The Day After Christmas: many happy returns - WDRB 41 Louisville News

The Day After Christmas: many happy returns

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- On the day after Christmas, hundreds of thousands of shoppers will rush to stores to return gifts.

Here are some tips to consider before making that trip to the return desk.

Not every gift is a perfect fit, and stores understand that. Still, many retailers have adopted stiffer return policies that consumers encounter only once per year.

Return fraud can be costly for stores -- to the tune of almost $9 billion dollars, according to the National Retail Federation. Of that total, stores will lose an estimated $3.39 billion during the holiday season alone.

It's become even more crucial for consumers to read the fine print on a gift receipt before heading to the store.

Consumer reports suggests looking for the length of the return window, and whether holiday gifts get an extension.

Certain items carry a restocking fee -- quite common for electronics.

Be mindful that some things like video games and movies can't be returned once opened.

Kiplinger's Personal Finance also reminds returning shoppers to bring their state-issued ID to the store. A retailer may ask for it, especially if you don't have the receipt. It's just one step stores are taking to identify repeat return offenders.

Here are a few more tips from the Better Business Bureau for returning gifts:

Returns are a store policy – not a law. Find out about a store's return policies before making a purchase. Some stores require products be returned within a specific period of time.

Health regulations forbid returns of such items as hats, bathing suits, and other intimate apparel.

Have your purchase or gift receipts. It shows proof of purchase and proof of price. This is important. If an item goes on sale after Christmas, you need to show full price was paid before Christmas.

Understand exchanges or credits. In a product exchange, an item may be returned and another item of equal value may be received in its place. For example, returning a size small sweater for a medium size. In other instances, customers may receive a credit slip after returning an item. This store credit allows the consumer to purchase any other item at that store which has the same monetary value as the item he or she has returned. 

What to do if the product has a separate written warranty. Some products have warranties that spell out the manufacturer's liability if the product is defective. Reading a product's warranty before returning an item to a store from which it was purchased is highly recommended. In some cases, warranties exempt stores from product liability and require consumers to mail the product to a manufacturer or other business in order to receive monetary refunds, credit, or product replacement.

If the purchase is made under a written contract, normal return privileges may be affected. A contract usually provides its own conditions for return of the goods and cancellation of an agreement. Always read and understand a contract before you sign it; never sign a blank contract and always keep a copy of the contract.

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