How to get the most out of your holiday gift cards and returns

8:20 AM, Dec 26, 2012   |    comments
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GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - Presents are all unwrapped this morning, and you're either excited, or not so excited about your recent acquisitions.

So when you hit the mall soon, what should you know about returns, and if you raked in gift cards, is there something special you should know about, when it comes to using them?

Alexis Walsko, Founder of Lola Red PR to talk about returns and how to spend those gift cards to their best.


  • Keep electronics in the original package and DON'T OPEN PACKAGE. An open item may be charged a restocking fee. If you do open them, keep all of the original packaging including the Styrofoam. Your chances of a full refund or credit are much better if you have all of the packaging.
  • Leave tags on clothing until after you have tried them on.
  • Return within 30 days. Many major retailers have revised their return policies and 30 days is a valid time frame.
  • For smaller boutiques and retailers a receipt is extremely appreciated also, return or exchange within 14 days. Many prefer to issue store credit as well.


  • The No. 1 piece of advice is to put gift cards in your wallet, not your kitchen drawer where you are likely to forget about them. A gift card is cash - use it or lose it!
  • Beware of bank-issued gift cards-they are more likely to charge fees for activation and dormancy than cards for specific stores or businesses. Also check expiration dates - there's now a law that says gift cards must be good for at least five years from date of issue, but it still pays to know the parameters.
  • Gift cards generally can't be returned or cashed in. If you get a gift card that you absolutely know you won't use, consider selling it through a gift card exchange site like or - you may lose 10% of the value, but it's better than no value at all.


  • Post-Christmas sales actually started on Sunday.
  • Williams Sonoma holiday items, gift sets and many food related items are 30-50% off
  • The Gap is up to 60% off online and in stores
  • Holiday serving items which are awesome for parties any time of year are nearly 60% off on
  • Banana Republic has 50% off winter wear online and in stores.
  • J.Crew has final sale items for an additional 25% off online

TIP: retailers tend to clog up consumer's email accounts. Create a separate email account just for shopping emails. It pays!


(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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