How to return unwanted Christmas gifts

(KYTX) - This is the time of year when those scanners at the cash register really get a work out. People are lining up, bringing their unwanted Christmas gifts back to Santa's local workshop.

"The return time is never fun. But so far, it hasn't been a problem," said Gerald Barker.

Gerald Barker didn't have to wait in line Wednesday morning at Best Buy in Tyler. He had everything he needed when he walked up to the customer service desk.

"The advice I would give to someone is keep your receipts, primarily, that's the important thing, makes life a lot easier," said Barker.  

It not only makes your life easier, it's a big help for the people behind the counter.

"If you don't have the original receipt, please have a gift receipt. Makes it a whole lot easier. It gives us less time to look it up. More time serving the customers," said Geoffrey Starling, Best Buy representative.

The most important thing to know before you get in line is the exact return policy. Some stores, like Best Buy, have special holiday return policies.

53 "Our holiday return policy ends January 24th. The only thing that doesn't qualify is cell phones. Cell phones have a 30 day return policy," said Starling.

And if you're wondering when's the perfect time to avoid long lines...

"As soon as we open and right before we close. Best time. It's not busy, everybody's at home, everybody is at work," explained Starling.

But, if you do get stuck in a long line, Gerald has some words of advice.

"A lot people are going to be returning things today, so just wait in line and be kind to the person in front of you and the person working today," added Barker.

Return Policies for Major Retailers: Courtesy

• Walmart: Most items have a 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. If you got something from the 15- or 30-day list, though, and it was purchased between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24, then the clock doesn't start until Dec. 26. So if, for instance, you got an e-reader for Christmas that was purchased way back on Black Friday, you still have until Jan. 10 to bring it back.

• Target: Most unopened items have a 90-day return policy, and Target reserves the right to deny refunds for opened packages. Electronics items have a 30-day return policy, and the clock starts at Dec. 26 for purchases since Nov. 1. As with Walmart, items under the standard 90-day return policy are still dated from the time of purchase.

• Sears: The retailer has a tiered returns policy of 90, 60 or 30 days, though 60 is the standard. For items in the 30-day category that were purchased between Nov. 11 and Dec. 24, you have until Jan. 24; for items in the 60-day category, you have until the later of 60 days from the date of purchase or Jan. 24. And if you're returning certain classes of appliances or sporting equipment because of visible damage, you'll need to report that damage within 72 hours to qualify for an exchange.

• Amazon: Any items shipped between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31 can be returned through Jan. 31. There are a few conditions: All of the original packaging and accessories must be included, and media items like CDs and DVDs must be unopened. In general you'll need to pay for return shipping, though certain categories (including shoes and jewelry) have free return shipping.


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