How to Refund and Exchange Your Gift or Unwanted Purchases

Everyone returns a gifts or careful purchases from time to time. Probably not enough. It may not match your taste. You either voluntarily ordered something (or bought something very good) and now you are sorry for the buyer. Or maybe you just read a book praising the good of minimalism and want to give it the same life. Whether it’s a great creative gift from a relative or your zealous Amazon Prime orders, the good news is that you can easily recoup things.

No matter what you think about returning something, you are not alone. The Objectives of the National Retail Federation that approximately $ 428 billion U.S. sales were reimbursed by 2020, accounting for about 10 percent of total sales. During the holidays, about two thirds of the givers return the item.

“Buyers are accustomed to returning their goods,” said Larisa Summers, vice president of trade and ecommerce at Optoro, a platform that helps retailers like Target and Staples reimburse refunds. “I think a lot of consumers are unaware of how difficult it is for retailers.”

You might think the returned goods are stored on the shelf where they came from, but Summers said this happens about half the time. In some cases, returned items are sold to other sellers – or worse, discarded. Optoro estimates that 5 billion pounds of reclaimed items can be lost each year.

So if you are returning a holiday gift or a purchase, do so in a discreet and responsible way. Being wise about repaying brings the best gift: home and an affordable planet.

Updated December 2021: Most of our return tips are still available; we have added a few vendors and changed the return policies.


First thing first: You have more time than you think. While “30 days after the purchase period” is a good year-round plan, many retailers change their return date near the buyer’s holiday to receive a return. We have also seen repeated plans being developed as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 epidemic.

Make sure you pack your luggage with all the tags, accessories, and original accessories if possible. Unless you are exchanging items for a problem, make sure your item is in good condition. Goods returned in its original packaging and are in good condition and are easy to resell, Summers said. Without prior settings, there is a good chance that the items will be discarded.

Bring your receipt back, especially if it is a gift receipt. Often, owning one makes it easier and more convenient for you to earn some money or a rental shop. Some stores will work with you to collect information on orders if you have lost your receipt. For some retailers, you will not have the opportunity. Some retailers require you to show them an ID, so be sure to bring it back.

Summer encourages you to share why you are returning the business. Marketers take these responses seriously, as they help them reduce their profits next year.

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