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Advice For Consumers After The Christmas Holiday

The Better Business Bureau of St. Louis is reminding shoppers to be just as cautious after Christmas as before.

The organization's vice president of communications, Chris Thetford, says if you’re shopping in person, make sure you always know the location of your credit or debit card. Online, he says, make sure to use a secure site.

“If possible, when you’re shopping online always use a credit card so that if you have a problem with a purchase you can challenge those charges and use your credit card company to provide some leverage to take care of any problems you might have,” he says.

Thetford says legislation approved by Congress two years ago means shoppers have longer to use gift cards before they expire. But he says consumers still need to be aware that companies do charge fees on older gift cards.

For those who got a less-than-desirable present this holiday season, the Better Business Bureau wants you to remember that stores aren’t required to accept returns.

Thetford says stores are only required to take back merchandise that is defective, though most retailers do allow returns in other situations. He says returns are easier with a gift receipt.

“Also, find out whether the return policies apply to items that were on sale or on clearance, and ask about whether there are any restocking fees associated with any returns that you might be making,” says Thetford.

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