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Target tightens return policy again

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It's that time of year again: Return season.

Chances are you have a couple of holiday gifts you need to exchange, but you haven't had time to get back to the store yet.

But we have a warning why you may want to do that sooner rather than later.

Target Tightens Electronics Policy

Target has become a favorite store in recent years, not just for clothing and cosmetics but for electronics as well.

But Sandra Lancaster just learned one downside of electronics shopping at target: A short return window!

"The guy that I purchased it from told me as long as I kept the receipt and the items were closed, I had 90 days," Lancaster said.

She insists the salesman told her she had 90 days -- 3 months -- to return the Nintendo 3DS she bought on October 30.

She showed me how the back of her receipt even says 90 days for most purchases.

But Target in 2011 reduced the return period for most electronics to 45 days, and in September 2012 reduced it again, to 30 days after the sale or after Christmas Day.

"Target, I came to find out," she said, "that they had changed their policy in late September. But I purchased these items in October."

Sure enough, the fine print on the front of her receipt states the deadline was 11/29/12... 30 days after her purchase.

Lancaster never saw it.

"That's totally unfair," she said. "because this is Christmas time, there's no way somebody's actually going to look at it."

We contacted Target, which promised to re-investigate Lancaster's case, but said the new policy was clearly on her receipt.

Which is a good lesson for anyone buying electronics: Save your receipt, check the deadline, and get it returned as soon as possible, just to be safe.

While Target's return policy is a bit tougher than Walmart's, Nordstrom's, or other stores, it's not bad at all as long as you return something within 30 days.

So with Target, get those unwanted gifts back early, so you don't waste your money.
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