Gift Receipt Etiquette
Whenever you're in doubt whether someone will like the gift you're buying, make sure to include a gift receipt. It's a thoughtful inclusion, because taking a chance on a gift from a store you know someone shops at is a more thoughtful gift than simply a gift card. It's especially important to include with clothing or anything that isn't one-size-fits-all. In a National Retail Federation survey, 6 out of 10 shoppers provided gift receipts along with their presents in 2010.
Gift receipts are important to include because they give recipients the chance to return a gift for the full value that you paid for it. Here’s a handy guide about how to handle these pesky little do-over slips.
Give Receipts a Chance
Remember that gift receipts are different from regular receipts. They usually do not include the amount spent on it. Of course when giving a gift, be sure to still cross out the price on the price tag (but don’t remove the tag entirely!). Gift receipts are always a good idea and it will never be viewed as a negative to include one with your gift. Ask for gift receipt at the time of purchase, and keep your receipt as a fail-proof backup.
Merchandise accompanied by a gift receipt is still subject to individual store return policies (30 days, unopened, etc.). Gift receipts typically offer refunds in the form of store credit.
In some situations, giving a gift receipt is the gold standard, such as for engagement or wedding gifts, or other events where the person might have registered for gifts. Even if you have carefully checked the registry, it often happens that someone accidentally receives too much of one item or the wrong item entirely. Gift receipts are helpful and take the hassle out for your friends and family that may need to return a present for many valid reasons.
Receipt to the Rescue
Though it might seem odd, be sure to get a gift receipt for gift cards too. Gift cards are notoriously tricky items that like to hide in your sock drawer or become demagnetized by sitting next to your collection of magnetic cats. If a gift card is lost or stolen, or if there is an error with the card, these receipts can sometimes be used to correct the problem or give a refund, depending on the card policy.
Tag, You’re It
How should gift receipts be provided? Standard practice is that the receipt should taped to the inside of the box containing the present, so that doesn’t get lost. You could also include it in the card that you send with your gift.
Don't Ask, Don't Tell
It is never appropriate to inquire of the person to whom you gave the gift if they “returned” the gift and selected another item. Wait to get a thank-you note in the mail, or some other sort of communication, to see how the recipient felt about the gift.