Thanks, but no thanks! Insider tips for your holiday returns

Americans spend hundreds of billions of dollars on holiday gifts each year, but more than 11% of those presents will go back! And get this, eight out of 10 consumers say they lie and pretend they like a gift even when they hate it.

But you don’t have to be stuck with the ugly sweater from grandma. Here’s some advice on how to get the most out of your holiday returns.

“We do have gift receipts. I recommend it,” said Alan Chambers, director of operations at John Craig.

Don’t wait too long. Most stores have a 30- to 60-day return policy, and keep the tags on if you can.

“With the online store, your tags have to be on the items,” Chambers added.

Some companies also charge a restocking fee for items that are already opened, special ordered, or customized. A typical restocking fee for electronics is around 15% of the purchased price.

Google the retailer’s return policy before contacting the store. If your item was purchased online, see if you can return it in-store to avoid costly packing fees.

Find out who pays for shipping. Always ask if returns are free.