Many Happy Returns
The joy of the holidays. Your holiday season to-do list and gift giving ideas can be extensive but, in the end, the smiling faces of family and friends make it all worthwhile.
Except when they aren't smiling.
Sometimes the gift that you thought was going to be perfect, is not quite so. Here are some things you can do before and after your purchase that will help make your gift giving efforts a success:
- Check return policies. Although retailers are not required to take back items you have purchased, most do have return policies. Because each store and product is different, it is important to understand return, refund and exchange policies before making your holiday purchases.
- Keep your receipts. A valid receipt increases your chances of an even-value return. Retailers will rarely offer a refund without a receipt because they can't be sure of the date of the sale or how much you paid for the item. If the item went on sale, you may only receive credit or exchange value for the sale price when you have no receipt.
-- If you are shopping online, be sure you know who you are dealing with. Order well in advance of Christmas and be sure to get complete purchase information including delivery dates and arrangements as well as the company's return or cancellation policy. Also, be sure to print all web screens that are relevant to your online purchase. For more information about online shopping protections, see the website at www.gov.ns.ca/snsmr/consumer/pdf/OnlineShopping.pdf .
-- Repairs are often done instead of refunds or exchanges on large expensive items. This is usually explained in the product warranty. Read it carefully. Items such as this often come with a manufacturer's return policy which may override the retailer's.
- The first few days following Christmas are usually very busy for retailers. Some stores may not even offer refunds or exchanges at this time. It is best to call the retailer before heading to the store so you don't have to wait in long lines and can avoid the crowds.
- Gift receipts are a simple way to reduce gift-giving stress. Some retailers can print a duplicate receipt with just the item details, excluding the price you paid. These receipts are great for items like clothing. If you buy the wrong size, the recipient can exchange the item for the right size without knowing how much you spent and without seeing your credit card or other payment information.
- Gift certificates allow family and friends on your list to pick out something they really want and are a great way to avoid the hassle of returns.
- As always, start shopping early. Take advantage of sales throughout the year. You will have a better chance of getting something that everyone on your list will like.
For more information on consumer protections visit the Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations Consumer Information website at www.gov.ns.ca/snsmr or phone 1-800-670-4357.
kjd November 26, 2003 2:21 P.M.