Retailers are Lenient with Holiday Returns

Shoppers across much of the country are heading back to the stores today to trade in gifts.

While a snowstorm slowed some down here in the Wiregrass shoppers have been busy.

According to a consumer reports, nearly one in four Americans plan to return at least one holiday gift.

In the past, that meant long lines and high frustration, but this year could be another story.

Target shopper, Wanda Anderson says, “I'm never looking forward to returns, that's awful, but I’ve got to do Sears, Kohl's, Wal-Mart."

"It's been steady, but not too bad. We're kind of accustomed to having returns after Christmas," says Jason Brown, manager of Ronnie’s Mens and Boys Wear.

It could be much easier and less costly to make those returns than in the past.

“A third of all retailers said they are trying to be more lenient this year,” says Regina Lewis, AOL Consumer Advisor.

Best Buy announced earlier this month it is eliminating its re-stocking fee on all products, except special orders. Also, if you need to make a return at Target, but don't have a receipt. It’s no problem. Just be prepared to pull out your ID.

“What they are really trying to prevent is serial returners, people who are trying to abuse the system.
So for the rest of us, expect to be asked for your driver’s license. No big deal, you're good,” says Lewis.

Here is some other advice to make the exchange process a pleasant one. Retailers say leave your tags on, have the receipt, and perhaps most importantly.

"Try to be patient, and we can get it fixed up for you," said Brown.

Also manage your expectations in terms of what you are going to get back.

Lewis says, "If you have the card that you purchased it on you're really in business. Otherwise, if you have a gift receipt, it gets you merchandise credit. So you are going to have to trade it in for something at the store."

If you were planning to shop the blow-out sales there are fewer than expected.
Analysts say that's because retailers did pretty well before Christmas, and don't have much left-over inventory to dump at any price.

According to MasterCard’s spending-pulse, online sales rose by more than 15-percent from Halloween through Christmas Eve, compared to last year.

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