Gift Card Returns

Phew! I had clammy hands walking into Target with my receipt-less wall frames I intended to return. There's always a big chunk of me that feels guilty for making a return--ever--but especially without proof of purchase. I have this creepy feeling that the customer service Nazis suspect a pregnant, child-toting thief--the worst kind around. Target is among the more strict in regulations regarding returns.

But the frames had to go back and I needed some other home goodies with the difference. So I load up a cart with kids and rectangular breakables and roll on in. Thank goodness the strawberry blond is off today! She's always looking to make someone cry in the returns department. I have good vibes from the hemp-necklaced dude behind the counter.

"So...I'm a terrible Target customer. I bought these a while back and was so confident about them that I tossed the receipt. What are my options for returning them?" Do I have the card I paid with? No, I paid with a gift card. He shakes his head a bit, not good. But then says, reluctantly, "Well, the best I can do is give you a gift card for the lowest amount of each item within the last 90 days. Gulp. How low are we talking?

A few scans later, we discover I'll only lose around $4 for the return. Fantastic! He issues a Target gift card in the nearly full amount and we gleefully wander the store until my Irish twins start ejecting themselves from the cart. I found out some other good-to-know tips about returns with gift cards:

  • Keep the card--they can look up a purchase on an empty gift card as well as on a credit card. That would have given me the full money back. I'm not sure how I feel about this though. With nearly 2 1/2 inches of gift cards I doubt I'll keep empty ones!
  • Target only allows $75 per year of receipt-less returns, per driver's license. Laid-back customer service dude gave me permission to recruit the Hubs for a return if I go over that limit to bypass the rule.
  • Among the many perks of shopping at Target is their issue of gift cards for certain purchases. Usually corporate picks a "theme"--dog products, baby items--for the week and offers $5-10 in gift cards for a qualifying purchase. When baby items bingo, their prices (including the rebate gift card) can't be beat.
  • All products returned without a receipt are issued a refund for the lowest price within the last 90 days. For items like home goods and toys, this can be a huge price gouge, especially after bargain-crazy holiday season.

And what did I find in lieu of frames? A delightful side table and lamp for the Zoolander Hunk. Now we can read all about bugs and cars with some mood lighting. I didn't want to fork over a load for a kid's lamp--they tend to break, especially in boys' rooms--so at $14.99 (discounted from $16.99) I was happy with the purchase.