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Christmas return clock ticking down: Making sure you're prepared if you have return gifts

Being prepared for returning Christmas gifts
Being prepared for returning Christmas gifts 01:56

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - So, you got something for Christmas that you aren't over enamored with and perhaps you're considering returning it. 

If so, you need to know that time is limited and your reception at the store might be a bit chilly. 

Retailers welcome us in their stories in person or online and will gladly fill our holiday gifting needs but when it comes to taking those gifts back...

"There is a clock ticking but thankfully, most retailers allow people to return until at least mid-January, that's what I would shoot for," explained Smart Shopping Expert Trae Bodge. "Some retailers are more generous and they'll give you until the end of January."

It's also up to the retailer's generosity if you can't prove the purchase. 

 "Sadly, there's not a guarantee without a gift receipt," she said. 

Part of the tough policy on returns is born out of a growing online trend to buy multiples and send back what you don't want. 

"Their returns are so huge," she explained. "They are up significantly year over year and so retailers are cracking down." 

Bodge said over 40 percent now charge return shipping or restocking fees. 

"Without a gift receipt, you are going to receive the current sale price of that item," Bodge said. 

So understanding that the retailers have the upper hand, try some gentle negotiation. Bodge said they would be likely to give you more value on the item if you were willing to take store credit instead of cash or credit card refund. 

As we said, no receipt means you're at the mercy of the retailer. 

Finally, it pays to know the retailer's policy in advance, so make sure you check that out before you try to return an item. 

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