Christmas Is Over! Offers Tips on How to Handle Returns!

Now that Christmas is over, it is time to talk about holiday returns. Shoppers should have the right to enjoy easy returns and refunds on those unwanted gifts that don’t seem to fit your style. No one wants to get stuck with something they can’t or won’t use.

So, how do you make returns as hassle-free as possible? Sara Skirboll, Shopping & Trends Expert at RetailMeNot, has some tips to share with you!





Gift Return Guide:

Below are a few tips and tricks to make the return process a little smoother after the holidays:

Wait until after January 1, 2020, to avoid all of the post-holiday crowds.
Returning gifts could be trickier under new store policies. Keep in mind that most return windows are between 30 – 60 days, but some stores require electronics to be returned within two weeks.   

But return electronics first!

Electronics and other pricey items should take precedence among the items you’re returning. Skirboll said that retailers tend to put additional return requirements in place with these big-ticket goods. Generally, you’ll have less time to return them, so be sure and be on top of that.

Restocking fees may apply; selling online may be better!
Another thing to note with these big-ticket items/electronics is that often retailers charge a restocking fee that’s deducted from the refund or store credit amount. Sometimes it pays off to avoid a store return altogether and list the item on eBay or Craigslist, where you can sell it for the full price, or maybe even more if it’s in demand.



Top Retailers Returns:

It’s rare in this day and age that one of your gifts didn’t come from one of the big three online retailers: Walmart, Target or Amazon. For the most part, their policies are fairly lenient, but my tip here is simple: Read the fine print on your receipt or online order confirmation to guarantee smooth sailing.

For Amazon, items shipped between November 1 through December 31 of this year may be returned until January 31, 2019.
Walmart and Target have similar policies around the holidays:

Shoppers will have 90 days for a full refund if you have the receipt.
This applies to most everything except certain electronics items like drones, digital cameras, Apple products, video consoles.

Make sure to read the website before you try to return any electronics.



Just as some stores are more complicated in their return policies than others; some are easier to work with. Skirboll points to Nordstrom in particular as being “fantastic with returns,” and known work with customers to ensure 100 percent satisfaction. Zappos, Athleta, and Bed Bath & Beyond are also great stores according to Skirboll, as they will take back items without your having to provide a receipt. Plus, you can beat the lines altogether by using their free shipping returns label.

Small appliances like vacuums, toasters, blenders, air fryers make great and useful gifts to receive for the holidays. Just remember to make sure it’s exactly what you want because the return process will be more difficult once it’s opened.

Apparel is one of the most popular categories for returns. No one wants to get stuck with a sweater that doesn’t match your size or style – so retailers try to make it easy. Do your best to keep all inner and outer tags on the item and come with a gift receipt if possible.

Beauty products are an easy gift or stocking stuffer, but sometimes that perfume or lipstick doesn’t work out. Good news here is that most big stores will accept returns and exchanges for both opened and even gently used beauty products if you still have the original receipt or gift receipt.

If you are planning on returning something... don’t open the box

If you’re so much as considering returning something, Skirboll urges you to not open the box or packaging. With clothing items, keep all the tags on. An opened item or one missing a tag could be turned down for a return or full-exchange.

 You can return or exchange gift cards

91 percent of people have received a gift card at least once as a holiday present, Skirboll noted, and while gift cards are pretty flexible, they’re not always on your wish list. You can return or exchange gift cards, too, on sites like or



If a Return Can’t be Made…

Here’s what to bear in mind before you pack up your trunk with returnable goods to save on stress — and money — this post-holiday season.

One other way to get some cash back on an unwanted gift is to put it on eBay, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace.
For those who have received unwanted gifts and are unable to make a return, consider donating to a local charity of their choice – tis’ the season for giving!

The retail and shopping trends expert pointed out that 33 percent of people return unwanted gifts, and that the most commonly returned items are clothing and fragrances.

Bio of Sara Skirboll

Sara is the resident Shopping & Trends expert for savings destination, RetailMeNot. Based in-house at the RetailMeNot headquarters in Austin, Texas, Sara also splits her time between NYC and Los Angeles on a monthly basis. With more than a decade of experience working within the retail, fashion and beauty arenas, Sara often speaks to shopping habits, trends, statistics and spending habits in both the online and brick & mortar landscapes. She has her finger on the pulse of the latest trends in retail, pop culture and consumer behavior and is passionate about what’s new now and how to shop to get the best deals possible on everything from apparel and food to electronics and travel.

You can find her  blogs and tips on

Sara has appeared on-air coast to coast on Today, The View, NBC Nightly News, MSNBC, Headline News, Inside Edition, Access Hollywood Live, EXTRA!, Good Day LA, NY1, CNN, WGN, KTLA, national affiliates for ABC, CBS, NBC,and FOX plus top radio stations.


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