SAN ANTONIO — The season of giving is done, and now begins the season of returns. Sara Skirboll, a shopping expert with Retail Me Not, said contactless returns are growing in popularity.
“A lot of stores are now accepting returns curbside,” she said.
Just make sure you know the return policy.
“Always make sure you’re reading the fine print,” Skirboll said. “You want to make sure you know exactly when you need to get that return back. You want to make sure it’s in the right condition. You want to make sure that you don’t have to pay for that return. If you do have to pay for the return, how much is it going to be? Are you sure the items didn’t come with a return shipping label? All very important.”
Plus having the receipt is handy, but if you don't have one, don't worry.
“There are quite a few stores who take your returns back. No questions asked. You’re probably not going to get your money back because you didn’t pay for that item, but you might be able to exchange for a different size, exchange for a different style, something like that. Or, in many cases, get a gift card,” Skirboll said.
She suggested being kind to sales associates when initiating a return for the best results.
“A polite ask, a genuine smile, a kind request go a very long,” Skirboll said.
Return windows are longer this year for many retailers. Alyssa Bronikowski said Amazon will take returns until January 31, 2021.
“We’ve extended the return window so customers have even more time to decide to whether or not they want to keep that gift. We’ve made returns even easier at Whole Foods Market stores across the country with a label-free, box-free return option,” she said.
Start your return on Amazon’s website or app to find out the easiest return option for you.
“They’ll see a list of convenient drop off locations, or the option to ship an item back,” Bronikowski said.
But, do not wait until the last minute to make a return. Expect shipping delays to continue if you return by mail.
“Now with COVID, because there is a shipping delay, that’s also affecting returns and even refunds. Shoppers need to be prepared that you might not get your refund within two days or four days,” Skirboll said. “It may take 10 days or 14 days.”
And if you're gifted an item you feel isn't suited for you, there could be someone else who wants it.
“You might consider re-gifting. Maybe there’s someone else who might want your item that you don’t necessarily want or consider donating to charity,” Skirboll said.
The best time to return will be after January 1. That's because there should be fewer crowds and fewer returns coming to retailers.
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