Tips For Stressless Holiday Returns

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Knoxville (WVLT) - Return policies are changing every day, meaning just going into swap something for the right size might leave you holding the same bag.

WVLT Volunteer TV's Stacy McCloud brings you tips for quick and easy returns.

Buyers beware. We don't live in a "30 days after you buy you can return it" world anymore.

Here at La Nique the magic number is five.

Since they're known for their unique selection of stylish shoes, it's a policy they say they must have.

"We try to keep a continuous flow of new shoes in here at all times and in order to do that we have to get the old shoes out so we can't continue to have our old shoes coming back in," says Joan Bailey, a sales associate at La Nique.

Even if there isn't a day limit, every store still has rules.

For example at some stores, no receipt means no return, and in many cases no exchange even if you just need a different size.

"Somebody is going to open it and be like 'uh this doesn't fit' and just be out of luck," Bailey says.

Here are some things that you can do now to keep your holiday returns happy:

Don't just read the return policy signs. Some stores relax those rules during the holidays, some are more strict.

When you checkout, ask for a gift receipt. Wrap it with your purchase and they won't know what you spent, but will have a stress free return.

That is if they don't open it or use it. This is especially true if you get a CD or DVD. Most can't be exchanged or returned if they've been opened, used, or worn.

Last, know your return history. Some stores make a return decision using a tracking system.

The moral of the story here, ask upfront, always get a gift receipt, and when needed, return in a hurry.

Oh and read between the lines, those sale items are often excluded.

More Tips For Happier Holiday Returns:

1. Know your return rights. Ask don't assume, policies can change quickly.

2. Deadlines Vary. 30 days is no longer the general rule. Some stores give you two weeks, some just a few days. So if you don't like it, return it immediately!

3. Gift Receipts, Gift Receipts , Gift Receipts!!! Did we make that clear enough?? You can request one with every purchase you make. It's a receipt that has all the information someone would need to return something, without the price you paid. This ensures they can return or exchange the merchandise and in most cases get it for the price you paid. (remember December 26th prices go way

4. Don't Open That Box!! If tags are gone, seals are broken, or boxes open many retailers won't let you return or exchange the item. If they do then you may have to pay a hefty "open box fee" or "restocking fee".

5. Be diligent of your return/exchange history. Many stores use different kinds of tracking systems to keep tabs of your returns. These systems can tell the dollar amount and if you had your receipt or not. Some places cut you off after a certain number of no receipt returns or just returns in general. Chances are if they ask for your credit/debit card or an ID, you're being tracked.
You can call 1-800-652-2331 to see if anyone has a file on you!

6. Know What Card You Swiped. If you are returning something you bought yourself many stores will treat the card you bought it on like a receipt.

7. Be Flexible. If you don't have a receipt some stores will be nice and allow you to get store credit or exchange your item for something the same price in the same department.

8. Be kind. There are times when it's not always up to the boss. If you are being kind, are a faithful customer, or AREN'T shopping at peak hours, employees may be more likely to work with you.

9. Got a gift card you don't want? Check out places like,, or -- these are places you can swap your card for something more your type. Just be careful, there are many "gift card scams" out there right now.

10. Sell or Donate it. Remember there are always online auction sites. Your trash may be someone else's treasure! If you don't think it's worth the hassle, that same rule applies to charity. It may not be your taste, but someone else may love it!

11. I can't believe I'm saying this but Re-gift it. See the East Tennessee This Morning section of our web page for real re-gifting tips and even etiquette on how to do it right!