September 15, 2014
WASHINGTON (AP) - It's not just the government that might be keeping tabs on you. Many retailers are tracking you, too - or at least your merchandise returns.
The companies say it's all in the name of security and fighting fraud. They want to be able to identify chronic returners or gangs of thieves trying to make off with high-end products that are returned later for store credit.
Consumer advocates are raising transparency issues about the practice of having companies collect information on consumes and create "return profiles" of customers at big-name retailers such as Best Buy, J.C. Penney, Victoria's Secret, Home Depot and Nike.
They say consumers should know upfront when they buy an item that they may later have their returns tracked if they bring back the merchandise.