Get cash back instead of a store credit at Best Buy.

Reader Nick writes in with a bit of social engineering.

Here’s a fun tip for fellow Consumerists who would like to return gifts to Best Buy, but would prefer cash over a gift card (the only refund possible with only a gift receipt)

* Before you do anything else, ensure that the person that bought you the gift paid with cash, debit card, or a check. The amount has to be under something like 150 dollars, otherwise Best Buy corporate will issue a refund check. If they paid with a credit card, you’re out of luck, the money will go back on the card.

* Look on your gift receipt and find the “four-part key” – it’s just under the “Val #” and just above the text “GIFT RECEIPT”, and follows this format: “#### ### #### ##/##/##” The first section is the store number, the second is the register number, the third is the transaction number, and the fourth is the date. Write this number on a piece of scrap paper.

* Bring your item and the scrap paper into Best Buy. Head up to the service counter, and tell the Rep that a friend/relative/whoever bought you the item and gave you the receipt, but you left it at home. Here, you can either actually place a call home or just tell the rep that you know that they would need the “four-part key” and have it written down. Either way, this takes just a tad of social engineering, but you somehow need to convince them that you knew they’d need the “four-part key”.

* Give them the scrap paper and the product, and tell them you’d like to return or exchange it, and keep the difference *as cash*. If the person bought the item with the methods listed above, there should be no problem and they will gladly hand over the cash!

* Enjoy your cash, and not being locked in to spending your gift money in just one store!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Nick J

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