NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Sometimes you receive a Christmas gift that wasn’t on your list, but returning gifts you don’t want can sometimes be difficult.

As CBS2’s Kenneth Craig reported, when Celeste Worthington goes holiday shopping, she tries to find gifts her family won’t want to return, but she always has a backup plan.

“I ask for gift receipts, and I usually put it in the box or with the gift,” she said.

And according to Consumer Reports, that’s a very smart idea. The group estimates around 40 percent of Americans will try to return or exchange gifts they don’t like.

But experts say doing that is becoming more difficult without a receipt because of fraud. An increasing number of merchants are reporting they’ve been victimized by shoplifters who then try to return stolen items for cash.

“Eighty-five percent of retailers now require identification, for example, if you don’t have a receipt,” said Consumer Reports Senior Project Editor Tod Marks.

Marks said if you don’t have a receipt and are trying to get a refund, keep the gift in its unopened original packaging. He said to also be prepared for possible restocking fees and store credit only.

“It can be frustrating,” said shopper Paula Colbach.

Many retailers allow shoppers to return a holiday gift until the end of January.

Gerald Forman said his plan this holiday is season is avoiding that possibility all together.

“I found the best thing to do, really, is to give money,” he said.

 

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