RALEIGH, N.C. — The holiday gift season has cleared out, but the post-Christmas mall traffic keeps pouring in. Many shoppers want to bag a big sale, but return counters are also seeing heavy traffic.
The week after Christmas is always busy for customer service. Debra Santoni and her daughter have several swaps to make.
"We have a lot of out-of-town families, so gifts we get, we have to return down here and everybody is very willing to exchange," she said.
The general rule is if you have a receipt, most stores will exchange or give you store credit, but they do not have to.
"Some receipts I did not have, and I did have to exchange a few things for less money than what they were purchased for, but that's to be expected," Santoni said.
Some stores like Merle Norman at Crabtree Valley Mall are more lenient.
"If you've got a receipt, we'll give you your money back," owner Bill Mansfield said.
Mansfield said a lenient exchange policy is one reason customers keep coming back. He will even take a purse bought at another store.
"If it's a basket we can use, we would exchange it. We wouldn't give them a refund because somebody else got their cash," he said.
Retailers do not have to give you a cash refund. They also do not have to take an item back at all unless it is defective. Most will give store credit, provided you have the receipt.
If you do not have a receipt and the item has since been marked down, you will only get credit for the sale price. Many retailers now provide gift receipts. They do not show the price, but allow the recipient to return the item for the price you paid. To avoid problems, check the store's written policy before you buy.