ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — January normally sees a lot of returns for items bought during the holiday season. In 2021, roughly 86% of Americans shopped online for the season, with two-thirds of customers looking to return at least one gift, according to surveys by TopCashback.com and CBRE and Optoro.

To make that transaction smooth, Rebecca Gramuglia of TopCashback offers some tips for customers to follow when making returns.

  • Understand return policies and deadlines: Ditch the hassle of post-holiday gift returns by researching the return policies and deadlines ahead of time. Make sure you have all of the necessary items and paperwork when heading to the store – or when packing up your return (if you’re returning via mail). Pro-tip: If you are sending items back via parcel services (i.e. UPS, USPS or FedEx), save the tracking number somewhere safe so you can ensure your return gets delivered and that you will get your refund.
  • Steer clear of peak return times. Rather than waiting in long lines for in-store returns or at the post office, avoid returning unwanted holiday gifts immediately after Christmas or on weekends. The best times to return items are early mornings or weeknight evenings (after 7 p.m.). When returning an online purchase, examine all of the return options available from the retailer. For example, you can return Amazon purchases at Kohl’s locations.
  • Be bold — ask for the gift receipt. If you plan to return a gift, don’t be afraid to ask for the receipt. Having this information will ensure you receive a full refund in case the item has dropped in price since the initial purchase.
  • Stay organized. Too many holiday returns to count? If you’re someone who prefers everything handwritten, you can opt to make a list of what you need to return and where. However, if you’re more tech-savvy, there are apps, like ReturnQueen, that essentially handle the return process for you. These apps connect to your email and can give you reminders for when you need to return a purchase in order to receive your full refund. Some of the app features may come with a fee or may only offer services in certain locations, so be sure to read any fine print before downloading so you understand the logistics.