Helpful Tips for Holiday Returns

Here are some things you may want to know before heading to the mall with your returns.


Chances are after all the gifts are opened, you will have a few things to return.

Take a look at the tips below, which will hopefully make your return shopping go more smoothly. 

Things To Know Before You Go

With a receipt, most stores will allow you to return items within 30 to 90 days of purchase. A few stores, like Kohl's, have no time restrictions as long as you keep the receipt. A gift receipt typically means you can exchange or get store credit for the price paid for the item.

Returns without a receipt are subject to the store's return policy, which usually means receiving merchandise credit for the lowest selling price of the item.

American Apparel, Forever 21, and many seasonal shops and specialty boutiques only offer exchanges or store credit. Return policies can vary for items purchased online and those purchased in store. 

Websites and brick and mortar stores often have separate return policies for electronics, computers, video games, music, jewelry, formal wear, cosmetics, and intimates. 

6 Tips for Easier Returns

  • Bring the original receipt or a gift receipt, if possible.
  • Keep the tags attached.
  • Keep packaged items unopened and with all accessories. 
  • Return the item as soon as possible. 
  • Check out the store's return policies online before you go. 
  • December 26 is often the most crowded day to make returns.

Return Policies for Several Popular Stores 


The Amazon Online Returns Center allows gift recipients and gift givers to return items fulfilled by Amazon.com. The type of refund or credit you receive depends on how the gift was purchased and how it's returned.

Best Buy

Gift purchases made from November 4, 2012 through December 24, 2012, can be returned through January 24, 2013. The original receipt, gift receipt or packing slip is required for all returns and exchanges. If returning or exchanging an item in a Best Buy store, a valid photo ID is also required.


Kohl's accepts returns of any item, for any reason, at anytime. A full refund will be given with an original receipt. Exchange or store credit is offered if you don't have a receipt. If you are returning a gift, you will receive a store merchandise credit. 


You may exchange or return most merchandise for a full refund, based on the original form of payment, within 180 days of purchase. If you are returning a gift, you will receive a store merchandise credit. 


Most unopened items in new condition can be returned within 90 days for a refund or exchange. Opened movies, music, video games, software, and collectibles can not be returned. Computers, cameras, GPS units, eReaders, and music and video players can be returned within 30 days. 

Toys R Us

New, unopened items can be returned within 90 days of purchase for a refund or exchange. There is a smaller window for return of some items. Click here for these exceptions. 


Items like computers, cameras, GPS units, eReaders, and music and video players can be returned through January 10, 2013. Power tools, lawn mowers, compressors, generators, and like items can be returned through January 25, 2013. All other items can be returned within 90 days of purchase. 

What's your after Christmas return strategy? Share it with Patch in the comments.


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