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7 tips for returning electronics gifts

7 tips for returning electronics gifts

Did you buy or receive any electronics gifts that your recipient or you just can’t use this holiday? It’s the thought that counts—and you’re thinking about how you can return them. We’ve already advised on returning gifts in general, but electronics are a special case. With that in mind, here are some tips to bear in mind if you’re bringing back unwanted tech presents.

1. Check the returns windows. Many stores have regular return policies of 60 days or longer. But you often don’t have that long a time to return electronics. Still, many retailers understand that returns are just a part of the holiday season and plan accordingly. For example, some stores will allow for an extension that begins the day after Christmas. Using certain credit cards may automatically extend the return window as well.

2. Know what you can and can’t return. Opened software, for example—including video games, audio CDs and movies—usually isn’t returnable, though you should be able to exchange it if it’s defective. At any rate, you’ll want to be informed before you head to the store.

3. Keep everything that came in the package. Tearing the wrapping paper is part of Christmas, so have at it. And in most cases, even torn shrinkwrap shouldn’t be a problem, as long as it’s not media like a CD or DVD (except in the case of restocking fees; see below). Regardless, you don’t want to show up at the returns counter missing some of the accessories or the manual.

4. Bring the right documentation. You’ll need a receipt in most cases, especially when it comes to electronics. (Ask for a gift receipt when buying items.) You may also need to show ID of some kind, like a driver’s license; some stores are keeping track to see if certain customers are “serial returners” over a given period of time.

5. Clear private info off the device. If you got so far as to move information, even your contacts, onto a new phone or tablet, don’t forget to delete it. Erase Android devices by heading to Settings > Privacy > Factory Data Reset, and format Apple devices via iTunes on your PC or Mac.

6. Hold off on the rebate offers. If the item you bought comes with a mail-in rebate, make sure you’re keeping the item before tearing the UPC code off of the box. Otherwise, you won’t be able to return the item later, even if you never sent in for the rebate.

7. Watch the restocking fees. More than with other kinds of gifts, retailers are quick to charge “restocking” fees of 10 to 25 percent for returned electronics if they’ve been opened.

5 tips for easy returns of unwanted holiday gifts

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