NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — If you need to go back to the mall after Christmas to return that second toaster or gaudy scarf, get there early and bring the receipt.
Once the mad gift-giving dash is over, on to the return lines. Here are a few tips for stress-free returns from the customer service team at Patrick Henry Mall in Newport News, Va.
--Head to stores early. After-Christmas sales lure shoppers, but the earlier you get in line, the better.
--Bring as much information as possible. In addition to bringing the original receipt or gift receipt with you, bring any tags and packaging that the gift came in. Also, it doesn't hurt to call the store in advance to find out what their return policies are.
--Contact the store if you don't have the receipt. Some stores will be able to give out store credit.
Gift givers should keep these tips from the National Retail Federation in mind.
--Save and file all receipts. Although some retailers will allow returns without a receipt, having the original receipt or a gift receipt on hand ensures that the gift recipient receives the full value of the gift upon return.
--Get a few answers about online returns. If you purchased a gift online, you should always read the site's return policy. Some online retailers will pick up the shipping charges for exchanges, but not returns. If the retailer has a bricks and mortar store, it's nice to provide the recipient with an address.