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Got unwanted holiday gifts? Tips for easing the return process

Shoppers cross a pedestrian walkway near Macy's in Herald Square in New York.

You're not alone if you unwrapped something this morning you can't wait to get rid of.

According to a 2017 survey by the National Retail Federation, almost two-thirds of shoppers made at least one return last holiday season.

Consumer Reports found J.C. Penny, Kohl’s and Bed Bath & Beyond have generous return policies, but you may have a tougher time at stores like Forever 21, Kmart, and Sears. At those stores, you only have 30 days after purchase to get an exchange or refund, and you need a receipt.

Electronic stores like Best Buy and Apple have even stricter return policies.

If you’re set on returning a gift:

  • Don't open the box, or you may have to pay a restocking fee.
  • Keep gift receipts.
  • Check the store's return policies and note any time limits.
  • Don't forget to bring your ID because some stores will scan your license to prevent fraud.
  • Be nice. At some stores, returns are granted on a case-by-case basis.

If you can’t return or exchange a gift, consider selling it on a website like EBay, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace.

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