Entertainment, Health and Lifestyle

When the Gift is Just Not Right

You received a gift that doesn’t exactly send you to the moon because it doesn’t go with anything in your tastefully decorated pad. Is it OK to turn around and give that gift to someone else for their birthday or other special occasion? If you return it, must you tell the giver? Would it be tacky to sell it on eBay?

There is no single, clear-cut solution to this gift situation, but it is interesting that according to numerous current surveys and studies, a consistent 70% of those polled said they think it’s OK to return a gift, regift it or even sell it online because engaging in the practice reduces waste and clutter.

And there is a right way to do each one of those options:

1. If you opt to regift, make sure the person who receives it will actually like it. Match the gift and recipient carefully. Peggy Post of the Emily Post Institute has admitted to regifting but adds that you must be absolutely certain that person will enjoy the gift, or it will be seen as an easy way for you to get rid of a castoff.

2. Regift into a different social circle. You want to avoid anyone recognizing your gift as a regift. It is very important that when you store a gift to regift at a later date, you attach a sticky note to the gift with the name of the giver and the occasion upon which you received it. Do not leave this information to chance. One slipup could have you giving the gift back to the sister of the person who gave it to you. Not good. The person to whom you regift should have no ties whatsoever with the social circle where you received the gift.

3. A regift must be new, including the packaging. If you do not have the original packaging or something is missing, damaged or soiled, forget regifting and try to sell it on eBay. To regift anything that is not impeccably new is beyond the limits of ethical regifting.

4. When returning a gift, try to get the gift receipt from the giver. Now you will be sure to get the full value that was paid for this item, not the lowest price it was offered on sale. If you do not have a receipt, don’t expect a refund. Your next best hope is store credit. And if that doesn’t work, an exchange is likely your best option. Just remember that some retailers have firm “no refunds, no return” policies. Unless you can lean on the kindness of a store employee who has discretion in overriding that policy, your next best hope is to sell it on eBay.

5. Gift card not to your liking? You can swap it at sites like raise.com and giftcash.com. You’ll pay a fee to either swap for a card you want or get a portion of the value in cash — but that might be better than what you have now.

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Mary Hunt

Mary invites you to visit her at EverydayCheapskate.com, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/contact/, "Ask Mary." Tips can be submitted at tips.everydaycheapskate.com/ . This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."

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