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.

  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.
  • The National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER) is the nation’s oldest and largest higher education finance trade association. NCHER’s membership includes state, nonprofit, and for-profit higher education service organizations, including lenders, servicers, guaranty agencies, collection agencies, financial literacy providers, and schools, interested and involved in increasing college access and success. It assists its members in shaping policies governing federal and private student loan and state grant programs on behalf of students, parents, borrowers, and families.

  • Since 2007, the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) has served as a trusted, neutral source of information for more than eight million homeowners. They are partnered with, and endorsed by, numerous major government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of the Treasury.

  • The mission of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD works to strengthen the housing market in order to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; and build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.

  • The Council on Accreditation (COA) is an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. Their mission is to partner with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying, and promoting accreditation standards.

  • The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.