Happy returns

After the holidays, the long lines move from the check out counters to the return counters. In fact, 46 percent of consumers surveyed by Discover Card stated that they return gifts “every once in a while.” And three percent of surveyed consumers admitted they return “most” gifts.

Because approximately 9 percent of returns in the US are fraudulent, costing retailers an estimated $16 billion a year, some retailers have recently adopted more stringent return policies. On the off chance your gift is unwanted gift, consider taking the following advice to make the receiver’s return process as painless as possible.

Include the receipt. Most stores can provide you with a gift receipt that you can discreetly tuck into the package.

Watch the condition. Don’t take apart the packaging. Typically, a store will not accept returns of items that have been opened.

Consider alternatives. If you aren’t sure what to buy someone, cash is one-size-fits-all.

Get creative. Instead of giving store-bought gifts, make homemade jam, knit a scarf, or assemble a photo album. Give vouchers good for car washes or baby-sitting.

Finally, don’t be offended or surprised if your gift becomes a regift. Nearly seven out of ten (68%) women regift or are thinking about it (compared with only 47% of men).

Kim McGrigg is the former Manager of Community and Media Relations for MMI.