Retailers tighten rules on returned items

by: Sarah Rosario Updated:

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The shopping frenzy continued Thursday as hundreds flocked to stores for holiday returns and some customers might have faced some challenges.

Eyewitness News found out the rules retailers have put in place to protect themselves.

The after-Christmas sale signs are out and the shoppers are too.

Tracy Kennedy came prepared to shop for her teenage son with coupons in hand.

"I'm happy with everything we're finding, good deals. He got Christmas money, and we already went to the bank first. So mom didn't have to spend her money," said Tracy Kennedy.

The deals are just one of the many reasons people shop the day after Christmas while holiday returns are another motivation to file into stores.

Some experts say retail sales have dropped for the past three weeks.

Northlake Mall General Manager Phil Morosco said he thinks sales Thursday will help turn that around.

"We had a great December and I just think this is going to build on that. I know nationwide it wasn't a strong (month), but I think we had a pretty good one," said Morosco.

But when it comes to returning that unwanted gift, Morosco said it's important to read the fine print. In order to make up for losses, retailers are tightening the rules.

Some items can't be returned, such as certain electronics or items bought on final sale.

Other items also carry a restocking fee.

"For a store to be competitive, they've got to be competitive in their rules about returning as well. If not they're going to ruin their business," said Morosco.

Retailers lose almost $9 billion a year because of retail fraud and it estimates $3.9 billion of that takes place during the holiday season, according to the National Retail Federation.

Customers will also be asked to show identification.

It's another step retailers are taking to identify repeat offenders.

Morosco said gift card sales will help boost profits through the middle of January.

He said business will die down in February.

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