How to make your holiday returns process smooth and simple

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It doesn’t take long for the purchases made for the holidays to become returns. Sometimes the gifts we receive just aren’t quite right.

“We have little kids, so the sizing for clothing for them can be difficult, so there’s a chance that we have to go back to get the right size,” said Emily Ponte of Burlington.

The week after Christmas is when many stores see shoppers looking to make a swap.

“I would do them immediately, just because I like everything where it’s supposed to be. If it’s a real crowded day, I’m not going to get involved in that, I’ll wait a day, or two you know,” said Debbie Chojnicki of Newington.

There are some things you should know to make the returns process go smoothly.

Howard Schwartz from the Connecticut Better Business Bureau says studies have shown about 40 percent of us do some sort of exchange, return or get a store credit. It’s important to know a store’s return policy.

“It will tell you how long you have to return the gift, whether or not you can get a refund or just an exchange or a store credit. This should be prominently displayed on the cash register or in the store and definitely online, as well,” said Schwartz.

He says typically you have between one month and one year to make the return. He says it’s always best to have a receipt.

“Bring your receipts with you, because if you don’t many stores will give you a credit rather than a refund,” said Schwartz.

As far as the actual item you’re returning, Schwartz says to make sure you have the original packaging, especially when it comes to ever-popular electronics.

“The most important thing, if you’re getting an electronic device, if you don’t want it, don’t open up the packaging and that’s the hard shell plastic packaging, because if you do and bring it back to the store, you’re going to be charged with a restocking fee,” said Schwartz.

Stores do plan to work with customers because they know it’s the season of returns. The Paper Station in Newington says it wants to make sure its customers are happy to make it a win-win for the customer and the store.

“Here at The Paper Station, our return policy is if it’s an item we have sold you, if it’s defective, if it’s broken, if it doesn’t fit the person who’s received it, we’ll gladly accept it for a full return and you can either get store credit, you can get your money back, or a credit to your charge card, whatever is going to make the experience positive for all involved,” said Leon Davidoff from The Paper Station.

That seems to be what customers are hearing at many places.

“I think most stores now are just really trying to get the customers in a good place and be happy, and they welcome returns,” said Jacki Turner of Burlington.