5 things to know about returning holiday gifts

After the presents are unwrapped and stockings unstuffed, shoppers will head back to local retailers to return those gifts they really didn’t want.

Here’s what to know as you head out to local malls and retailers:

1. More than two-thirds of consumers plan to take advantage of post-holiday sales — either in store or online. Eight out of 10 millennials plan to shop for deals after Christmas, according to the National Retail Federation. About 48 percent of people will shop in stores and 44 percent will shop online. Only 32 percent of people said they won’t shop at all.

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2. More than one-third of Americans will return at least one holiday gift this year, according to the National Retail Federation. Gordon Gough, the president and CEO of the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants, told this newspaper that Ohio retailers will still do quite well in the days and weeks following the holiday season.

3. About 75 percent of consumers planned to purchase at least one gift card this season, and about 16 percent of consumers planned on buying six or more. More than 20 percent of consumers spent $21 to $50 on gift cards in November, and the majority of gift cards bought were for restaurants or department stores.

4. Why do so many people buy gift cards for the holidays? About 48 percent of consumers said gift cards allow the recipient to select their own gifts. They’re also easier and faster to buy than traditional gifts, and simpler to mail or ship.

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5. A recent study from Deloitte showed return policies can impact where consumers want to shop. About 67 percent of consumers want to shop at a store that has refund options other than just store credit — and 55 percent of consumers want return policies to have a longer time-frame to get the item back to the store.

Consumers can make sure they get their monies worth on returns, according to the Better Business Bureau, which offers the following tips:

• Keep your receipts. If you’re purchasing a gift, ask for a gift receipt.

• Know when the return policy expires. Retailers typically have a certain time frame that they allow items to be returned.

• If you an electronic, don’t remove it from the box. Some stores will not accept returns unless the merchandise is in its original packaging.

• Ask if there is a fee for shipping an online purchase back to the retailer. An alternative might be returning it to a local store for free.

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