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Still Have Holiday Returns? Here Are 3 Ways to Make Taking Them Back Easier

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Taking back items is almost as big a holiday ritual as gift-giving — in fact, 75 percent of consumers returned presents last year. Here, are three ways on how to do holiday returns.

Visit a drop-off center.

During the holiday season, Americans usually spend more than $700 billion online.

While convenient, online shopping can make returns a hassle. Before shelling out for return shipping, check if the retailer offers returns for free if you bring the item to a pick-up location. Amazon, for example, offers free returns if the item is dropped off at an Amazon locker (Amazon.com/FindALocker), Kohl’s, or a UPS store.

“If the product is defective or doesn’t fit, just contact customer service and ask to have the return charges refunded,” says Julie Ramhold of DealNews.com. “When something is wrong with an item, they’re willing to work with you.”

Use this app.

If Santa forgot the gift receipt, don’t worry! Just download the ShopSavvy or Red Laser app. “Scan the product’s barcode with your phone, and the app will tell you which stores sell it, so you’ll know where to bring it back to,” says Ramhold. Many stores — including Walmart, Kohl’s, and JCPenney — will take returns without a receipt, and depending on the value, may either refund you cash or in-store credit. “If you have more than one store option, just pick the one with the easiest return policy.” More good news: Most retailers are lengthening the return time this year, says savings strategist Bethany Hollars (BrickSeek.com).

Exchange for cash.

Many retailers such as Target, Macy’s, and Costco will give you cash in exchange for gift cards if you go to the store and ask. “You might not get the full amount, but you could wind up with 75 percent to 95 percent of the value,” says Lana Blanc, a New York City — based personal shopper. Another trick? If the store has a decent refund policy on items other than gift cards, buy something at the store for the full value of the gift card, then return the item and ask for the refund in cash. Also smart: Download the Raise app, which lets you sell a gift card in exchange for cash or a different card.

This article originally appeared in our print magazine.

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