Gift Returns and Exchanges Could Become Easier This Year
Just because that scarf Grandma gave you isn't your style doesn't mean you can't get what you really want - or need - this Christmas.
With most folks struggling to make ends meet, there's nothing wrong with admitting you want to squeeze the most use out of your presents - especially when you've dropped big bucks on gifts for friends and family over the past several weeks. Fortunately, stores are giving us a break this year.
Retailers like Best Buy, Wal-mart, Sears and even Overstock.com are making it easier than ever to return or exchange gifts by extending deadlines and loosening formerly strict policies, according to an article on MSNBC.com.
At Target, customers can return up to $70 in merchandise without a receipt. At Sears, consumers have 60 days to return electronics, software or mattresses - two to three times as much time as stores usually give to bring in those goods. So why the laxer policies? It's been theorized that stores are desperate to retain customers as the economy hurts their bottom line - and that means keeping us happy.
But even with the new rules, it's a good idea to follow steps that will increase your odds of receiving the full value of your surrendered items. For example, try not to open a box if you don't think you'll keep what's inside, and try on all clothing before cutting off the tags. Stores can deduct a restocking fee from your refund if they have to repack or tag returned items. And this should go without saying, but never toss out a receipt, just in case.
Maybe you think it's a hassle to wait in the customer service line after Christmas. But I say why leave a gift you won't use sitting around and taking up space when you could use a return refund or store credit to get something you really need? If the store won't take the item back, there's always eBay or Craiglist.
Now, if you find yourself turning in all of your gifts for cash - or selling everything in the entire house on eBay - it sounds like you might be in over your head. For most Americans, debt is the root cause. Debt can swallow up your paycheck, making it impossible to cover the mortgage, a doctor's visit or even the phone bill. Bankruptcy can give you back what's yours by affordably reducing that debt - and the interest that comes with it.
Learn how bankruptcy can whip your finances into shape in the New Year with a free one-on-one debt analysis with an Atlanta bankruptcy attorney. Isn't it time you got what you really needed for Christmas?