Returning unwanted holiday gifts helpful tips

Several retailers are opening up early again for shoppers to return any unwanted Christmas gifts, but consumer groups say if you want to get your money back, you'd better hurry.

Kohl's and Wal-Mart opened at 5 a.m. Thursday, just hours after Christmas, and the stores say they're expecting big crowds of people to show up and return gifts they're unhappy with.

Of course, it's especially important to save receipts before they get lost in the shuffle of boxes headed out to the curb.

Remember:  Returns aren't required by law, so stores can refuse or limit returns or even charge restocking fees.

If those items are damaged, stores have to take them back.

Make sure if you received or gave a gift card, to keep the receipt with it to prove there really is money installed on the card.

Also, use gift cards quickly. Every year after Christmas there are a rash of store and restaurant closings and gift card holders rarely get their money back.

Finally, watch for unusual return policies. Some stores won't allow certain items to be returned like hats for health reasons.

According to a survey from the organization Retail Me Not, four out of every 10 people will return some gifts they got this year.

The National Retail Federation reports more than one-fourth of stores have special return policies at this time of year.

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