Get holiday gift returns in quickly
Millions of people will flood into stores after Christmas to return gifts they bought or received. It is best to get them in as quickly as possible; retailers are changing return policies this year.
Haste will avoid waste this year
Every year, millions of people take billions of dollars of merchandise back to stores because they bought or received the wrong gift, or received or gave something that just didn’t quite fit. Annual gift returns in America are a bigger industry than the entire economy of some countries.
According to CNN, the National Retail Federation anticipates that there will be $46.28 billion in returned gifts this year, and some stores are already reporting gifts being brought back before the gift has been given. Most stores don’t mind because market research has shown that up to 70 percent of people buy something after they’ve returned an item.
This year, shoppers want to get items returned as soon as possible, according to Life, Inc., as some stores are cutting the exchange window in half. ConsumerWorld found in its annual survey that many stores have trimmed the typical 90-day window for electronics returns to 45.
Check the return policy
The National Retail Federation also says 13 percent of stores it surveyed had implemented more restrictive return policy for the holidays. Target, for instance, has eliminated its 15 percent re-stocking fees on some items but won’t allow customers to return certain items if they have been out of the box.
WalMart has shortened the return time for cameras from 30 days to 15, starting Dec. 26. Best Buy is giving customers until Jan. 24 to return any holiday purchases, a one-week reduction. However, Reward members are exempt. Sears has ended its “Holiday Extended Return Policy,” and customers have 30 to 90 days to return items, depending on the item.
If an item was purchased online, there may be a respite, according to USA Today, as a fair number of retailers offer free returns for items purchased online. A survey by research firm MarketLive found 73 percent of retailers offered free returns online.
Nordstrom offers free returns for items purchased online year round and Saks Fifth Avenue also offers free returns on certain items. Anything bought at Neiman Marcus between Thanksgiving and Dec. 22 can also be returned free. However, some stores are a little more stingy. SportsAuthority, according to Life, Inc., won’t allow anyone to return anything in-store if purchased online.
Returns can be tricky, so consumers anticipating having to return an item or two should get the item returned as quickly as possible and be sure to check the return policy of the store in question. It is also a good idea to always include the receipt with a gift, in case the recipient may want to take care of it themselves.