Don't Get Caught Holding the Gift You Didn't Really Want

The BBB offers tips on Black Friday and Christmas shopping to ensure you don't get caught with a gift someone doesn't want, and one you can't exchange.

Shopping List? Check! Credit cards? Check! Cash? Check? Car keys? Check! Now that you're ready to head out to join fellow shoppers in crowded malls this busy shopping weekend do you have everything you need?

The Better Business Bureau suggests you give yourself an early gift before joining the frenzied masses — the gift of knowledge. In a press release, the BBB said this knowledge could save time, frustration and, most importantly, money.

“Consumers should know that in Georgia companies are allowed to establish their own policies regarding refunds, exchanges and store credits,” the press release reads. “In many firms, no such policies exist. No company is required by law to allow a customer the right to return or exchange merchandise no matter when it was purchased. The only exceptions to this rule are items that are misrepresented or defective. The laws in all states require a store to make good in such cases.”

BBB officials said current regulations do not require a store to post policies or put the information on the receipt. It is therefore the shopper’s responsibility to find out each store’s policies regarding refunds, exchanges and store credits before making a purchase. Policies for refunds and exchanges are voluntarily adopted to provide better customer service and not because a store is required by law. 

The BBB offers the following tips to make holiday shopping a little less stressful.

1. Save the receipt! Even if the store does not have a return policy, this information may be needed for warranty repair or to verify payment.

2. Find out each store’s policy regarding refunds, exchanges and store credits before making a purchase. Do not assume you have the right to return items just because it is not posted or no one has said otherwise.

3. If refunds or exchanges are allowed, find out the following:

  •  Is there a specific time period in which items may be returned?
  • Must the item(s) be in the original packaging?
  • Will there be a restocking fee if you change your mind?
  • Can you return the item to another location of the store (this is especially important if the gift recipient is out of state)?
  • Will the store give money back or will you be required to make an exchange or receive a store credit?

Don’t get caught “holding the gift” after a purchase. Be a smart shopper. Know your rights and each store’s policies before making a purchase. Understand it is your responsibility to determine a store’s policies regarding refunds and your right to shop elsewhere if a particular store’s policies don’t fit your needs.

Before doing business with any company, you can check out their report at bbb.org.


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