Consumer Alert: Returning holiday presents

Many people are spending the time between Christmas and New Year's Day returning some of the presents that they received that they weren't quite happy with.

Consumer experts say there are several things to remember when returning items to make sure the returns go smoothly.

One of the most important things to take notice of, according to experts, is the store's return policy.

"What is the timeline that you have to return it?" asks Melissa Companick with the Better Business Bureau. "Do you have to keep all of your original packaging?"

Companick also says that more expensive items like electronics are often given less time to be returned. She says that if a consumer is not sure about a gift they should not open the box or remove tags.

Consumers are also reminded to be aware of restocking fees. Experts say that if the fee is large enough, it might be better to resell the item online instead of returning it.

A gift receipt or other proof of purchase is also important, because it can often mean the difference between a refund and store credit.

"We want companies to have lenient return policies. But it's also up to the consumer," Companick says. "Keep your paperwork. You have to do some work as well."

Companick says that timing is also important. It might be best to wait until after the holidays to make returns if the deadlines allow it. This will allow the consumer to get more personal attention when stores are less busy.

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