You'll probably be returning at least 1 Christmas present in the next week or so. The stores will be crowded, so BBB's Emily Valla has good reminders of things you should do beforehand so you don't waste your time:
Today may be very crowded at the stores, but at least you’re being timely. That’s one of the most important things to keep in mind when making returns. Many stores will have a 30 or 90 day return policy, and when an item is a gift, that policy may vary.
Also, keep in mind, stores do not have to take refunds or returns. It’s up to the individual business. Some stores also won’t allow returns on certain items, like clearance or sale products. Health laws also may prevent some types of clothing to be returned, even with tags on.
Of course, if you have it, your receipt is your ticket to the easiest possible exchange. If you don’t have a receipt or gift receipt, some stores may allow you to exchange for an identical item, if it’s faulty or the wrong size, or the store may allow you to return for store credit. Some stores track returns without a receipt and limit the dollar amount you can return in a year. You may have to provide your Driver’s License or another form of identification.
In addition, keep all original packaging. Most DVD’s or CD’s need to be fully sealed in order to get money back, and generally electronics need to be in original packaging. Keep the tags on clothing until you are sure the item fits and you like it.
If the item is from an online store, you may not be able to return it to a brick- and-mortar store. It may be worth reading the online policy before you take the trek down to the mall. If an item needs to be shipped back to the seller, be prepared to pay shipping costs, and get that tracking number! No matter how you return the product, hang on to all documentation, like receipts, confirmation numbers, etc, until you have received your money back.