How to Get the Most Out of Unwanted Gift Cards

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

ABC News' Linzie Janis reports:

Christmas is over but retailers are working overtime to catch up after a lackluster season for in-store sales.

But with all those sales come just as many returns.

The Better Business Bureau warns that many stores have tightened return policies this year. The hardest items to take back are electronics and appliances. At Best Buy, for instance, you have until Jan. 15.

Many people are returning gifts this year that were purchased online. FedEx says it expects to ship 28 percent more returns this year while UPS expects to ship 15 percent more.

The day after Christmas is one of the biggest days to use gift cards. Shoppers bought $29 billion worth of gift cards this holiday season.

If you received a gift card to a store where you'd never dream of shopping, they are nonrefundable. So your best bet is online swap sites like or

Shoppers might be able to trade a Bed, Bath and Beyond card for a Best Buy card or even sell a gift card for close to face value.

Whatever you do, don't stick it in a drawer and forget about it. About $1.7 billion in gift cards went unused last year, according to CEB TowerGroup.