Consumer Affairs Offers Tips About Returning Gifts

Wednesday, December 30, 2015 | 01:50pm

NASHVILLE - It’s likely you’ll be visiting retail counters this month to return or exchange those gifts that weren’t quite right. The Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance’s (TDCI) Division of Consumer Affairs wants to make consumers aware of Tennessee laws regarding retail returns and offer a few tips to prevent hassles and headaches at the cash register.

According to Tennessee law, retailers may set their own return policies. Stores may require a receipt or proof of purchase in order to offer a refund; some stores may also charge a restocking fee.

Here are some tips to consider when making a return:

If you know you intend to return a gift, keep original tags and bar codes on items to ensure ease of returning that item. You are more likely to receive a refund or the full value in store credit for packages that are unopened and in brand-new condition.

Some retailers have varied return timeframes for fresh food, electronics and holiday items. Also, return policies for clearance merchandise may be different than merchandise sold at full price.

Some retailers may charge a restocking fee for returns of electronics products or large-ticket items.

Look up the return policies when buying online or from catalogs to find out if you have to pay a return shipping fee. Sometimes merchandise can be returned to a store instead of the online merchant.

Bring the gift receipt when requesting a refund, exchange, or store credit.

Bring your identification. Some retailers implement a rigid requirement that customers present a government-issued ID for all returns and exchanges.

Look up the store’s return and exchange policy online, and then be sure to bring the item back to the store before the period expires. Around the holidays, many major retailers institute policies that sensibly make it easy for recipients to bring items back after Dec. 25.

Check with the retailer to make sure you understand whether you can receive a refund, exchange or store credit for the unwanted merchandise.

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