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Managing holiday returns and exchanges

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(WKOW) -- Before you return that sweater your mom gave you for the holidays, consumer experts say you should know what to expect before you head to the store or return something in the mail.

Like everything else, holiday gift returns and exchanges will look completely different this year because of COVID-19.

Experts say many retailers may offer contactless returns, so you should check with the store to see if that's an option. Also, read the fine print on your receipt to check the return window.

"Shoppers also need to be prepared that a lot of their favorite retailers have offered extended return windows, which is really great news because there is going to be some shipping issues when it comes to returns," said shopping expert Sara Skirboll with RetailMeNot.

If you're returning to an online store, the Better Business Bureau says you should find out if they accept returns or exchanges - and who pays for the shipping on that return.

"Will the company send you a return shipping tag? Or are you responsible for shipping it back? Because sometimes the return class for shipping is more than the item itself? So keep that in mind as well," said Tiffany Schultz with Better Business Bureau Serving Wisconsin.

Schultz also recommends having your tracking information handy and be prepared that online returns or exchanges may take longer to process than usual due to the major increase in online ordering this year.

As for returning items in-person, Skirboll recommends waiting until after January 1st to do so, so you can avoid the post-Christmas crowds.

For more tips on holiday returns and exchanges, visit the Better Business Bureau's website.

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