What Can I Do With Those Unwanted Gifts?
Buying gifts can be challenging–and, sometimes, receiving them can be just as difficult, at least according to consumers who have received not-so-perfect presents.
Consumer: I know it’s the thought that counts. But I just received a gift I?ll never use. It?s just not my style. What can I do?
Asa: If there?s no gift receipt in the box, your options are limited. You can try taking it back, but there?s no law requiring stores to give you a refund or exchange just because an item doesn?t fit your size or taste. If you can?t return an item, consider donating it to charity. As long as you get a receipt for your donation, you may be able to take a tax deduction for the fair market value of the item.
Consumer: There?s no gift voucher in the box and I?m too embarrassed to ask for one. Any suggestions?
Asa: Check the item for an identifying mark, like the remnants of a sale tag. You may be able to narrow down the retailer by the style or color of the tag. Failing that, all you can do is take a chance. Take the item to the store where you think it may have been purchased.
Some of the nation?s largest retailers–including Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy and Circuit City–have the little known capability to determine when and where an item was purchased just by scanning it. It?s part of a program developed by a company called SiRAS, a wholly owned subsidiary of Nintendo of America.
SiRAS uses UPC and serial numbers to establish a unique fingerprint for products from participating manufacturers, including Compaq, Bissell, AT&T, Apex, Emerson, Fujifilm, General Electric Co., Hewlett-Packard Co., Magnavox, Panasonic, Phillips, RCA, Sony, Sega, and Sylvania. When a product is scanned at the point of purchase, the data is sent to SiRAS and stored in a huge electronic database. If someone tries to return the product, information on when and where it was purchased is pulled from the database and shared with participating retailers.