‘Tis the season to return your Christmas gifts (a lot of gifts)

This week marks the beginning of gift-returning season.

Marketing data firm Inmar says about one-third of retailers are expecting to see between 11% to 20% of the items they sold this holiday season returned.

Some estimates put the dollar figure for all of those returned gifts at roughly $170 billion (that’s the equivalent the the annual GDP of the entire state of Iowa).

Charisse Jones, national business correspondent at USA Today, gave CBS these tips for returning Christmas gifts:

  • Decide fast. If you think you might want to return something, move fast. Previously generous return windows are shrinking.
  • Prepare to pay a fee. Many retailers are also charging customers for returns that used to be free.
  • Go to the physical store. Rather than mailing your unwanted gift, go to the retail store when you can. In many cases, that will save you from paying the restocking fee sellers charge for mail returns.

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