How to quickly, easily return Christmas gifts

Investigators

It’s the day after Christmas. Malls are filled with folks, many of them looking for bargains or looking to return a gift that just wasn’t right.

It was one of the best shopping seasons retailers had in years. That means a  good percentage of those gifts will be coming right back to merchants because they weren’t right in one way or another.

According to a recent study by the National Retail Federation, 11 percent of items purchased will be returned, and 8 percent of those returns are likely to be fraudulent.

The federation said online selling is contributing to the problem of fraudulent returns. Criminals are targeting items that can be resold quickly.

For most, returns are a matter of personal preference. An item can be the wrong size or color, or be just too similar to something already in the closet. 

Those that plan to return an item shouldn’t open the box. Original packaging not intact could cost a 15 percent restocking fee. They’re especially prevalent on big-ticket items like electronics.

Most merchants allow 90 days for  returns but its best to check in individual store return policies and note any time limits. Consumer Reports has a list of the return policies of some major retailers here.

Just about all retailers list their rerun policies online so they can be checked before making a trip to the store. However, there’s a host of items that can’t be brought back. Many of them are electronics.

Items which aren’t returnable — like computer software, CDs, and DVDs — generally aren’t returnable once their packaging has been opened. Some stores will allow DVD exchanging. 

It goes without saying that having a receipt is going to eliminate most return hassles. But, these days, more and more stores are also requiring a drivers license or valid government ID in order to make a return because they track people and purchases. 

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