NEW YORK (WABC) -- Christmas is around the corner and one of the biggest things to remember is to hold onto your receipt - it can help you avoid a huge hassle down the road if a gift doesn't work out.
7 On Your Side and Nina Pineda have more tips for happy returns.
With four kids, seven grandkids and three great-grandkids, Noemi Cicala knows how to make returns easier.
"Every time you go the shopping you get a receipt," she said. "You save that receipt until you find out if you still want to keep it, because when you go back to the store, you have to have a receipt."
#1 Check paper receipts/online return policies
"Tape the receipt to the gift, it doesn't have to say the price, it can be the gift receipt, so that person has it ready to go to return it," said consumer expert Janice Lieberman.
Lieberman say always check receipts or store return policies online for exact deadlines.
#2 Know your return timeframe
If you shopped early, you may have already missed the return by date.
"If you're not sure go online, look by the register, ask how much time do I have to return this because otherwise you'll be stuck with that item that doesn't fit, that nobody wants," Lieberman said. "It's not a good feeling."
You might find more liberal return policies at independent stores.
"They can switch books, they can switch gifts, they can switch sizes, colors, whatever they like, we try to be very flexible," said Kenny Sarfin, owner of Books and Greeting in Northvale.
Sarfin said it's only a problem for shops to take products back which are torn or missing original packaging.
#3 Don't open packages or remove tags
"We don't want people to take the cellophane off these boxes because then we can't resell it," he said. "So we ask everyone to keep things sealed and in the box it came in, leave the packaging and the tags alone, this way when it comes back, we can put it on the shelves the way it did when you bought it."
#4 Bring your ID
If you're rushing for returns at big stores, don't leave without your ID. $4 billion in return fraud means stores will be looking at you with a magnifying glass.
#5 Know where to return
Before wasting time in the checkout line, ask exactly where in the store to take your return -- usually it's the customer service desk.
#6 Credit card protection
Check your credit card protection because some cards like American Express will refund your product if the store doesn't take it back.
#7 Consider regifting
The big takeaway is to hang onto unwanted items and recycle them by re-gifting instead of returning. You'll save time and hassle and something that isn't your style could be a great gift for someone down the road.
Also, before schlepping items back to the store, some stores will mail you a return label to make it easier.
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