By Mike Hellgren

BALTIMORE (WJZ)— It’s one of the top five days of the year for mall traffic. And the number of people returning gifts is on the rise too.

Mike Hellgren has what you should know about changing return policies.

That includes many major retailers like Target, where the return period for electronics has been cut in half.

If you’re buying, many stores have big sales—continuing discounts that started earlier than ever this season.

The crowds were back and so were the bargains on the third busiest shopping day of the year at malls.

“The sales are wonderful.  You’ve got to do some Christmas shopping for next year, start now,” said Peggy Butler, shopper in White Marsh.

“The kids got gift cards.  That’s the main reason why we’re here,” said Sabrina Sneed, shopper.

But many came to return. Nationwide, $46.3 billion in gifts will go back—a number that’s up 4 percent from last year.

“I returned two or three things, and it was very easy—no complications at all. A little line, but I expected that,” said Joe Wozniak, shopper.

Changing polices are causing some frustration.

At Target, the electronics return period has been shortened to 45 days from 90. But the restocking fee was dropped.

At Best Buy, the return deadline was shortened too by one week.

Toys ”R” Us and Sears have both shortened the return time for electronics. And online, has 30 different policies–returns are tied specifically to the product you buy.

“Sale items, they may have a completely different policy.  It may be a final sale, and don’t expect cash back especially with local, small retailers. It’s exchange and return only,” said Carmen Wong Ulrich, financial expert.

Many retailers are still trying to wring sales out of an especially good holiday season before they ring in the New Year.

“We have lots of merchandise that we didn’t get out before Christmas, so we’d love to have you in our stores,” said Michelle Belcastro, The Limited, White Marsh.

An American Express survey showed 57 percent of Americans planned to shop Monday. That’s up 14 percent over last year.

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