Moments after opening unwanted Christmas gifts, the thoughts that creep up might go something like this:
Darn, no gift receipt.
How do I get rid of it?
What time will stores open Sunday?
Is there anyone I can regift this to?
Sometimes a gift doesn’t fit in more ways than one. However, instead of settling for a duplicate gift or the ugly sweater you’ll never wear, you can return, exchange or sell your unwanted holiday gifts.
The annual return-a-thon kicks off Sunday as retailers start after-Christmas sales, aiming to unload more merchandise. But because of the pandemic and supply chain challenges, there are fewer holiday items to discount.
►What stores and restaurants are open Christmas 2021? Walgreens, CVS, some McDonald’s, Starbucks, Dunkin’ and more
►Happier returns?:Retailers in race to solve holidays’ environmental, logistics nightmare
According to its 18th annual return policy survey, ConsumerWorld.org said prominent retailers continue to offer expanded return windows to give shoppers more time to return unwanted purchases.
Reverse logistics company Optoro predicts that $120 billion of goods will be returned this holiday season, with a large percentage of those returns ending up in landfills.
Amazon holiday returns deadline is Jan. 31
Amazon says all return-eligible items weighing under 50 pounds have at least one free return option, but some exclusions apply. Returns generally need to be completed 30 days after purchase, but for the holiday season, most Amazon purchases between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31 can be returned through Jan. 31, 2022.
Start the Amazon return process on your account or Amazon.com/returns to select the purchase that needs to be returned. At the site, you can also enter the order number of a gift if you have it.
The Amazon return process is different for gifts. Learn more about how to return gifts here.
Kohl’s accepts Amazon returns and that can mean free Kohl’s Cash
Kohl’s accepts Amazon returns and there’s no need to box up the return or print out a return label. As an added perk, consumers bringing in these returns often get a coupon such as $5 Kohl’s Cash or another discount to use at the department store chain. (Kohl’s Cash is a coupon currency that can only be used at Kohl’s. The Amazon return offers are listed as in-store only.)
If you have one return or a dozen, you’ll typically get just one Kohl’s coupon. Some stores accept Amazon returns at customer service, and others have separate designated areas for returns.
Pro Amazon return tip: Be prepared and logged into your Amazon account. Taking screenshots of the QR codes from Amazon can make the process easier. You can also flag emails with the return codes.
Box-free returns are also accepted at UPS Store locations, Amazon Books, Amazon 4-star, Fresh Grocery and Whole Foods Market stores.
►Save better, spend better: Money tips and advice delivered right to your inbox. Sign up here
Tips for easier Christmas returns
Follow these tips and skip the post-holiday-gift-return headache:
Know the policies, deadlines: Read policies at store websites, on store signs, or on the back of receipts.
Avoid the crowds: Early mornings and late evenings can be less chaotic times to make a return, but immediately after Christmas, you should expect long lines. It might be best to wait a few days.
Receipts: Having an original or gift receipt usually makes the return process go more smoothly and improves your chances of getting a full refund. At Target, a gift receipt will get you a merchandise return card, which – unlike a regular gift card – only can be used in-store.
No receipt: Returns without a receipt usually result in merchandise credit for the lowest recent sale price or possibly no refund or exchange at all, depending on the store’s policy.
Exchange it: Like the gift but want it in another color or size? Look for the item or ask for assistance, and if it’s not in stock, ask a store associate if it’s available online or at another store location.
Mystery gift: Not sure where a gift came from? If it has a barcode, try scanning it with store apps like Amazon, Walmart, Target and other retailers. Also, try typing the barcode numbers on Google.
Bring your ID: Even if you have a receipt, some stores require a government-issued ID.
Extra fees: If you are returning electronics or an item that has been opened, be prepared to pay a restocking fee of up to 15%.
Talk to a manager: If you have a problem returning a gift, contact the store manager or the retailer’s customer service department.
Be nice: Some returns are granted on a case-by-case basis, so patience and kindness may go a long way.
Sell or donate it: If you can’t return or exchange gifts, consider selling them on eBay or similar apps and websites. Or donate them.