According to the National Retail Federation, nearly half of holiday gift-givers attach a receipt to their presents, making electronic gift returns easier -- but that could depend on where shoppers return those gifts.
Depending on the retailer, products purchased anytime from Nov. 1 to Dec. 24 can be returned anytime from 14 days to 30 days after Christmas.
For example, Best Buy gives customers 14 days, or until Jan. 8 -- whichever comes later -- to return electronic items.
"The main reason why some of those products -- laptops, digital cameras, especially -- have a shorter return policy period is because they tend to advance quicker than other products," said Keith Ferreira, a customer service manager at a local Best Buy. "So, what might be leading-edge technology at one point is no longer leading technology two weeks down the road."
Other retailers have a similar return policy. Circuit City gives customers until Jan. 9 to return electronics. Sears will charge a 15 percent restocking fee on opened electronic returns and Wal-Mart, after three returns without a receipt in a 45-day period, will not accept returns.
So, retailers say, returning gifts sooner rather than later could be consumers' best money-back guarantee.
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