Return Policies Could Hamper Early Holiday Shopping

December 5, 2005 – Posted at 4:38 p.m. CST

JONESBORO, AR -- With the holiday shopping season beginning earlier and earlier every year, it's hard to pass by those good bargains in say, October. But there might be one pitfall to shopping early.

Check the return policy early might mean times up to take back an unwanted gift. Wal-Mart's policy varies on the item...some cameras and electronics are only returnable for 30 days. Anything else, you have a little longer.

"It's 90 days with a receipt. After a receipt, we can do a gift card or something like, up to so many returns within a certain time frame," said Parker Road Wal-Mart customer service manager Jennifer Bartelt.

Wal-Mart only allows three returns in a six month period, but they are a little more lenient during the post holiday season. If you think your present may end up at customer service, it's better to be safe then sorry.

"Just tell the cashier that it's for a gift and you want a gift receipt," said Bartelt, "That way if that person doesn't enjoy it and they have a receipt, they can get cash back or if they want it on a gift card."

Bartelt recommends checking any store's return policy before buying a gift that early, and of course, if you can't find the right color, the right size or the right fit, you can always go with a gift card.