Received an unwanted Christmas gift? Follow our expert advice on the best way to return it

It’s not always easy choosing the right holiday gifts for people, and we’ve all received something we couldn’t ever imagine using at one point or another. But we’ve also all experienced how returning unwanted gifts can be a major headache. Luckily, Senior Deals Strategist Jason Higgs from Bountii has shared some specialist tips with us on becoming a gift-returning pro.

Check Out The Store Policies

Many retailers have specific holiday return policies offering extended time frames that you can take advantage of. However, these can vary significantly in terms of deadlines and condition requirements, so make sure to read the policies carefully before making a trip to the store or sending off your item in the post.

Receipts Are Gold

Store policies vary as to whether refunds can be made without a receipt, but a retailer is much more likely to accept a return with one than without, so make sure to keep that receipt safe if the gifter includes it.

If one isn’t available, check if the store will accept a return for store credit or an exchange. Some shops may track purchases electronically, offering more flexibility for returns.

Seek Help With Online Purchases

If an item was bought online only the gifter will have the return information, so you’ll have to approach them if you want a refund. They would have to check if the item needs to be shipped back, or if in-store returns are possible. The giver would also have to study the online retailer’s return policy, including any restocking fees or shipping costs.

Of course, in this scenario the person who gifted the item will know you didn’t like it, so think carefully about whether admitting this will cause offense before asking them to help you with a return. If you’d rather they not know you didn’t like their gift, you could always try re-gifting or donating the item.

Pursue Store Credit

In instances where refunds aren’t available, receiving store credit is a common alternative. However, it’s important to note any expiration dates or limitations on its use so that you don’t end up missing your chance to buy something more to your taste.

Exchange Unwanted Gifts

This approach can be particularly useful for items that you like but are the wrong size or color. Before approaching the seller, always check their exchange policy. Some stores may offer more flexibility for exchanges compared to returns, so exchanging can sometimes be the smarter option.

The Etiquette of Gift Returns

Some people are quite comfortable knowing their gift didn’t hit the mark, whereas for others this might cause offense or knock their confidence. Returning a gift should therefore always be handled sensitively to avoid offending the giver. When speaking to them, approach the situation with gratitude. Acknowledge the thought behind the gift, while sensitively explaining the need for a return or exchange. Also, remain polite when speaking with store assistants; many don’t have any say on store policies regarding returns, so it’s not fair to take out your frustration on them if you don’t get the answer you want.

Jason says, ‘Following the right practices will increase your chances of returning an unwanted gift.’ If you’re unsuccessful, however, remember that there may be someone else who’d like it. Re-gifting or donating an unwanted gift can give someone else the chance to enjoy it!