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Better Business Bureau offers advice for returning, exchanging gifts

CHARLOTTE ó It happens every year, you get or give one or more gifts that just aren’t quite right. You can either re-gift the present or you can return or exchange it for something more appropriate. A survey by The National Retail Federation showed that more than one in three consumers, 37.6 percent, are expected to return at least some portion of their holiday gifts.
The same survey indicated that nearly three in ten (29 percent) consumers don’t carefully read return and exchange policies when making a purchase in a store or online. “Not every retailer has the same return policy and some establishments even implement separate policies around special sales and holidays,” said BBB President Tom Bartholomy. “We encourage you to carefully read and make sure you understand any and all policies that come with your purchases.”
The BBB has the following advice for returns and exchanges:
n Make sure you keep receipts. If you are giving the purchase as a gift, ask for a gift receipt and enclose it with the present.
n Read the retailer’s return policy before you purchase products. Make sure you understand whether you, or the recipient of your gift, can get a refund, exchange or store credit for unwanted merchandise. Also, if returns are permitted, ask what procedures and timeframe need to be followed.
n Understand what the return policies are for on-sale and clearance items, which may be different than merchandise sold at full price.
n Don’t remove electronics or similar products from their boxes before wrapping because the original packaging may be required for a return.
n Some merchants charge a restocking or “open box” fee for returns of electronics products or large-ticket items. Make sure you know if the store has such a charge.
n Be sure to look for return policies when buying online or from catalogs. Sometimes merchandise can be returned to a store or you may be charged a shipping fee to return or exchange an item.
n Instead of returning those gifts that are not quite right, consider donating them to charity. You will get a tax deduction and the good feeling of giving to others during the holiday season. For more information, please visit www.bbb.org or call the BBB at 1-877-317-7236 toll-free in N.C. and S.C.

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