Holiday returns could cost you as stores change policies, phase out free mail returns

Diane Wilson Image
Monday, December 26, 2022
Holiday returns could cost you as stores change policies
Now that Christmas is over retailers are dealing with the great gift return, and for some returns, it could cost you

Now that Christmas is over retailers are dealing with the great gift return, and for some returns, it could cost you. According to the National Retail Federation, in terms of holiday sales, retailers expect to see an average of about 18% of merchandise returned, which equals nearly $171 billion.

More and more retailers are now charging return fees if you return by mail.

For J Crew, $7.50 will be deducted from your refund when using their prepaid label. For Dillard's, the customer is responsible for the shipping charges if mailing in the return. To avoid those fees, see if you can return the item to the store for free.

When it comes to gifts from Amazon, typically you can avoid any shipping fees if you take it to drop-off return spots like Whole Foods or Kohl's.

Carrie Hill had several returns to make, "Gifts we got on Amazon that turned out to not be the right sizes." She says no matter where she buys from, she looks at the return policy. "I always make sure it's the free returns," Hill adds.

Derek Johnson also had some holiday returns to make. Johnson said, "Santa gave us a coffee maker and the filter is the wrong size." His return was also free since he bought it through Amazon. "I just use the Amazon app, walk in and return it," Johnson added as he walked into Whole Foods, an Amazon return site.

When it comes to returns, many retailers have shortened the return window, so make sure you see what day that return needs to happen. Also before you go to make a return, look to see if you'll be charged a re-stocking fee. This normally happens with electronics, big-ticket items, or any specialty item.

Best Buy shows you on their website which items have a fee. Drones, DSLR cameras, along with other electronics have a 15% restocking fee, these fees normally happen with electronics, big ticket items, or any specialty item. Some items like custom or personalized items are final sales and not returnable

To get the most for your return, make sure you take the gift receipt or even better original receipt to make sure you get the full value, plus it proves the return came from that store.

Here's what to know about stores' updated policies and return fees

Holiday shoppers beware: Some major retailers are adjusting their shipping return policies, meaning free online returns could become a thing of the past.

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