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Tips for Successful Returns

Know your store policies, and leave the tags on before you try to return the gift you don't want.

Did you get a Chia Pet this year? Or a sweater that really is not your style (or size)?

For every great gift you've been given this holiday season, there's probably one that really needs to be returned.

Consumers should know store return policies before they head back to the malls. Most “big box” stores and national chains have return policy information on their website.

Even if the information is not online, Virginia law requires that all retailers disclose all conditions, charges, or fees relating to the return of goods.

Although every store policy is slightly different, here are a few tips:

Return it soon. Many stores won’t accept returns after 30, 60 or 90 days.

Remember, you may not get cash back. Some stores will only give you a store credit or gift card (good for a limited amount of time).

Leave the tags on when you try on clothes. If a clothing item looks like you’ve worn it because the tags are missing, a store is less likely to take it back.

Repack items carefully. Make sure you’re returning all the pieces, the user’s manual (if applicable) and the original packaging, preferably in relatively good condition.

If you can’t return something, you may consider donating it to a local shelter or charity. Or, you can always post it on Craigslist or eBay. After all, one man’s junk may be another man’s treasure.

For more information about consumer protection for store returns, visit Fairfax County's website

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