Tahlequah Daily Press

December 26, 2013

Gift return policies generally flexible

Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — Aside from Black Friday, today may very well be one of the biggest shopping days of the year – or if not shopping, the biggest day for merchandise returns and exchanges.

Grandma Nell may have had the best intentions giving you that light-up tie, or she may have forgotten you recently dropped 20 pounds and gave you a shirt that dwarfs you. In most cases, provided the tags remain with the item or a gift receipt was enclosed, you’ll have no trouble returning or exchanging the item for something more to your liking.

According to Atwood’s Store Manager Eddie Berner, items purchased for Christmas can be returned.

“As long as they have the receipt, they can return an item within a couple of weeks after Christmas,” said Berner. “Or, if they tell us it was a gift, we can take care of it, too. We’re going to take care of our customers any way we can.”

Walmart is one of the most popular places to purchase Christmas gifts, and as a result, the company has an extensive return police.

According to the store’s corporate website, Walmart has adjusted its return policy for the holiday gift season. Items purchased between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24 may be returned beginning Thursday, Dec. 26. The limited return policy includes TVs cameras, computers, DVD and music player, which have a 15- to 30-day return time. Generally, Walmart accepts returns within 90 days of purchase. Exceptions include most electronics, airbeds and swimming pools.

Walmart has also accepted returns without a receipt, giving customers the option of a cash refund for purchase under $25; a shopping card for purchases over $25; or an even exchange for the product.

Walgreens is another popular source for gifts. Walgreens accepts in-store returns within 30 days of purchase for an exchange or refund. Items, with a receipt, may be returned for the full purchase price and refunds are issued in the original method of payment, be it cash, credit or debit card.

Those returning items to Walgreens without a receipt will be credited the lowest-advertised price, and refunds are issued as store credit on a store card. All returns require valid photo identification, and the company reserves the right to limit or refuse a refund. Gift cards, pre-paid cards and phone cards cannot be returned or exchanged.

Brittany Boyd, Stage store manager, said the return policy is fairly simple, but it has a few intricacies customers should understand.

“If the customer has a receipt, we’ll take the item back and refund the full purchase price in the same manner in which it was paid, including cash, credit or debit card,” said Boyd. “Without a receipt – and this is where some people get upset – we refund the amount for the lowest price the item sold for in the past 30 days on merchandise credit. We also do straight exchanges for different sizes or colors, and we issue gift receipts.”

Marcie Berry, staffer at Maurice’s clothing store, said they don’t have a time limit on returns.

“We don’t really have a 30-day return policy,” said Berry. “Customers can return merchandise any time, as long as it still has a tag on it. If they have a receipt, they get a full refund in the manner it was paid for, including cash, credit and debit cards. If they don’t have a receipt, they receive store credit. We also issue gift receipts.”

Rue 21 Assistant Manager Andrea Blood said the store will accept returns within 30 days of purchase with a receipt, and it also does straight exchanges.

Considering Microsoft and Sony have launched new gaming systems, the XBox One and the PlayStation 4, respectively, shops catering to gamers like GameStop will be more popular than ever this gift-giving season.

According to GameStop’s website, both pre-owned and new products may be exchanged, as long as a few guidelines are met. At GameStop, pre-owned products are guaranteed to work, but may be returned within seven days for a monetary refund, or identical exchange within 30 days of purchase. New products must be returned in the original packaging and include any manuals, cabling and accessories in sellable condition. GameStop reserves the right to limit returns to unopened or defective products. Defective products will be replaced with a like item. GameStop does not accept returns of any products beyond 30 days from date on the packing slip, any product that has been opened, not in its original condition, damaged, played or has missing parts, or any products sold as part of a bundle, unless the bundle is returned complete.

Steele’s department store also offers refunds and exchanges. Items must have the tags on them, and a store receipt and photo ID are required.