Many stores are using receipts that, intentionally or not, fade over time.

I bought something about a year ago that I never used and I want to return it. But the receipt is faded to the point of being almost illegible.

Is there any trick to restoring the faded print on a receipt?

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    Not that it will help you in this instance, but for future instances, it can be useful to scan/photocopy receipts for high value items as soon as you receive them. – Tim Malone Jul 6 '16 at 21:26

Scan the receipt with a computer scanner, or even photograph it in a very even light with a cell phone, then use image editing software to enhance the contrast of the image. With this workflow, I have personally recovered images from photographic film that were invisible to the naked eye.


Obviously, this is not a direct answer to the question asked... but an outside the box alternative.

I don't know if this is the same world-wide, however, in the UK at least - a physical paper receipt is not a legal requirement in order to return goods.

All that is required is proof of purchase.

This could be a bank or credit card statement containing the appropriate transaction. A redacted copy/scan/print is usually acceptable, in the interest of privacy.

This is most apparent when returning goods bought online, as both parties usually still have access to the transaction data already, but equally applies to in-store purchases.


I have seen several web pages mention that you can restore a faded receipt by applying heat to the back of the receipt, such as by using a hair dryer or holding it up to a light bulb.

However, looking at some Youtube videos (such as this), this technique will not restore the receipt to how it was originally. Instead it will have the inverse effect - the receipt will turn black and the original text will be white.

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