Remember in let's say, 2015 how we would occasionally get weird news and we would post about it on social media, and then it was back to normal? It appears those days are on hold and have been for about a year. The latest is that you might be able to get a refund for the Christmas gift that doesn't fit, for example, AND keep the gift!

According to the Wall Street Journal a few major retailers are weighing the costs of processing refunds and returns and in some cases, it is more cost-effective to issue a refund AND let you keep the item. Which retailers? TargetWalmart and Amazon are among the few that could become the first of many to follow.

The pandemic is credited to an enormous increase in online shopping and with that we saw a 70% increase in returns from 2019 to 2020. The answer for some of these companies will be to use artificial intelligence to determine whether it makes sense to process the return. If it doesn't make sense some, like Target, will encourage you to donate the item.

I have not tried this myself as of yet but it appears that if the online shopping trends continue to surge this may become a  common practice with several retailers. There is no guarantee this will be your scenario either. According to the option to keep the refunded item is usually for items the company doesn't plan to resell. The option is also determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on the individual customer's purchase history and the cost of processing the return.

Is this the "new normal"? It quite possibly is.


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