FF12 Holiday Shopping Guide: Gift Returns

Photo courtesy: MGN

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) It's holiday shopping season and our FactFinder 12 Investigative team wants you to stay safe and smart. We've found some of the most common scams, tricks and warnings to tell you so you have the best holiday shopping season possible.

It's no secret not everyone is a great gift giver. But what makes it even worse is when the gift recipient can't return or exchange the gift. This week we're not talking about scams but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be doing research and protecting yourself.

During the holidays, return policies change and Denise Groene with the Better Business Bureau said you need to be aware.

"During the holiday season, a lot of retailers will alter their return policy. They tend to let you return items longer than their normal return policy," she said.

That's a good thing if you're somewhat forgetful. However, Groene said because retailers do sometimes extend their policies during the holidays, they may also be less likely to work with you if you wait too long.

She also said to be aware that returns sometimes have an unavoidable price.

"In reference to electronics, a lot of retailers do have a restocking fee. So keep that in mind if you do decide to return an item. It could be anywhere from five to 25 percent that you're not going to get back just for the restocking fee," she said.

If you're upgrading the product or spending more money with the store, you could ask the store manager if he or she will waive the restocking fee. It may not always work but Groene said it's not a bad idea to ask.

Then, there's those gift receipts. You want one.

"A lot of times, if you don't have a receipt or a gift receipt, you get whatever that current price is. Retailers know this so a lot of times,you know, they're trying to clear out leftover Christmas inventory so you might find that item that was probably purchased at full price now on a deep discount," she said.

That means a gift that was bought at say $50 could be discounted when you return it and you only get a fraction of that amount.

These aren't scams by the businesses though. They're just changes you should be aware of.

The best way to protect yourself from being disappointed at the store is to make sure you get a gift receipt. Though it may be an awkward conversation, if you don't get one, Groene said you should consider calling whomever gave you the gift to get one.

As a gift giver, you should always get a gift receipt.

You'll want to pay attention to any extra fees like a restocking fee and be prepared for that when you return an item.

If you get an item you don't like, be sure to check the retailer's website or call them to see what your return time frame is and what documents you need to successfully return an item.

That way you can swiftly and politely get something you really wanted this holiday season.