Sometimes you have to take back and exchange or return those items you received for Christmas and there are a few tips that can save you aggravation or possibly score you MORE money!

Here are six key items you need to know before you head out to make those returns:

Bring Identification

This is almost a No-Brainer and you probably will already have this with you when you drive there… but knowing to have it out and ready to hand over will save you frustration. This year retailers are dealing with higher fraud ($3.6 BILLION in return fraud) so most are asking for identification when making a return. It’s also a good idea to bring the credit or debit card with you that you originally used in case they need it to get your full refund.

Be Prompt

There are deadlines for making those returns and they might be shorter than you originally thought! Returning items must be a priority or you could lose money! Most stores only give you 30 days to return items for a full refund.

That means today you should put a calendar reminder on your phone and plan a shopping date to return or exchange anything. DO NOT OPEN those gifts if you are unsure you will keep it. Open packages could cost you up to 50% in restocking fees. Read your receipt to check what you will encounter so that you are not surprised when you get to the store.

Best Buy has shortened their return window with a deadline of January 15th (with a few exclusions). Amazon will charge you 20% if the item is past the Jan 31st Deadline (and it must still be in its original packaging).

Do Not Cut The Plastic

If you are given Software, Movies, Music or Computer Games and there is a chance you might not want it, do not open it.

If that plastic wrap is sliced open, you will most likely be charged a fee to return it, or the store might not take it back altogether and require you only exchange it for the same item (as if it was defective).

Don’t lose out just because you wanted to open that box and read the instruction booklet to make sure you don’t want it. Do your research online instead and withstand the intrigue to open it up!

Have A Backup Copy

Receipts are absolutely necessary to have for an item you are returning in order not to lose money.

Without a receipt, they can give you store credit for the lowest price that item was ever sold for. Some retailers will not even allow a return whatsoever without a receipt.

Use your SmartPhone to take a photo of your receipts as you are making purchases in case you should misplace them with the hustle and bustle of the holiday. That way you can print it or could show it on your phone to the cashier. Most stores offer to email your receipt to you in addition to printing them. That’s excellent because then you have another extra copy on hand.

Return Strategy

If you find that an item you purchased after Christmas is now at an even lower price, call the store and ask if you can bring your receipt and receive the difference!

Some stores will need you to bring your item back, but some will just require the receipt and you can save a little more! Most stores price match their own prices within a 14 day period so you can get a little extra something for yourself!

Know Where You Can Go

If you purchased an item online and the merchant has a brick-and-mortar counterpart, check their website to see if you can take the item back to the store to save repackaging & shipping fees! Usually, you can, but in some instances, you will pay a restocking fee. So make sure you know before you go!

Finally, if you’re unable to return an item, you can always consider donating to a local charity.

Have more tips when you make returns? Comment below!

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Sometimes you have to take back and exchange or return those Christmas gifts. Here are some tips that can save you aggravation or possibly score you MORE money!