7On your side: Holiday returns, already - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

7 On Your Side: Holiday returns, already

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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

Whether it's because Thanksgiving is late or because the stores just keep trying to get the jump on each other, the Christmas shopping season seems to keep starting earlier and earlier.

So, you've already picked out a perfect sweater for your daughter? It's a great idea to start shopping early. But what if it doesn't fit? It's more than 30 days until Christmas. Will the store still take it back?

At local store, The Perfect Gift, the answer is yes. Store owner Carol Henry says she understands the need for more time for Christmas exchanges.

"One thing good about small, locally owned businesses is we kind of have the flexibility to do things, be a little bit different. And because we know our customers and we know that you're buying a gift that the person won't get it until Christmas, so we have a policy during the holidays that they can exchange after Christmas," said Henry.

But to avoid disappointment, Carmen Million, with the Better Business Bureau, says ask about a store's return policy before you make a purchase.

"You want to make sure that you ask and receive a copy of the store policy in writing. The only way to protect yourself is to make sure you have it in writing. In most cases, the stores will have it on the back of the receipt," said Million.

It's important to save the receipt and leave the tags on, especially clothing and to keep other items in original packaging.

"Remember to keep your receipt. That's very important. And try to keep the item in the original box," said Million.

You may also want to ask whether they have restocking fee.

"A company has a right, if they take it back, to keep what we call a restocking fee. And that restocking fee can be up to 25 percent of the value of the item. So, you really need to know your rights before you start your Christmas shopping," said Million.

According to Best Buy's website, gifts bought now can be returned up until Jan. 15, though additional terms may apply depending on what you buy. There are companies in the area that are extending their refund, return policy.

And if you do have to return something, Million says try not to lose the holiday spirit.

"Pick times that you think are less busy for the store. The line is going to be long, people are going to be frustrated. And we always recommend that you be courteous to the clerk. They're basically just the messenger, telling you what the rules are," said Million.

There are only 50 shopping days until Christmas.

Copyright 2013 KPLC. All rights reserved.

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