's return policy.
Unwanted gifts: In the days after Christmas, friends and family will be itching to return their disappointments
Mr Dworsky told Daily Fiance that while retailers will have extra staff rostered on for the day after Christmas, 'That's the day the lines are the longest.'
'Why would you want to go on the day when the help at the customer service desk is frazzled? he asked,
ShopperTrak, a database which measures retail foot traffic and sales, confirmed that the day after Christmas is the fifth-busiest shopping day of the season.
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A spokesperson for ShopperTrak did note however that the 26th falls on a Wednesday, and with many Americans back at work this will make the day slightly less busy than last year, when the day after Christmas fell on a Monday and many people had the day off.
However there will still be the thousands of tourists taking advantage of post-Christmas sales today, which will make store staff less willing to deal with returns when they have hundreds of purchases to attend to.
Mr Dworsky also notes that if all you have is a gift receipt, or no receipt at all, you will have to accept store credit is the most a retailer will be able to offer you.
'Read and understand the return policy while you're waiting in line'
He said: 'Almost no one will give you money back if you have no receipt, or if you have a gift receipt.
'Everyone's policy is you can have an even exchange or a merchant credit. Only the original purchaser, with the original receipt, can get back credit card credit or cash.'
But if you are stuck with a gift from a store you don't particularly like, you may be able to turn the store gift card into cash.
Various gift card exchange sites enable you can sell your gift cards, including Plastic Jungle, CardHub, CouponTrade and Gift Card Granny.
You can also re-gift store credit, however the recipient might think it's strange when they receive a gift card worth $41.87.
The most important thing to know, however, is the exact return policy.
Return windows vary by retailer, and many of them now have tiered policies whereby different classes of products must be returned sooner than others.
Tips for big returns: Avoid taking back gifts on December 26, and be comfortable with the possibility that you will only receive a store-credit
Further complicating things is that most retailers implement special holiday return policies.
Mr Dworsky advises: 'Read and understand the policy while you're waiting in line.
'Are you asking for something foursquare in the rules ... or are you asking for an accommodation?'
Walmart, for example, has a standard 90-day return policy, but a few product classes are either 15 or 30 days.
Electronic items like cameras and tablets must be returned within 15 days, while outdoor appliances like generators and chainsaws have a 30-day return window.
Most unopened items for Target and Sears also have a 90-day return policy, however both retailers reserves the right to deny refunds for opened packages.
And with gifts that came from Amazon, items shipped between November 1st and December 31 can be returned through January 31, however there strict conditions.
All of the original packaging and accessories must be included, and media items like CDs and DVDs must be unopened. Mostly you will need to pay for return shipping, though certain categories, like shoes and jewelry, have free return shipping.
And what if the gift was bought on eBay?
A commercial seller has no obligation to offer you a refund or exchange unless the item is damaged or faulty, but they may.
If the gift comes from a private seller, it is unlikely you will get your money back, because most of the goods sold on eBay are unwanted goods in the first place.
Source : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2253340/Unwrapped-unwanted-How-return-weird-wacky-Christmas-gifts--having-ask-receipt.html