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Stores offer generous return policies this holiday — with a lot of fine print

Return policies are more popular than ever — they're also more complicated.
/ Source: TODAY

Chances are, you'll be making some returns after the holiday, so be sure to brush up on store return policies. Also, consider these points from's 2015 survey on return policy trends and changes.

Shop assistant and customer in a shoe shop; Shutterstock ID 316971635; PO: today.comShutterstock
  • 49 percent of e-commerce retailers will now pay for your returns. Once upon a time, Zappos was one of the only online shops to do this. Now you’ve got Macy's, Target, Saks, Gap, Bloomingdale's, Old Navy, and so on.
  • Sears is among the retailers getting tougher in it's policies in terms of the time they'll give you to return. It used to allow some items to come back 60 or even 90 days. Now most goods have to be returned within 30 days, said ConsumerWorld’s Edgar Dworsky. Costco, too, is tightening up, and will no longer accept returns of tires, batteries, or custom orders.
  • Return policies have gotten more complicated over the years. Dworsky noted that the policies for the dozen or so big stores he looks at when pasted into a Word document totaled 67 pages and 26,000 words!
  • Make sure you have a receipt (or a gift receipt, for those you're buying presents for). Don’t remove any tags or packaging, and don’t dally on returning. Even if the policies are generous, you’ll have the most luck exchanging for other sizes and in-season merchandise if you act fast.