Nearly 40-percent of Americans are expected to take back at least one gift after the holidays according to The National Retail Federation. If that percentage includes you this year, Consumer Reports says you could run into stricter return policies.
"Restocking fees are fairly common in large electronics stores, but we're seeing them in other places too. Sears, for example, has a 15% restocking fee for some appliances, tools and lawn and garden products." said Consumer Reports' Tobie Stanger
Other large retailers have also tightened the reigns on returns. Target limits returns without receipts to just two per year, and only for items worth less than $20. And Lowe's, K-Mart, and Wal-Mart are among the retailers that now use computer systems to monitor how often customers return something without a sales slip.
Consumer Reports says the best way to reduce hassles is to include a gift receipt with your gift. If you bring back a gift receipt, you're going to get the item's full price instead of the post-holiday sale price.
And when you get a gift, handle it with care. Damaged boxes, lost tags or missing packaging make it less likely you'll get full value for a return.
Don't linger too long when it comes to returns, but Consumer Reports says many stores do have longer return policies for things purchased during the holidays.