Holiday return policies changed for 2010

After Christmas is over, a new holiday season arises: Christmas gift return season. Quite a few companies changed their return policies for Christmas 2010. Around 84 percent of stores kept their return policies the same as in 2009. However, 11 percent made their policies more strict and only 5 percent made their policies simpler. There was also the return of the “Blacklist”.

Some stores started checking a “Blacklist of Serial Returners” before allowing a return to be made.  The Blacklist is a new computer database by The Return Exchange of Irvine, CA that tracks customer returns and keeps track of “serial returners”. At many stores, consumers who returned an item were asked for their driver’s licenses for scanning. The list was to prevent people from making multiple false returns to make a profit, which inherently is stealing.

Toys ‘R’ Us refused to take back opened electronics. Walmart.com shortened it’s accepted camera return days from 30 to 15. Macy’s and JCPenny required their nicer dresses to have the tags on them when returned- to prevent “borrowing” an outfit for the Holidays. Amazon and Buy.com would not take back Televisions over 27 inches. Best Buy shortened it’s accepted computer return time to 14 days.

It wasn’t all bad, though. At Walmart , you could get up to $25 for items returned without receipts. Officemax began accepting open technology products (excluding cameras), but the consumer was expected to pay a 15 percent restocking fee. Macy’s extended its return policy from 180 days to unlimited time on most of its products, as long as you have the receipt. Some credit cards offered a return guarantee benefit by which the card issuer returned your money if the store would not take it back with in 90 days.

Make sure you know a store’s return policy before attempting to return an item for Christmas 2011. Do not open electronics if you plan to return them. Ask the one who gave you the unwanted gift for a receipt if they did not already include it. We all know that returning unwanted presents is part of Christmas.

Lauren Voyles, Staff writer

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