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December 23rd, 2009
07:56 AM ET

The Gift Return Game

Gift returns – as much a part of the holidays now as gift buying. Stores are stricter this year than ever. Lose a receipt, open the cellophane, clip off a tag and you may be out of luck.

At 10:30 this morning, Fredricka will interview “Tightwad” Tod Marks from Consumer Reports. He has some tips for hassle-free returns. But we want to hear your strategies and stories too. Ever talked your way into returning an un-returnable gift? Ever been offered 1 penny for a $50 item because you didn't have the receipt? The good, the bad, the funny – we want to hear it all.

Post your stories here and Fredricka will read some of them on the air during the 10am ET hour of Newsroom.

Filed under: Fredricka Whitfield • Heidi Collins
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    I would hope that consumers make exchanges this year instead of cash refunds I was in retail sales all my life and I can tell you to many cash refunds could shut the doors on your favorite store so keep your stuff this year.

    December 23, 2009 at 8:25 am |
  2. Michelle Stalnos

    Shortly after Christmas last year I went to Wal-Mart to return a bunch of clothes my son received as a gift. None of the clothes fit him so my plans were to exchange them for larger sizes instead of getting a refund. After waiting in the return line for well over an hour, a lady at the register told me that the items couldn’t be returned even for an exchange because all the tags were removed from the clothes. Little did I know that my son ripped every tag off when trying the clothes on not thinking they would have to be exchanged. At that point and very upset I walked back to the children’s section and found a larger size of every matching piece of clothes that I had brought with me to the store. I got back in line and waited over another hour till it was finally my turn. I flopped the clothes on the counter and told the employee that I want the clothes exchanged; I found all the right sizes, waited over two hours in line and am not leaving the store unless they are able to exchange them. My persistence paid off and was able to exchange them only because I was lucky enough to find exact matches in larger sizes. Needless to say I am a BIG fan of gift cards.

    December 23, 2009 at 9:21 am |
  3. Mark Sprouse

    Fredricka, two years ago for Christmas I asked my daughter to get me a pair of hunting boots from Wal-Mart. I'd already looked at their selection and found the correct size, brand and style to suit me. I'd looked at them and they seemed suitably rugged for the task they were designed for. Just as importantly, they were within my daughter's limited means.

    She did get the boots for me. In the process of breaking them in, the back seam in the boots broke, making them useless for their intended purpose. I returned them to the Wal-Mart where she purchased them and got another pair. Two weeks later the replacement boots broke in the same place! I knew Gabrielle would be heartbroken if she knew so I never mentioned it to her and eventually replaced them with a different pair of boots. I kept the second set and wear them around the house as slippers. When life hands you lemons, sometimes you have to make lemonade. Despite the shoddyness of their construction I cherish the boots as a heartfelt gift from my daughter. Intentions count as well.

    December 23, 2009 at 9:42 am |
  4. Brandy

    Having been on both sides of the return counter, I have to say that niceness really counts! You've been waiting in line for an hour, but they've been standing there for 5! Try to be courteous and if you got a gift receipt, have it ready. If not, be patient and allow the staff to do their job. It's a rough time of year for retail people, especially this year with less help and more to do!

    December 23, 2009 at 10:16 am |
  5. D. Cruz

    Many people during this time of year are looking to exchange unwanted gifts, I work at a retail store our policy is to ask for a reciept always since the item can be stolen . In some cases u might be able to exchange.

    P.S. Fredricka is so beautiful & classy = ]

    December 23, 2009 at 10:16 am |
  6. Jonathan Z

    I've been working retail for about 2 years, specifically returns. I believe that return policies are easy, but have to be read closely. Many customers get upset when they are turned away but they don't follow return policies. Being on both sides of the counter really helps me as a consumer make smarter purchases and teaches me to question sales clerk on what is acceptable to return. It is true that how nice you are really helps, return customers have to understand they been in line for about 30minutes but the clerk has been dealing with issues for hours at times even taking insults from customers. It's all about patience and truly understanding the policies of the store you are at. it's not that we don't want customers to get what they want or return, it's that we have to do our job and follow the policies we are told to enforce.

    December 23, 2009 at 10:52 am |
  7. Evelyn Case

    I had ordered a eco memory foam mattress topper from
    It was not the right size at all and I did not want to use it, to see if it would right itself on the bed. I wrote to consumer service. They had sent the wrong size, apologized, let me keep the wrong size and shipped another via UPS. WoW I was impressed and happy.

    December 23, 2009 at 10:55 am |
  8. Felix

    One issue that really concerns me about merchandise returns is the rebate process for certain electronic equipment. Some manufactures require consumers to cut and include the UPC code from the package when submitting the rebate form. However, once the UPC code is cut or removed from the package, the item cannot be returned to the retailer for a refund or exchange. This is a bad practice by manufactures that, in my opinion, may be costing consumers millions of dollars.

    December 23, 2009 at 11:35 am |
  9. Arlene Stevenson

    MAN!!!!!!! The dance had me ROTFLMSS! (Rolling on the floor laughing my sides sore) Thank you for that. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

    December 23, 2009 at 12:56 pm |
  10. Susanne

    I do not feel safe now on flights. We travel from Florida to San Diego which takes in Denver, Salt Lake City and Kansas City.

    What is disturbing to us is the "no fly list". His father, a reputable and influencial banker could not alert U.S. officials of our danger.
    We need to know the changes and the procedures to change this list so that we can be alerted to these dangerous characters.

    To have to rely on passangers to stop these events is crazy. Why don't we have air marshalls on each flight as a secure measure so that he can be watching movements of the passangers.

    We are waiting to hear that these concerns are addressed.

    We traveled by Amtrak while in California. There is no security measures whatsoever. We encountered none. Do we have to wait for a tragedy?

    December 28, 2009 at 11:00 am |