Take Headaches Out of Returning Holiday Gifts

Holiday sales hit near record levels, as bargain hunters chased down all the great deals, giving a much-needed boost to the economy.

But now, come the returns!

About 20 percent of Americans will return at least one holiday gift, according to Consumer Reports.

And, with fraud at an all-time high, some stores are enforcing stricter return policies, according to AOL Consumer Adviser Regina Lewis.

On the other hand, she points out, many stores are loosening up a bit regarding givebacks of holiday items.

So, on "The Early Show" Monday, Lewis offered pointers to help ease the returns process for you.

Among them:

-- Have your receipt, gift receipt or purchasing card to prove purchase date and amount.
-- Return time limits vary widely by retailer and by item being returned.
-- Don't open or use unwanted gifts.
-- You may be able to return items bought online at the store.

For all of Lewis' tips, click on the video below:

Get the Most out of Holiday Returns