This year, returning a gift that was purchased online may be a bit more difficult, and in some cases, more expensive.
The National Retail Federation says that returns more than doubled during the pandemic. $218 billion worth of merchandise was returned during the lockdown, and they predict that number will stay the same this year.
The time you had to return a gift is shrinking, in some cases. 45 days was the norm. Now, some retailers have shortened that window to 30 days. Old Navy, Gap and Banana Republic for instance went back to a 30-day returns window. Some online stores are now charging you to mail back returns. LL Bean, for example, is charging a minimum of $6.50 to send an item back.
The best way to avoid a return fee is to return an online purchase to the retailer’s brick and mortar location, if they have one.