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A Guide to Dealing With Gift Returns

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on December 21, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Experts predict the season's deep discounts will lead to deep return lines come January. Consumers binged on good deals, buying unnecessary items and cheaper duplicates.

Add to that the results of a Better Business Bureau survey and you can expect chaos. Approximately 1/3 of all consumers don't read return and exchange policies when making a purchase.

How are you going to prevent a post-holiday gift return nightmare?

If you're not sure, start here.

1. Post it and post it big. Most big-box stores post their return policy up high and behind the counter, but even those can be tough to read. Try posting your gift return policy closer to the line and in a font readable by even those who refuse to wear glasses.

2. List it out. The consumers who don't read return policies are probably turned off by dense paragraphs. Consider posting your policy in list form. Bold key terms, such as what items you will absolutely not take back.

3. Separate lines. If you can spare the employees, this is the best way to go. Returns in one line, purchases in another. It keeps the purchase line flowing, and both lines shorter.

4. Prepare returners. If the return line is long, ask customers to pull out whatever they'll need. Having credit cards, IDs and receipts ready will increase the flow and decrease the tempers.

5. Extend the policy. If things are crazy, consider adding a few weeks to your return deadline. Items bought in November or December only.

Whether you follow these tips or not, remember to keep calm. And to enforce your policy evenly. No returns should always mean no returns.

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