Think you know AARP? What you don't know about us may surprise you. Discover all the 'Real Possibilities'



Contests and

Dream Vacation Sweepstakes

10 weeks. 10 amazing trips. Seize your chance to win!
See official rules. 

Driver Safety

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!


AARP Foundation Tax-Aide

You can get free, face-to-face tax assistance nationwide.

Money Matters Tip Sheets

Download and print out these PDFs to help with your financial matters.

AARP Books

Visit the Money Section

Enjoy titles on retirement, Social Security, and becoming debt-free.


Learn From the Experts

Sign up now for an upcoming Money webinar or find materials from a past session. 

Jobs You Might Like

most popular



Returning the Gift That Makes
You Look Fat

Guidelines for both givers and receivers

  • Make returns in bulk. If you have several items to go back to the same retailer, bring them all in one trip. In addition to saving time, this will help you avoid being flagged by store computers that track how often individual customers make returns. You don't want to be labeled a "serial returner" whose merchandise should not be accepted.

  • Bring your driver's license. This season, seven in 10 retailers will require ID from customers who don't have a receipt, reports the NRF. And some retailers, including Best Buy, will require it even for returners who have a receipt. Reason: Information from driver's licenses and other forms of ID helps retailers identify serial returners.

    To check your own returns history, and correct mistakes, e-mail your name and phone number to, a company that monitors returns for many stores.

  • Preserve the packaging. Don't open boxes or clamshells, and don't tamper with original packaging or the items you intend to return, and that includes snipping tags from clothing. If you do open an item, preserve the packaging in good condition and with all the manuals and accessories — every little thing that came in the box. If the merchant notes something missing or otherwise thinks the item may not be easily resold, the return may be refused.

    Return of some opened items in the original packaging may result in a restocking fee of 15 percent or more of cost. This usually applies to electronics but in some stores also to sporting goods, appliances, tools and other goods.

Go online before standing in line. Gifts purchased online sometimes can't be returned in-store and vice versa. So before you make a trip to the retailer or post office, check the retailer's website about its specific policies.

Sid Kirchheimer writes about consumer and health issues.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Money blog

The Cheap Life

Jeff Yeager Cheap Life Ultimate Cheapskate AARP YouTube web series save money

Catch the latest episode of The Cheap Life starring Jeff Yeager, AARP's Ultimate Cheapskate. Watch

Discounts & Benefits