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Tips for hassle-free returns

  • <br/>Grace Curly at A Different Drummers Kitchen in Northampton. <br/>


    Grace Curly at A Different Drummers Kitchen in Northampton.
    Purchase photo reprints »

  • Holiday return policy at Different Drummers Kitchen in Northampton.  <br/>

    Holiday return policy at Different Drummers Kitchen in Northampton.
    Purchase photo reprints »

  • State law says return policies must be prominently posted at the point of sale. Above, Denise Pope staffs the cash register at Different Drummer's Kitchen in Northampton.

    State law says return policies must be prominently posted at the point of sale. Above, Denise Pope staffs the cash register at Different Drummer's Kitchen in Northampton. Purchase photo reprints »

  • Sales associate Grace Curley of  Different Drummer's Kitchen in Northampton says the store wants its return policy to produce satisfied customers. "We try to make it as painless as possible," Curley said of returns.

    Sales associate Grace Curley of Different Drummer's Kitchen in Northampton says the store wants its return policy to produce satisfied customers. "We try to make it as painless as possible," Curley said of returns. Purchase photo reprints »

  • <br/>Grace Curly at A Different Drummers Kitchen in Northampton. <br/>
  • Holiday return policy at Different Drummers Kitchen in Northampton.  <br/>
  • State law says return policies must be prominently posted at the point of sale. Above, Denise Pope staffs the cash register at Different Drummer's Kitchen in Northampton.
  • Sales associate Grace Curley of  Different Drummer's Kitchen in Northampton says the store wants its return policy to produce satisfied customers. "We try to make it as painless as possible," Curley said of returns.

Millions of people will return items this holiday season. While many retailers have generous return policies during the holidays, experts say it is up to the consumer to read the fine print.

Here are some return tips from Consumer Reports:

∎ Store policies vary widely, so check the time frame for returns before you make a purchase — or try to return an item.

∎ Bring identification. A driver’s license or other government-issued ID may be required to return items, even if you have a receipt.

∎ Bring the original receipt or gift receipt. Without it you’ll likely get only store credit, or nothing at all. Technology is changing that, however: Some stores can locate purchases via the credit or debit card that was used or by electronic receipt.

∎ If you open it, it’s yours. Retailers often struggle to resell merchandise that’s been opened, which has led some to charge a restocking fee of as much as 25 percent.

∎ Know where to go. Sometimes online purchases can be returned to a retailer’s brick-and-mortar stores. Check the store’s website to find out.

∎ Don’t delay. Because of mounting returns, many retailers have shortened the time period after a purchase that they’re willing to accept a return.

— CHAD CAIN

Related

Don’t want that gift? Return it (but play by the rules)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

NORTHAMPTON — If you unwrap an ugly tie, a boring book or an unneeded gadget this Christmas, odds are good you’ll do what thousands of people do every holiday season — return it. Returning gifts is a holiday tradition, and it’s also big business. Shoppers returned some $217 billion worth of items in 2011, or 9 percent of all retail …

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