Holiday returns: Read the fine print

(CNN) - It’s not over at the malls yet. After the holiday shopping rush comes the holiday return dash.

Because not every gift is necessarily a perfect fit, many retailers have adopted stricter return policies that consumers encounter just once a year.

Return fraud can be costly for stores – to the tune of almost $9 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. Of that total, stores will lose an estimated $3.9 billion just during the holiday season.

As a result, it has become even more crucial for consumers to read the fine print on a gift receipt before heading to the store. Consumer reports suggest looking for the length of that return window, and whether holiday gifts in particular get an extension.

Certain items also carry a restocking fee, which is common for electronics. And speaking of electronics, be mindful that some things like video games and movies can’t be returned once opened.

Kiplinger’s personal finance also reminds returning shoppers to bring their state-issued ID to the store. A retailer may ask for it, especially if you don’t have the receipt.

It’s just one step stores are taking to identify repeat return offenders.