Retailers Want More Personal Info In Exchange For Returns

CHICAGO (CBS) — Now that holiday gifts have been exchanged, it may be time for you to head to the store to return something that isn’t quite right.

Be warned: You may be asked for personal information. CBS 2’s Susan Carlson explains.

Oh, for the good old days when most stores would take back just about anything.

No receipt, no tags, no problem.

“There was this whole idea of relationship marketing, like let’s build relationships with the consumers and by doing that we build trust and loyalty and that means they’ll be repeat purchasers,” Susan Dobscha of Bentley University says.

You’ll need more than a receipt these days. More stores are requiring photo ID’s, a home address, phone numbers and even email information before you can make an exchange.

“They’re trying to really batten down and hyper-control the return policies,” Dobscha said.

Retailers say they need to crack down on returns because it costs them so much. On average, 10 percent of all purchases get brought back to the store. And then there’s fraud. Shoplifted items without receipts are also returned for cash.

Still, shoppers say some stores go too far and question why retailers need so much personal information.

Some retailers are using all this personal information for more than just theft prevention. They’re using it for marketing databases.

Shoppers, however, don’t like the idea of customer service turning into Big Brother.

Edgar Dworksy of says shoppers have rights — to a point.

“Technically, a merchant has to disclose their return policy clearly and conspicuously before you buy,” he said. “Could an argument be made that they have to also say, ‘We are going to require personal identification when you return the goods?’ It’s a little bit of a gray area.”

There’s no law in Illinois that limits what personal information retailers can ask for when you return something. But consumer experts warn that one thing you should never give out is your social security number.

  • Margie

    REatailers are crazy if they think I’m gone give in front of everybody my date of birth( requested at Butera when you purchase alcohol.) the cashier when very load luckly I lied but she repeat it very load no need to this.
    or my zip code and now they are asking for phone number…just say yes and give any number you don’t have to disclosure your personal information in front of other customers. hell with that
    Goverment should take care of this matter they are going too far.
    I’m writting a letter to Lisa Marigan about this you shuld to.

    • ICanSpell

      Make sure you learn to spell first, something tells me they won’t be taking you very seriously if you can’t be arsed to proofread.

  • Upset with Nike

    Purchased over $400 at Nike Outlet – no questions asked. I returned less than $50. of merchandise and they actually took my driver’s license and scanned it. I was livid, there’s a lot of personal information in the magnetic strip, much more than they are entitled to. This should be illegal. I gave her the license thinking she was just going to look at it. She quickly scanned it, and once it’s done, how can a consumer undo it?

  • Joe



  • Really?

    They asked for your date of birth, when purchasing alcohol, shame on them. What will those rascal retailers do next, ask for a photo ID to verify it?

    you sound like an idiot.

  • David Cox Jr.

    My company Barcode Security Systems has a patented solution for product return fraud that will work well with retailers and the public. Go to

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