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National Returns Day: How to Maximize Your Online Returns

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online returns

UPS expects to ship over 800,000 packages back to retailers on January 6th, a day the company has dubbed National Returns Day. According to the UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper Study conducted in 2014, 62% of consumers returned at least one item ordered online last year, an increase of 11% since 2012.

With online shopping reaching an all-time high this past holiday season, it’s no surprise the number of online returns are also rising. So whether you’re unsatisfied with the item or there was a defect, follow these tips to get the most back from your return.

Find a physical store: Many stores will accept online purchases in-store, allowing you to dodge return shipping fees and receive the full value of the item as either a refund or merchandise credit. Kohl’s, Macy’s, Best Buy, Sports Authority and more all accept in-store returns of online merchandise, and many retailers offer extended return periods for holiday purchases. For example, items purchased between November 1st and December 31st from Sports Authority can be returned through January 31st.

Know receipt-less options: Holding onto receipts and packing slips is always a smart idea, but some retailers are making it easier to return without the purchase documents. Before you turn your house upside down for a purchase slip, consider this: Walmart gives cash refunds for receipt-less purchases of $25 or less; Target customers can return without a receipt by simply providing the credit or debit card used to make the original purchase; Kohl’s Card holders can have orders pulled using their account numbers; Anthropologie associates can access Internet orders by entering the shopper’s loyalty card data; and price tags on merchandise from Nordstrom and Macy’s have UPC codes that are tied to your payment method, enabling sale associates to scan the barcode of the item to find your purchase information.

Talk to customer service: Return shipping fees are a pain, but not all store policies are set in stone. For example, a friend of mine recently ordered red and white wine glasses from a popular home goods store and wasn’t satisfied with the appearance of the white wine glasses. I suggested she contact customer service to request a free return shipping label since she wasn’t pleased with the product. She followed my advice and received a FedEx prepaid mailing label to her inbox. While this method isn’t a sure thing, you have much better odds of getting what you want when you simply ask, especially if you are displeased with the quality of the goods!

Stick with an exchange: Many stores like DSW offer free return shipping for direct exchanges. Macy’s and Kohl’s offer in-store exchanges for merchandise purchased online, and The Limited waives shipping fees on exchanges an even offers quicker turnaround for such orders through their Rapid Exchange Service. Ultimately, stores view exchanges more favorably than returns and often make it easier and cheaper for customers to replace an unwanted item with something more desirable. Review the store’s return policy for specifics on exchanges, or chat with a live customer service rep for more detailed information.

Get cash for merchandise credit: When returning a gift, you often receive a merchandise credit or gift card in exchange. This works out great if the gift came from a store you like. If you’re not interested in anything the retailer offers, don’t fret: you can exchange your merchandise gift card for cash. GiftCardGranny.com and other sites like this make it easy to sell your gift cards and receive payment via check, PayPal or even Amazon gift cards in some cases. You can get back up to 92% of the gift card value, which is much better than holding onto one you never intend to spend!

Compare rates & prepare your package: If you are responsible for return shipping fees, don’t just return the item with the same carrier used by the store. Instead, quickly compare shipping rates at Office Depot’s shipping center. They can give you the cheapest method and carrier for your return so you don’t have to pay any more than necessary. Also be sure to remove previous shipping labels and include the return form in the package to expedite the return process. Keep in mind, some online stores require the item be returned in the original box it was received in, so review the policy before sending. For example, Zappos requires returns to be sent back in the original box or packaging in order to qualify for free return shipping.

Verify the refund: If you fail to review your bank account or credit card for the online refund, you may be missing out on the credit. Recently, I realized a gift I returned to Nordstrom was refunded back to the person who gave it to me instead of to my own store account. In another situation, a return made to Anthropologie was accidentally repurchased and resulted in a double charge for an item I sent back. Had I not reviewed my statement, I would have missed these two mistakes! In other situations, stores like Toys ‘R Us and Babies ‘R Us state the refund will be applied to the purchaser’s original form of payment only. In these instances, it’s better to return the item in store for a merchandise credit, exchange it for something you’d rather have or hold onto it for regifting later in the year.

Consider regifting it: If you don’t want to pay those return shipping fees and can’t find anything you want in exchange, hold onto the item to use as a re-gift. The item itself might be great for a friend or family member’s upcoming birthday, or look ahead to a summer wedding and exchange the product for an item you can give as a gift. This represents a great way to save money on an upcoming expense while putting an otherwise unwanted item to good use.

Sell it yourself: Not all unwanted online orders can be returned. Whether you missed the return deadline or the item was marked final sale, it doesn’t mean you have to be stuck with something you’ll never use. Take your chance at selling the goods yourself online via sites like eBay or Craigslist. Review similar products and brands others sold to determine the best price and take good pictures to boost views. Aside from these popular online marketplaces, you can sell gadgets at NextWorth.com and clothes or accessories at thredUp.com.

Andrea Woroch is a nationally-recognized shopping expert for Kinoli Inc., who helps consumers live on less without radically changing their lifestyles. From smart spending tips to personal finance advice, Andrea transforms everyday consumers into savvy shoppers. She has been featured among top news outlets such as Good Morning America, NBC’s Today, MSNBC, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more. For more information, visit AndreaWoroch.com or follow her on Twitter for daily savings advice and tips.

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How Cool Is This

xDroid Takes The Fun Of Video Racing Games Into The Real World

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xDroid

Want something that brings the thrill of racing video games into the real world? It’s here and it is called xDroid. At last the best features of RC cars and racing video games come together. You can race, drift, jump, play with friends and even code your own games. And you get to control everything from your smartphone.

xDroid brings the best parts of video game racing to the real world. You can play demolition derby, capture the flag and much more. It uses three main elements to work its magic: The mobile gaming app, the xDroid car and the xPoint.

xDroid

The xDroid is a 1:16 scale hobby-grade smartphone-controlled car, but if you already own an RC car, you can use your own by upgrading it with an xCore. The xPoints are basically small interactive checkpoints that you can position along the route. These will let you collect bonuses, earn scores, and get power-ups. The app has the games, acts as a controller and also a social platform.

I don’t know about you, but I have often dreamed of a Mario Kart type game that I could play in the real world with RC cars. xDroid makes it possible to play this and other video game type racing games.

I can see people really getting into this to the point where it becomes a real sport. The system seems like it has everything you need to play and create good games right out of the gate. You can check out the Kickstarter for more info. This is going to be fun.

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Equipment and Supplies Necessary For A Hunting Trip

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Hunters can not head out on a hunting trip without first gathering the necessary equipment and supplies. They won’t be able to take down the prey without having the means to do so, and they can’t keep themselves safe without the right gear. Bringing the right equipment and supplies out hunting will be the difference between a successful trip and an unsuccessful one.

Rifle or Bow

There is one main piece of equipment a hunter needs, and that is their weapon. It’s difficult to take an animal down without the proper weapon to do so. The season in which you’re hunting plays a major role in determining whether you should take a rifle or bow. A bow is often the preferred hunting method because it’s quieter and the arrows can be reused time and time again. Shops like James River Archery offer the latest technology in hunting equipment, including the Micro Hex Hunting Stabilizer.

Something Orange

Hunters are meant to wear something orange, typically a hat or vest, in an effort to protect themselves. They may want to stay camouflaged and hidden from whatever animals they’re hunting, but they need to let other hunters in the area know they’re there as well. Seeing a bright orange color from a distance will let others know not to shoot in that direction. It’s a simple safety precaution that must be taken by every hunter.

Warm, Yet Protective Clothes and Boots

Hunting gear includes clothing and shoes. A hunter’s outfit must keep them warm no matter what temperature they’re in, especially since many tend to head out in the early morning hours when it’s still chilly. The outfit should also help protect the hunter, providing extra layers to keep the weather and insects and critters, from doing any harm. Both an inner and outer layer should be worn along with weatherproof and all-terrain boots that are comfortable for long treks through the wood.

Scent-Blocker

Animals can often smell humans in the area without needing to see them. If they can tell that a person is nearby they’re more likely to wander off in the opposite direction. Using a scent-blocker on the clothing worn can help keep a person’s scent at bay so no prey knows they’re nearby. A more attractive scent can be used to attract the animal, such as doe urine to bring more bucks to the area thinking a female is near. Hunters will use different foods and scents depending on the type of animal they’re hunting. While deer enjoy eating corn and peas, rabbits will come to an apple cider scent or apples.

Hunting License

No one should ever head out hunting without first obtaining the proper license. There are only a certain number of game a person can tag and bring in to have processed and used for meat. People can face serious fines if found hunting without a license, so it’s better to start off each season with an updated version. Hunting and fishing licenses can often be obtained online or from a store that sells hunting gear. Hunting big game requires people to apply and be selected before they can continue.

The right equipment and supplies need to be worn and brought along on a hunting excursion. Without them, the venture would not be successful. Certain rules and requirements have been made for hunting for a reason, so all hunters will be safe and protected while they’re out in the wilderness.

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From Smoke To Vapor: Is It For You?

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Over the past few years, vaping has become incredibly popular. It’s proven to be a very strong competitor to traditional smoking, leading lots of people to ditch cigarettes in favor of vaping.

People are making that choice for several reasons. If you’re thinking about making the switch yourself, you may find it a little strange to think that you can just drop cigarettes in favor of vaping, and certainly the transition will take some adjusting. But in time, you may find that the advantages of changing will be easy to see, and they’ll give you plenty of reason to stay with vaping.

You Can Choose Your Product

Generally speaking, a cigarette is a cigarette. The flavor is the same, the nicotine content is the same, and even the appearance does not vary dramatically from brand to brand. About the only distinction is the carton, which spends most of its time in your pocket or purse anyway.

With vaping, you can mix things up a little bit. You can find vape and ejuice deals that will let you try any of a number of different flavors and levels of nicotine, all without spending hours digging through stores. They can range from the tame to the extreme, and if you don’t like them, you can change them.

Your vaporizer itself also reflects your personality. Because vapers use the same device for months or even years, they work hard to avoid designs that cramp their style and push them back to cigarettes.

It’s Smoking Without The Smoke

Clearly, vaping is not nearly as intrusive as smoking. The vapor does not carry the distinctive odor of cigarette smoke, making it far less unpleasant to those around you. The vapor doesn’t discolor clothing or leave your vehicle permeated with an almost-indestructible odor.

Vaping is based on water vapor instead of acrid smoke. It isn’t intrusive to those around you; it doesn’t burn their eyes or leave them coughing and sneezing anytime you’re around. And it’s short-lived, dissipating quickly into the air around you while still giving you that smoking look.

Vaping Is Safer & Cleaner

A fundamental component of a cigarette is the combustion. A tiny but incredibly hot area of tobacco converting to ash dangles delicately at the very end of the cigarette, ready to fall loose or to be dropped with the entire cigarette. Over the years, there have been countless cases of injuries and deaths from these small points of ignition, along with equally innumerable cases of damaged clothing, furniture, carpet, and other valuables that were on the receiving end of a dropped or falling cigarette.

Cigarette smoke also discolors your teeth, your clothing, your paint–you name it. It also leaves behind messy cigarette butts that clog storm sewers, fill trash cans, and create a fire hazard both in buildings and in the outdoors.

There is a lot of appeal to nicotine. Smokers enjoy the feeling they get from nicotine, but smoking has always been problematic in terms of its risks as a fire hazard as well as the unpopular and unpleasant impacts of the smoker on those around them who are not smoking.

Vaping eliminates both the fire danger and the troublesome smoke, allowing the vaper to enjoy nicotine without creating such an imposition on those around them. These benefits are the driving force between the growing popularity of vaping, and they suggest the trend will continue.

 

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