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Facts and figures for the holidays 2023

Tips you need for holiday returns

Christmas Tree Mona's Farm George's House IMG_1618The holidays are a big time for spending and gift giving.

Americans are expected to spend between 3 percent and 4 percent more in 2023 than last year, about $957.3 billion and $966.6 billion, according to a survey conducted for the National Retail Federation.

That’s about $875 per person on core holiday items including gifts, decorations, food, and other holiday-related purchases.

All that spending means piles of presents. And, although the gifts were purchased with the best intentions, sometimes they aren’t a good fit.

Stores aren’t legally required to accept exchanges or give refunds unless the merchandise was defective or misrepresented. While most retailers do offer refund and exchange programs, policies vary from one store to another.

Here are some tips from the Better Business Bureau on how to make returns less stressful:

Get to know store policies. Ask about cut off dates, restocking fees, and if the store offers cash refunds, exchanges, or only store credit.

Understand online store return policies. Find out if the company accepts returns or exchanges and who pays for the shipping when an item is returned. Sometimes, you can return purchases to local retail stores.

Get the details on a product’s warranty. Ask if the store handles returns and repairs and whether it will ship the item to the manufacturer for you.

Keep your receipt and packaging. For most stores, you’ll need both.

Bring your ID. It helps avoid holiday return scams.

Make returns in a timely fashion. Although some stores modify their return period during the holidays, don’t delay.

See the Consumer World, a newsletter on consumer news, for an article on changes in return policies. Amazon, Macy’s, Staples, TJ Maxx, and Marshalls are among the stores making changes.

Happy holidays, gift opening, and returns.




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Carol Cassara

I've got 2 to do already.


I've got one ready to go. My husband misread my shoe size and got me a 6 instead of a 9.


It sounds like you're organized. I don't have any returns so far, but a couple of people haven't tried on their gifts, so we'll see.

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