Stores Get Stingy About Returns

Shoppers should expect a shorter grace period and be ready to flash an ID.

As you’re double-checking your holiday shopping list, tack on a reminder to read each store’s return policy before making your purchase. Some retailers are feeling a little less generous when it comes to returns. That even includes REI, an outdoor gear and sporting goods retailer long known for its no-time-limit and no-questions-asked return policy. The store recently trimmed its return window to one year, unless the merchandise is defective. To deter “wardrobing” -- the practice of buying, using and then returning a product (usually clothing) for a refund -- Bloomingdale’s recently began tagging some of its apparel with conspicuous plastic tags. If a tag is removed, shoppers can’t return the item.

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Kaitlin Pitsker
Associate Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Pitsker joined Kiplinger in the summer of 2012. Previously, she interned at the Post-Standard newspaper in Syracuse, N.Y., and with Chronogram magazine in Kingston, N.Y. She holds a BS in magazine journalism from Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.