LIMA — The Christmas rush is over; now comes the season of happy returns — unless you didn’t abide by a particular store’s return policy.
Many shoppers returned to retailers to check out the after-Christmas sales and exchange that sweater that was two sizes too small.
Cheryl Parson, president with the West Central Ohio Better Business Bureau, said there are things you need to be aware of before returning that not-so-perfect gift.
“What they need to know is what the store policy is. That’s the first thing. Know what the return policy is, what you need to bring with you, what they will take back, what they won’t take back,” Parson said. “The other thing is — bring your ID because they’ll probably want to make sure you’re the person actually returning it. The other thing is, if you need to return it, return it as soon as you can. Don’t wait a month or two.”
But if you have a return to make, it might be a good idea to wait a couple of days.
“It’s going to be busy right after Christmas. In some stores, you can take a couple of weeks to return them. You just need to check with a store before you go in and make sure you get within their time limit to get it returned,” Parson said.
At Walmart, you have 90 days after purchase to exchange or return, with or without a receipt.
It also extended its holiday policy where most electronics purchased from Oct. 16 through Dec. 25 begin the 30-day return period on Dec. 26. Post-paid wireless phones purchased in-store have a 14-day return period from the date of purchase.
Meijer has a generous return policy, honoring general merchandise refunds and exchanges within 90 days of purchase.
There are exceptions, according to its website, such as “electronics without data storage capabilities, photos, books, magazines and gas-powered equipment must be returned within 30 days. Items with data storage capabilities — including but not limited to MP3 players, tablet, computers, cell phones, memory cards and game systems — must be returned unopened and unused. If defective and opened, only exchange for an identical item is permitted.”
Other exceptions to the 90-day return window are tents, airbeds and electronic media but not limited to video games, DVDs and CDs, which must be returned unopened. If defective and opened, only exchange for an identical item is permitted. Items powered by flammable liquids or gas are subject to additional restrictions and fees up to $26.
You also can’t return alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, nicotine-based products, electronic cigarettes, prepaid or wireless phones.
At any store, a receipt may be needed in order to accept a return.
“It depends upon the store. Some will ask for it. Some will allow it as long as it was purchased there,” Parson said.
If you were expecting cash back, some places may only allow an exchange for another item or will refund your purchase through a gift card.
Parson’s biggest piece of advice: “Be patient with the stores. They’re trying to work as fast as they can, and get this through. And accept what their policy is, and don’t argue with them,” Parson said.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.