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The Complete Guide to Returning Gifts

The Complete Guide to Returning Gifts
From Gizmodo - December 25, 2017

After the buzz of giving and receiving gifts comes the less thrilling period of broken-down gadgetry, refunds, and returns. If youre going to get your money back or a working replacement in the quickest time possible, you need to know what options are available to you. Here, well lay out everything you need to be aware of.

Of course, these tips can apply at any time of year, no matter what youre returning, but theyre likely to be most helpful around the holiday season because youll typically be opening a stack of new tech that may or may not have been bashed around en route.

Know your rights

As with most everything else, your rights when it comes to returns and replacements are governed by both state and federal laws, before you even get to the agreement youve got in place with the retailer.

In terms of federal law, most major purchases must come with a warranty thats available for you to read before you part with your cash. If the product fails within the warranty period, its up to either the seller or the manufacturer to refund, replace, or repair the itemthese are the details that will be in the warranty.

Sometimes, as is the case with Apple, the seller and the manufacturer are one and the same. Other times, youll need to contact either the retailer or the company that made the product. The details vary from item to item, but it shouldnt be too hard to find out the logistics if you have physical or digital receipts. If nothing else, try to remember where you bought something from (or ask whoever gave you the gift).

At the state law level, you often get implied warranties in lieu of written warranties, but with the vast majority of tech gearunless youre buying from someone hawking wares on the streetis going to come with a proper written warranty that guarantees the product should work as advertised.

In other words, the law has your back if youve unwrapped a dud on Christmas morning. It just might take you a while to work out the exact course of action you need to take.

State law can vary considerably, so we wont cover all 50 states here, but its worth looking up the details for yourself. In New York State, for example, retailers are obliged to state their refund and exchange policies, even if its no refunds or exchanges whatsoeveryou should really be wary of buying any Christmas gifts from a retailer with that kind of returns policy.

As long as your gear comes from a reputable source, youll be okay. If you did your Christmas shopping from eBay and Craigslist, then sellers dont have to provide a warranty, and youre not guaranteed a refundyou need to check what the wording was on the original listing.

Most private sales are considered as is, which means its your responsibility to check everything works before you buy. Many professional eBay sellers will offer limited warranties, so again, check the item listing to see the terms of the purchase.

Retailer returns policy

If something obviously isnt working as soon as youve pulled it from its packaging, then the place you or your gift-giver bought it from is your first port of call. As with state law, the kind of policies youre going to come across will vary considerably.

Heres the Walmart policy: You get 90 days to return most items for a refund or a replacement, either by sending it back to Walmart or heading into a store. You only get two weeks for cellphones. You must bring it with the original packaging plus a copy of a receiptif you cant prove the item was purchased at Walmart, you can still get a cash refund or an exact replacement.

Apples policy states youve got 14 days to get a refund or a replacement on an item, and it must be returned together with the packaging, the cables, and the documentationthat applies regardless of whether the item is damaged. If you do have a dead iPhone or iMac, the one-year limited warranty comes into play, which guarantees you a repair, a refund, or a replacement at Apples cost.

Tips for successful returns

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