Based on its annual return policy survey, ConsumerWorld.org says that three major stores have shortened their return periods, but most retailers' return policies have remained about the same as last year.
According to the National Retail Federation, 28% of stores surveyed change their return policies for the holidays, while 72% keep them the same. These special holiday policies typically extend the normal return period into January or even February. Consumer World found a few high-profile stores, however, have tightened restrictions for goods like electronics and appliances.
Many stores continue to "slice and dice" their return policies, creating complicated rules for different categories of items. Electronic items may be subject to stricter rules than say, clothing. Computers, digital cameras, and opened goods may be subject to limited return rights, restocking fees, shorter return periods, or no refunds at all, in part to discourage buyers from "renting" goods for the weekend and to help thwart return fraud. Online policies may also differ from store rules.
Noteworthy policies, policy changes, or unusual return policies for 2013 include: