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Businesses offer gift return guidelines

Yes Virginia, you do have to have a receipt to return your gift from Santa.

Area retailers are gearing up for the second biggest retail day of the year — Dec. 26 — and the majority of them require a receipt for gift return.

According to the National Retail Federation, electronic devices such as computers, camcorders and digital cameras are on a majority of Christmas lists. A minefield list of do and don’t items from retailers should help customers make exchanges and returns with a minimum of frustration.

Best Buy in Knoxville managers did not return phone calls for information, but the company Web site detailed return policies and specifics. According to the Web site, Best Buy encourages customers to keep all receipts for holiday purchases. For all purchases made from Nov. 1 through Dec. 24, the following policy applies for holiday returns and exchanges:

• Notebook and desktop computers can be returned up to 14 days from the original purchase date.

•Customers have until Jan. 8 to return or exchange monitors, projectors, camcorders, digital cameras, radar detectors and video games purchased as used.

• Customers have until Jan. 24 to return or exchange all other products.

If you happen to have been given the same gift by two people, such as an Ipod, the Web site states an in-store credit will be issued for a gift receipt in the amount of the original purchase price.

There is a 15 percent restocking fee on opened notebook computers, projectors, camcorders, digital cameras, radar detectors, GPS/navigation and in-car video systems.

Chris Cline, operations manager for Circuit City at 151 N. Peters Road, said they have a 15 percent restocking fee for opened technology items, such as computers.

“We’ve extended our return days to January six for technology and January twenty six for all other items,” he said.

Cline said refunds and in-store credit are often issued, depending on the situation.

“We usually don’t have too many returns after Christmas because we ask a lot of qualifying questions of our customers before we equip them,” he said.

The store plans to have three lanes available for gift refund and exchange, he said. There will be a line for technology, one for entertainment and another for general exchange.

“The past couple of Christmases have gone real smooth,” he said.

CompUSA, just up the road from Circuit City, has a similar return policy. According to their Web site, if you return the product with the original receipt or invoice within 21 days from the original purchase or invoice date, you may exchange the product or receive a refund. Computers, monitors, printers, projectors, camcorders and cameras may be returned within 14 days from the original purchase or invoice date and are subject to a 15 percent restocking fee if opened (unless defective). Opened software, games and videos may only be exchanged for the same title. All items must be in new condition, with the original box, packaging, manuals, accessories, and UPC code. Refunds will be made in the form of original payment. Purchases made by cash or check over $250 will be refunded by check from the corporate office within 10 business days.

Chris Johnson, manager of Wal-Mart on Parkside Drive, said he expects returns to go smoothly after Christmas.

“Our general return policy is still in place for the holidays, but we’re generally more lenient about returns this time of year,” he said.

All merchandise purchased from may be returned either to a store or by mail within 90 days of receiving it, unless otherwise noted below. Additional guidelines are also noted below and include several main departments.

• All apparel, shoes and accessories items: 90 days with receipt and merchandise must be unworn, with tickets attached, and accompanied by the original pack list/invoice.

• CDs, DVDs, audiotapes, videotapes and video games: Must be returned unopened.

• Books: Must be returned unused and unmarked.

• Computer hardware: Must be returned with any included software within 15 days of receipt.

• Computer components and computer accessories: Must be returned within 45 days of receipt.

• Computer software: Must be returned unopened.

• Camcorders and digital cameras: Must be returned within 30 days of receipt.

• GPS Units, Digital Music Players and Portable Video Players: May be returned for refund or exchange with receipt within 15 days.

If a customer is given two of the same items for Christmas, providing they were purchased from Wal-Mart, he said they could get in- store credit or a refund.

“It all depends,” he said. “We take each return on a case-by-case basis.”

Johnson said the store would have its service desk as well as several registers equipped for returns.

“I don’t anticipate long lines for returns,” he said.

Target has a return policy similar to that of Wal-Mart. Its Web site said the company will issue a full refund for most items returned within 90 days in new condition, with the original receipt or packing slip, packaging and


• Music, movies, video games, software and collectibles must be returned unopened.

• Camcorders, digital cameras, portable DVD players and portable electronics are subject to a 15 percent restocking fee.

• Holiday and seasonal merchandise on clearance at the time of the return will be refunded at the current clearance price.

• Any purchase made by check may be refunded as a merchandise voucher.

• Refund value for each item returned will be reduced to reflect value of free gift or discount.

All other returns or exchanges — including those without a receipt — will be offered manufacturers’ warranty and repair assistance at 800-303-0308.

Sometimes customers don’t have a receipt, but Target officials said that isn’t a problem. In most instances, Target stores can verify purchases made within the last 90 days on a store account or third-party charge account.

check or GiftCard using our unique Receipt Look-up system.


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