Returns, Driver’s Licenses and The Retail Equation

Returns, Driver’s Licenses and The Retail Equation

Stores will often ask you to show your driver’s license (or other government-issued ID) when you return a purchase and then record your information along with information about the returned items to help identify patterns of return fraud or abuse. They'll usually post return policies (in the store, online and on receipts) stating whether you will be required to present an ID to return or exchange merchandise.

The Retail Equation

While some manage return and exchange information in house, other stores use a company called The Retail Equation (TRE). They gather and analyze return information to develop the store's return policies. So when you make a return and the store takes down your driver’s license information, TRE compares your return frequency, dollar amounts and/or time to a set of rules (the store's return policy). If you make repeated returns or exchanges to the same store, it might not let you return/exchange items in the future.

You have the right to order a history of all your returns that TRE has tracked including

  • the store names
  • the date and time of the return
  • whether the item was returned with or without a receipt
  • the dollar amount

You can do this by emailing TRE ( with your name and a phone number where they can reach you.