Gift Buying Tips

By AM Northwest Staff

As you hurry about doing your last minute shopping keep in mind that not all gifts are created equal- that $25 gift card you purchased might not be worth $25 afterall!

We had author of "Unscrewed" and consumer advocate Ron Burley here withthe low-down on gift buing "gotchas" that consumers need to look out for.

Here were some tips:

Gift Buying Gotchas


  1. Avoid Temporary Mall Kiosks – No chance of product return or refund
  2. Gift Cards are not cash – They expire, there are often monthly fees and they limit a recipients options (thought that’s not always a bad thing; bookstores, etc.) Write down the numbers! Gift certificates are often still available, look much nicer and are as good as cash.
  3. Sale Items – Often returnable only for store credit at lowest price. Sometimes can’t be returned at all.  Gift receipts are a much
  4. Online electronics – Avoid buying electronics or other expensive items online—service or returns can be time-consuming & complicated.
  5. Avoid mail-in rebates—they are often nearly impossible to redeem.


Many Happy Returns!


  1. Keep the gift receipts – Put them in an enveloped labeled “Gifts 2007”
  2. Ask where the gift was purchased – “It’s beautiful, where did you get it?” (Even if it isn’t.)
  3. Avoid Boxing Day – Lines will be long. Tempers will be short. Policies will be tight. This year the best days will be Thursday, December 27th or Thursday, January 3rd.
  4. Repackage as beautifully as possible. – “Sell” the return.
  5. Have a good story, highlighting that you are a regular customer. – “We shop here all the time and know how well you treat your customers, compared to the other guys.”
  6. Credit card merchant agreements require refunds within 30 days if you have a store receipt.
  7. Store credit is much easier to get than money back. – Online returns are almost always store credit only.
  8. Stand your ground. – Don’t take no for an answer. When they say, “That’s our policy”… just don’t leave. 


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