Best Ways to Return Gifts Bought Online

Returning Christmas presents this year may just involve signing online.

— -- Christmas is over which means the rush to return presents has begun. For some, that will mean going back to a shopping mall, but for many this year, the return process will involve going online in order to return unwanted goods.

Here are the things you need to know in order to return presents online.

How Do I Get a Prepaid Return Label?

If you need to return a purchase or gift from an online merchant, start by going straight to the merchant's website. Many offer prepaid, printable labels. Then you schedule a pick-up with UPS or FedEx. Easy deal.

What If My Vendor Does Not Offer Free Return Shipping?

The post office is usually cheaper than UPS or FedEx. But that still doesn’t mean you have to wait in line at the post office. You can leave a box outside your door, and arrange online to have the mailman pick it up. For that, just go here.

But first you need to have postage and know how much to put on. Again, the U.S. Postal Service can help. You can buy stamps online and they’ll be mailed to you. Or you can print your own postage. USPS.com lets you select the amount, enter payment and skip the lines at the post office.

How Much Postage Do I Need?

Postage is based on the distance traveled, weight and box dimensions. And the post office website has a tool for making that easy – if you know how much your package weighs. A postage scale costs as little as $15 – a good investment if you do a lot of shipping. But if you’re reading this, chances are you need a different solution.

What If I Don't Have a Scale?

Do you still have the box the item was shipped in? The weight will be printed right on it. But if you don’t have the original, here’s the easiest solution: The USPS flat rate box. It costs just $16.85 to ship a large USPS box and a little over $12 for the medium one. And get this: You can order these boxes online and they’ll deliver them to your house for free.

What Is the Best Time to Go to the Post Office?

If for some reason you still have to go to the post office, the lines are usually shortest on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, about a half an hour after they open.