Return unwanted gifts for what you need

January 6, 2012 6:24:43 AM PST
As much as we all appreciate the thought behind the holiday gifts we received, chances are a few of them aren't exactly what we wanted.

But holding onto items you're not going to use is a waste of money, especially if you have the option of returning them for something you really want or need.

That's why it's important to know what the refund policies are at major retailers.

Kohl's has one of the most liberal return policies of major retailers. There's no time limit and even if you don't have a receipt, you can get a refund, even exchange or store credit.

Bath and Body Works also doesn't have a time limit for returns. But even if your gift was bought online, it has to be returned to a bricks-and-mortar store.

L.L. Bean's another retailer with no return deadline.

Macy's gives you six months to make a return, unless the gift is jewelry. Then you only have 30 days. And you don't need a receipt, since their computers track every item they sell.

J.C. Penney gives you 90 days to make a return. If you have a gift receipt, you'll get a store credit for the purchase price. If not, you'll get a store credit for the lowest sale price for that item.

Sears and Kmart have the same parent company and the same return policy. You have 90 days, but you'll need a receipt or online order confirmation. And there's a 15% restocking fee for electronics.

Walmart stores give you 90 days as well to make a return or exchange. If you don't have a receipt, you can get a store credit on most items.

And if your child got toys from Toys R Us, you'll want to return them to a store -- not ship them back to the online site. Online returns are credited back to the buyer -- so they'll know you didn't like the gift AND you won't get anything in return.

For a rundown of the return/refund policies of other major retailers, click here.