Helpful tips for returning gifts

CNN
Wednesday, December 25, 2013 - 11:00pm

It's not over at the malls yet. After the holiday shopping rush, comes the holiday return dash.

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, according to the national retail federation. Of that total, stores will lose an estimated $3.39 billion just during the holiday season.

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, common for electronics. And 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.

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