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Shoppers Alert - Keep the Receipt!

Retailers Clamp Down on Returning Merchandise

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A large majority of us will spend the week scurrying in and out of stores looking to complete our holiday shopping. Let's face it, buying someone a gift is like betting on a football game; sometimes it is a winner and sometimes a definite loser.

Shoppers have enjoyed liberal return policies in past years, however those times are changing. Retailers are clamping down and enforcing time limits, asking for proof-of-purchase, adding restocking fees and only offering exchanges based on the current selling price of the item being returned.

Keeping up with your receipts will make returning unwanted gifts convenient to the gift recipient. Since finding the right gift is a 50/50 proposition, why not make the return process hassle free by providing the right documentation enclosed with your gifts. The person getting the gift will appreciate your diligence.

The Gift Receipt

Many stores are now offering a "gift" receipt on which the cost of the item cannot be seen. This allows you to enclose the receipt in your gift box without disclosing how much you paid for the item. It offers the person getting the gift the opportunity to know where to make an exchange or a return. It also gives the retailer the ability to determine the necessary information needed for processing returns such as, proof of purchase, the amount that was paid for the item and how the item was paid for.

Get Back What You Paid

In the next few weeks, retailers will be aggressively dropping prices in order to meet their end-of-year sales plans. Promotions will be changing and special offers and incentives on specific products will be offered. Without a receipt, most retailers will only offer the current selling price for returns and exchanges. That means if you bought a sweater for $35, it is now on the rack for $20, and you do not have a receipt to prove what you paid, you will be out $15.

Product Guarantee Agreements

The other important factor behind keeping and offering receipts with your gifts is that many items fall under low-price guarantees or product warranties. Without proof of purchase the guarantees often become worthless.

Shopping Online?

If you plan to shop online and have your gifts mailed to the recipients, it is always a good idea to print out the receipt when you make your purchase. Often times online shoppers fail to take this step because they expect to receive a copy of the receipt in their email. However, email glitches or computer crashes can often wipe out email folders. By printing the receipt you will always have a hard copy in case you need it.

Staying Organized

If you have not done so already, get yourself organized and find a special place to keep your receipts for you holiday purchases. If you have already lost track of a few, contact the retailer and see if you can get a duplicate especially for larger ticket items.

Remember, the burden of proof-of-purchase is on you, not the retailer.

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