Return policies

Fresno, CA Jody Rohlena, Consumer Reports said: "Policies you want to avoid: ones that won't give you a full refund or that only give you a small window of time to return something."

Home depot allows you to return many items within 90 days, but the store reserves the right to limit or refuse to accept the return of merchandise at any time and for any reason.

Jody Rohlena, Consumer Reports "Another restrictive policy: office depot. You only have 14 days to return furniture and electronics."

And if you've bought an electronics item at one of their stores and opened it - even something as basic as a phone - the company "will offer an exchange only" - not a refund or store credit. In fact, when it comes to electronics you should be careful to check the return policy wherever you shop.

Jody Rohlena, Consumer Reports "Very often you cannot return a laptop. But tvs and camcorders may not be returnable either."

And some return costs that can add up: restocking fees can be up to 25% of the cost of the item. Don't forget return postage. Also check whether you'll get a store credit only - no cash refund. And to be sure someone gets the amount you paid for that perfect gift - and not the post-holiday sale price - remember to include a gift receipt in your package.

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