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December returns save money?

By Naomi Mannino · Bankrate.com
Friday, December 23, 2011
Posted: 12 pm ET

In an article from The Boston Globe titled, "Take that back! Returns are big for the holidays," the reporter found that consumers are returning holiday purchases now, before Christmas, as a function of buyer's remorse and families needing more money as December wears on.

I decided to find out how big a trend that really is, so Red Plum, the coupon distributor, put it to a poll of their Facebook community exclusively for me. I picked Red Plum because they are a frugal bunch of purchasers, and I figured if anyone had buyer's remorse it would be frugal people trying to stick to their holiday budgets.

On Wednesday night we polled  the question, "Have you returned any of your holiday purchases yet?"  and got 71 responses as of last night. Approximately 20 percent of respondents said they had returned gifts already, but the most common response was not because of buyer's remorse. Our respondents returned gifts because of a duplicate purchase. "Yes, I returned a set of beads that my sister-in-law also purchased for my niece," said AnneMarie,  and there were similar comments from many others. A few respondents did return gifts because they changed their holiday budget plan or found something similar but cheaper. "Yep, returned a gift for our kids because we found another even better and $20 cheaper," said Robin, in the Facebook comments for the poll.

The Boston Globe story also found  a similar trend in consumers finding a better deal elsewhere later in December that spurred a return.  Other reasons for December returns: more lenient return policies and excessive spending on Black Friday deals.

I have not returned anything yet, only because I'm just now shopping today and can't decide how much money to spend on my three teenagers' lofty requests of Ugg boots, cameras, tablets and dirt bikes. I feel like no matter what I get, it will not be smart spending or appreciated.

So how about you? Have you made any returns already or are you just getting started on your shopping? Why?

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1 Comment
Naomi Mannino
December 27, 2011 at 11:55 am

Update: I did end up returning a pair of slippers to Target purchased for 14.99 when I saw the stacks of Dearfoams marked-down 50% off (to just $5!)at Publix on Saturday, just before Christmas Day.