How to Navigate Holiday Returns

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Written by Kelli Grant

Buyer’s remorse may be easy to remedy this holiday season — just remember to mark your calendar for holiday returns!

Retailer return policies are more apt to fall on the “nice” list rather than “naughty,” according to a new report from advocacy site, which has studied store return policies around the holidays for the past 15 years.

Figuring out holiday returns, how to get a refund, and all the store return policies can be tough. Here's a guide to figuring it out once and for all!


To make sure you know what to expect, confirm the details of the store’s return policy online before you head out, said shopping expert Trae Bodge of That can help you figure out your chances of a successful return, and whether you might encounter twists such as restocking charges or return shipping fees. A return might not be worth the effort.

“Weigh your options, and decide if reselling or regifting is a better option for you to get the value back,” she said.

It helps to have not just the receipt, but as much of the original packaging and tags as you can find, she said.

“Make sure that what you’re returning is in as salable condition as possible,” Bodge said.

Another item to pack? Patience. Customer service representatives may have some leeway to bend the policy or accept a return at their discretion, she said — and you can’t expect to receive such a favor if you’re rude.


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Smart Shopping Expert

Trae Bodge is an accomplished lifestyle journalist, TV presenter, spokesperson, and educator, specializing in beauty, tech, apps, toys, gift guides, and smart shopping. She has appeared as an expert on dozens of TV shows and radio networks, including Today, Rachael Ray Show, Inside Edition, CNN, Reuters,, Sirius Radio, and numerous FOX, ABC, CBS and NBC affiliates. Trae has been featured as a beauty tastemaker in Elle, Redbook, InStyle, and Essence, and her work has appeared on Yahoo Finance, Marketwatch,,,,