JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- 'Tis the season for holiday shopping, which means holiday returns aren't far behind. But heading back to the store won't dampen your holiday spirit if you're returning responsibly.
Every store has its own return policy and oftentimes, the store can look up your purchase with your credit or debit card. However, if you paid with cash and don't have a receipt, or if it's after the stores set limit, (30 days, 45 days, 60 days, etc.), stores usually process the return using your driver's license, and there could be a limit to the number of times you can return.
For example, Target will only allow you to return up to $70 of merchandise without any proof of purchase. After that, you cannot return any item to any Target store for a year unless you have a receipt.
Another major retailer, Best Buy, says it has a similar policy, but varies case by case. Yet both stores say the policy is a safety precaution to protect the store from fraudulent returns.
"It helps to ensure the return policy isn't being abused," says Best Buy Home Sales Manager Anthony Clark.
"That's how we track shortage," explains Kyan Wolf, a Team Leader at Target. "That's how we make sure that where we're losing our product and where we're gaining our product is all equal, and if it's not, then we need to focus on the areas that aren't equal. It just allows us to make sure the product that we're paying for to place in our stores is being sold in the right way."
Will too many receipt-less returns hurt your credit?
No. According to one financial expert, being blacklisted on returns will not harm your credit score. What will, he said, is opening store credit cards.
He said unless you have excellent credit, those cards can really do a number on your credit score because the limits are usually set fairly low, making it easy to "max" out. He also adds that if you do end up opening a store credit card, the best thing to do is pay it off in full, then close it.
So, the best things for your finances, credit -- and peace of mind -- this holiday season might just be to make sure you check store return policies, hold on your receipts, and try to avoid opening store credit cards.