About 40 percent of Americans plan to return at least one holiday gift, according to the National Retail Federation. Madison-area retail analyst Doug Johnson says that percentage is increasing. He says the challenge for retailers — and honest shoppers — is the bad guy.
“So the shoplifters don’t use returns as a way to scam millions and millions of dollars away from honest retailers which of course translates into higher prices for honest shoppers.”
Considering some people abuse the system, retailers have stricter policies, such as requiring a receipt, charging restocking fees, and keeping track of the frequency and volume an individual returns merchandise.
Johnson says, in order to save time and hassle, consumers should be well-prepared. But Johnson says it’s not all bad. “Keep in mind when shoppers go back to the stores to return gifts they often buy more gifts.” He says it’s a “win-win” situation because it extends the holiday shopping season.
Johnson doesn’t have the secret to avoiding long lines, whether returning an item or purchasing something. But, he says some people learn to take advantage of a bad situation to suit their needs. For example, he says, the bad weather might keep most people away, while the adventurous shoppers hit the stores and avoid the crowds.