Consumer Alert: Still have gifts to return?  You’d better hurry

Consumer Alert 1/8

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Did you get something for Christmas that’s just not your style? The deadline to return it is quickly approaching, and in some cases, it’s already here. Return deadlines are different for purchases over the holidays. While in some cases they’re more generous, in many cases they’re not. 

And if you have to mail in your return, it might cost you. That’s because returns for online orders have become far more costly for retailers. In fact, according to retail technology company, Navar, about 40 percent of retailers are charging you a fee to process your return. That’s up from 31 percent in 2022.  There are far more returns, not only because we’re shopping more online, but also because the number of shoppers who buy the same item in several sizes, then send back the one that doesn’t fit.

If you have to mail in your return, here’s what some major retailers are charging you to do it. 

  • Amazon now charges a $1 fee if you drop off your return at a UPS store.
  • DSW charges $8.50
  • JC Penney charges $8.00.
  • If you want to mail your return to TJ Maxx that will cost $11.99.
  • And the Kohl’s website says you have to pay for shipping if you return your item by mail.           

If you’re returning items to the store, here are some deadlines that are here or swiftly approaching.

  • Apple always has a painfully short return window, and it’s equally painful during the holidays. Anything you bought during November and December has to be returned Jan. 8 for a full refund.
  • You have until Jan. 9 for Apple products you bought at Target.
  • You have until Jan. 15 for an Apple product purchased on Amazon.
  • At Best Buy, for most items bought over the holidays, you have until Jan. 13.
  • You have until Jan. 23 at Lululemon.
  • The deadline is Jan. 24 at Zales and Target.

For most stores I haven’t mentioned, you have until the end of the month. But if you didn’t get a gift receipt, you may have to settle for an exchange or store credit. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. There’s no point in holding onto that tie you hate if you can exchange it for something you don’t.