Many consumers make purchases they later regret, either because of picking the wrong size, the wrong thing, or simple buyer's remorse. When returning an item to a retail store, it always helps to have a receipt, but you do not always need a receipt to get your money back, make an exchange, or obtain store credit. Every retail store has its own return policy, and knowing that procedure before buying any items can eliminate any surprises later on.
Saving receipts after a shopping experience is a good idea, especially when a large sum of money is spent. Many stores are cooperative, however, and that is why you do not need a receipt in every scenario when making a return. Major retail stores have their own credit cards that consumers can apply for, and this can work to a consumer's advantage.
Making purchases with a major credit card or a store card can increase the chances for making a return without a receipt. In order for this to work, the store must be willing and have the ability to track when a purchase was made and the price that was paid. Otherwise, you will need a receipt.
You may not need a receipt if the tags on the item that you purchased are still intact. Discount stores have been known to permit a certain number of returns to occur within a specific time period, such as three months, if the tags are still there. This proves that the item did in fact come from the store where the item is being returned, prevents customers from taking advantage of the store, and is another way you may not need a receipt.
During the holiday season, stores often come out with promotions and sales in order to compete for business with rival retail outlets. Some of these perks may include temporarily allowing returns without proof of purchase. Keep in mind that, most of the year, you will need a receipt, but you can take advantage of incentives when they are offered.
In the event that a store does not allow returns without a receipt, you still may be able to get something. Some store policies allow for exchanges so that you can replace the original item for one with a different size or color, for instance. Or, you might be able to get store credit, and for this, you will not need a receipt. Certain items are easier to exchange than others, and you may run into difficulty making a return or exchange with certain products, such as electronics.