MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Whether it’s a gadget you don’t need or a sweater you won’t wear, chances are you received at least one gift you want to return this Christmas.
U.S. retailers are expecting to handle about $72 billion worth of holiday returns this year, according to estimates from the National Retail Federation. That's 10 percent of their total holiday sales.
Randy Hutchinson, Mid-South Better Business Bureau President, said despite what some shoppers thing, stores don't have to accept returns.
"The merchant is not obligated to take it back so the merchant can’t set their own return policies. You have to know those ahead of time," Hutchinson said.
He said return fraud is at an all-time high, with people returning stolen items and more commonly people doing what's called "wardrobing."
"(Wardrobing) gets its name from buying a dress and wearing it to one event, and really applies to buying any item, using it one time and then taking it back looking to get a full refund," Hutchinson said.
It's why many stores now limit the number of returns you can make without a receipt. Some now also charge a restocking fee on open electronics.
Many stores offer extended holiday return windows.
Gift cards were one of the most requested gifts for the 12th straight year. Many gift cards are only redeemable at a certain store or location. Consumer Reports has a guide on which stores offer returns and when.
Cards can be registered as credit cards on websites listed on the card, which can protect them against theft or loss.
If you have an unwanted card, you can sell it for cash at several exchange sites--however, you might not get the card's full value back.
So if you're looking to make an honest return the days after Christmas, Hutchinson said check the return policy before you buy or head back to the store, hang onto the receipt or give a gift receipt, and don't open boxes you may not keep.