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Woman in a mall with shopping bags full of holiday returns

If you ended up receiving holiday gifts that weren’t quite right, you’re not alone. The National Retail Federation estimates that Americans return or exchange more than $50-billion dollars’ worth of gifts every year.

There’s no reason to feel guilty about returning or exchanging a gift. Remember that the person who gave it to you wanted you to have something you’ll enjoy. It’s much better to return or exchange a gift than leave it unused and unloved (or winding up in the next bag of charity donations).

We’ve put together the following tips to help you make holiday returns easy and stress free. Holiday-Returns

Don’t Wait

The sooner your return or exchange your gift, the better chance you have of maximizing its value. Stores turn stock quickly. If you wait, you may not be able to exchange for another color or size. Retailers also do lots of markdowns immediately after the holidays. The longer you wait to return, the less chance you have of receiving the item’s full value.

Bring the Receipt

Holiday returns will go much more smoothly if you have the original receipt or a gift receipt. Receipts are especially helpful if the item you’re returning or exchanging has been marked down, or if you wait longer than a few weeks to make the return (see Tip #1).

Do Your Research

Do yourself a favor and take a few minutes to research the store’s holiday return policy online. Return policies vary widely, and you’ll save yourself time and frustration if you know what you’re dealing with before your number is called at the customer service counter. If you’re returning something to Kohl’s, Nordstrom or CVS, good news! They’re widely considered to have the most customer-friendly return policies.

Be Nice

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.” That rule definitely applies to holiday returns. Remember that employees are obligated to follow their stores’ policies and asking them to violate it could lead to termination. Simply being patient and pleasant will go a long way toward ensuring a smooth transaction.

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