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Returning holiday gifts may be more complicated this year

Posted at 4:41 PM, Dec 28, 2020

Chances are, even more of your holiday gifts arrived in the mail this year, which can make returns more complicated.

“This is going to cause a major problem when it comes to returns, so shoppers really need to manage their own expectations when it comes to sending things back that might not have worked out for the holidays,” said Sara Skirboll, a shopping and trends expert at

RetailMeNot’s shopping experts say you can expect delays in returns similar to the shipping delays we saw, which means longer wait times for refunds.

The good news is many retailers are allowing more time for returns and giving additional options.

“Other locations where you might want to return something in person are offering returns curbside, similar to buy online, pick-up curbside places, like Dick’s (Sporting Goods), you can actually return your items in front of the store,” said Skirboll.

Amazon extended its holiday return policy. Any orders shipped between October 1 and December 31 can be returned through the end of January.

Walmart just added a new option with FedEx where they will pick up items shipped and sold by from your home. You can schedule pickup and print a label from Walmart’s website or the store app. You can also return items bought online inside a Walmart store.

Or, you can skip returning all together.

“Remember, you can sell something on Facebook Marketplace or even Nextdoor. You can donate that item to charity. Consider eBay or actually consider regifting something on Valentine's Day, kids’ birthdays, teacher holidays,” said Skirboll. “All are great options to put your used item, gently used item or brand-new item that you just don't need into a better home.”

If you plan to make a return, make sure you do these two things – check the deadline so you don't miss your refund window, and take a picture of the return label or receipt so you have it in case the money doesn't show back up on your card.