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If you haven't returned unwanted holiday gifts, return window is closing soon

Posted at 5:26 AM, Jan 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-06 07:36:59-05

If you were worried about supply chain problems and started your holiday shopping as early as October, major retailers like Amazon, Kohl's, Macy's, Marshalls, and more are giving you until the end of January to make returns.

"I like it. It's great. It gives you time to return your item," said Jasmine Atwater, who was making a return this week.

"If something doesn't work out, it makes it really easy for us to just get our money back and replace it or buy something else," said shopper Payton Berth.

Founder of consumerworld.org Edgar Dworsky does a survey each year on popular stores' return policies.

"We found many of them continued their policies from last year," said Dworsky.

"They really made the policies very liberal last year, expanding the return windows, so consumers have plenty of time to return unwanted presents. And they've continued that this year," he added.

His survey results show not every retailer is still widening their return window like Home Depot, for example.

"They changed their return policy. It was 180 days, now it's back to 90 days," he said.

Also, Walmart, Dworsky says, has shortened its return time frame by a couple of weeks. So he says, it's important to know the retailers' rules since dates vary by store.

"What's no surprise is how complex these policies are. I go in and I copy their text verbatim from their websites, from the twelve companies, and this year it came out to 75 pages in a Word document," Dworsky said.

"Who can read through all of that and understand all of the nuances that are involved? And a lot of this is to protect the store," he said.

"Return fraud is something like $25 billion a year. A crook grabs an item, comes into the store with it and says 'Oh I got this as a gift,' and they're trying to convert the stolen merchandise into cash. So I understand why stores really have to try and protect themselves," explained Dworsky.

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