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Taking the Hassle Out of Gift Returns

Taking the Hassle Out of Gift Returns

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Victoria Lim reporting Gift buying may be the easiest part of the whole transaction. But before you make that purchase, we'll show you how to take the hassle out of holiday shopping.

Is that sweater really the right size, shape, and color? Will that remote control car really rev the recipient's engine? You better make sure, because this year, retailers are cracking down even harder on returns.

Rick McAllister Florida Retail Federation: "It's not meant as a deterrent to our regular customers, certainly we always encourage them to bring things back, but we gotta stop this organized crime because, remember, that raises our prices to everybody."

Rick McAllister of the Florida retail federation says this season's stricter policies will curb theft.

But University of South Florida marketing professor Yancy Edwards says that's only part of the reason.

Yancy Edwards, USF Marketing Professor: "The fulfillment process of actually taking that product back, and there's an entire staff associated with returns."

The process and staff costs money, and that's what's driving the tighter policies. Some retailers like Best Buy, will charge restocking fees, a percentage of the items price, just to return it. At other stores, like Kay-B toys, the price is your privacy. You need to provide your id so they can track your returns.

Annette Marcamo asks for gift receipts to make it easy for her recipients.

Annette Marcamo, Shopper: "The gift receipts are very helpful, they can go back, they don't know how much we spent, they can go back and shop."

The Gap offers gift receipts, but even if you don't have one, it will try to provide an alternative.

Angela Maher, Gap Manager: "We don't have a receipt showing the original form it was paid so just to prevent fraud from happening, we can't give cash back, we can definitely exchange it for anything in the store."

Yancy Edwards, USF Marketing Professor: "As opposed to the customer being king, or the customer being right, given this time that we're in, the customer better beware."

So before you buy, ask about the return policy so the post-holidays are problem free for you and your gift recipients.

A few other tips to remember: Leave tags on the items, for easier returns, and pay by credit card, especially when buying online. Credit cards let you dispute charges if the item is defective or not what you ordered.

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