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Many major retailers are making it easier to return purchases

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

With the holiday season winding down and Christmas ornaments being packed away, many New Mexicans will face one last holiday task – returning Christmas presents.

Experts are anticipating billions of dollars worth of pants that are too large, sweaters that are too garish and other such unwanted presents to be taken back to stores for exchange or refund.

A report published by CBRE this month estimates consumers will be returning up to $70.5 billion worth of holiday items.

Many of these returns, according to the report, will be due to the massive boom in e-commerce shopping this year. Online holiday shopping grew by 40% in 2020 to $234.9 billion.

Faced with the COVID-19 pandemic and public health restrictions retailers are looking for ways to ease some of the hassle associated with returning products.

“Many retailers’ returns policy is a competitive differentiator, especially during the holiday season, and has become increasingly important to attract and retain customers,” the report said.

Large chain stores like Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods announced new programs to streamline the return process.

Walmart announced a new free return option that allows customers to return items for free through mail delivery services.

“Just make the return through your account, schedule a pickup date, pack up your items and Carrier Pickup by FedEx will do the rest,” a Walmart spokeswoman said in an email announcing the program.

Some Walmart locations will also be adding additional return counters in the store and eliminating the need for return receipts if the purchase was made with a debit or credit card, the spokeswoman said.

As Walmart takes its returns process out of its brick and mortar stores, Amazon has taken rather the opposite approach by moving into physical stores to handle returns.

Amazon orders needing to be returned can be dropped off at participating Kohl’s locations for free, and sales associates will pack and ship the items.

If you’re worried about long lines for in-store returns, many companies have also extended their return policies.

Home Depot’s return policy is extended from 90 days to 180 days for most items, and Target extended its return policy for electronic and entertainment items with the 30-day return period beginning Saturday.

Dick’s Sporting Goods also extended its return policy to 90 days from 60 days and is offering contactless curbside returns.

Be sure to call ahead to local retailers to be sure of their return policies.

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