Was your return denied?

Was your transaction warned or denied?

Seeking information? Check out our FAQs

Feel like your return was wrongfully denied?

Follow these three steps to learn more.

Step 1

Request your transaction info

You may request a copy of your Retail Activity Report (RAR) from our online portal. Please be prepared to provide your Transaction ID (this is the ID located on the receipt that was provided when your Transaction was warned or denied). Request a copy of your RAR
Call us at the phone number on your receipt – please be prepared to provide your transaction ID, ID number, full name, address and phone number.

Step 2

Get your report

We’ll send you a copy of your Retail Activity Report (RAR) from that retailer via email. Meanwhile, please review these FAQs about data that is collected and used.

Step 3

Review your transactions

Transactions may be accepted, warned, or denied based on violations of retailer policies or potential fraud and abuse patterns in transaction behavior.

If you find anything on your Retail Activity Report that doesn’t look right, please email us directly about your concern. Any requests sent to us will be passed to the relevant retailer for review.

Frequently Asked Questions

Our Relationship with Retailers
Transaction Authorizations
Transaction Fraud and Abuse

Do I have a right to make a return?

Please see the applicable retailer’s return or other Transaction policies for information on when and how you are able to make a return, exchange, post-sale adjustment, or reshipment request.

Does the TRE share consumer data among retailers?

No. TRE’s software is designed to prevent co-mingling of consumer data across retailers. When making a recommendation to a retailer, TRE’s software only considers a consumer’s Transaction and purchase history at that retailer.

Will TRE’s return Transaction Authorization recommendations affect my credit score?

No. TRE is acting as a service provider to its retailer customers and does not share consumer data with credit reporting agencies or similar third parties like creditors, employers, insurers, landlords, or government agencies.

How can I avoid getting a warning or having my Transaction denied?

To reduce the likelihood of being warned or denied on a future Transaction request, consumers should consider the factors listed above and try to reduce their frequency of these specific Transaction types. Consumers should carefully review the retailer’s posted return, exchange, or post-sale adjustment policies and use best efforts to limit the number, dollar amount and frequency of Transaction requests.

How can I find out if TRE has information on me?

You should reach out to the relevant retailer to request what information they may hold on you. TRE provides a method for you to request a copy of your Retail Activity Report (RAR) for a retailer. A RAR shows the Linked History associated with the Transaction request that was considered by TRE in making its authorization recommendation to the retailer. You can request your RAR at www.TheRetailEquation.com.

What do I do if I believe my RAR contains incorrect information?

The information contained in your RAR is provided to TRE by the retailer. You should contact the relevant retailer if you believe your RAR contains incorrect information.

What factors does TRE’s Transaction Authorization software consider when making its authorization recommendation to the retailer?

This varies from one retailer to the next. The factors that TRE may consider for a given retailer include:
  • The frequency of the specific Transaction type at that retailer
  • Transaction value at that retailer
  • Whether the consumer has a receipt for the Transaction request
  • Purchase history at that retailer
TRE does NOT consider any of the following factors in evaluating Transactions:
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Nationality
  • Physical characteristics
  • Marital status

What information does TRE retrieve from consumers’ ID?

The information TRE receives from an ID varies by applicable regulations and retailer discretion. Typically, this information may include: Government issued identification number and expiration date
  • Name
  • Address
  • Date of birth
TRE does NOT receive or utilize gender, race, nationality, physical characteristics, marital status, or payment card information.

What is the difference between a warning and a denial?

A warning message is intended to inform you that future Transaction requests may be denied. A denial means your current Transaction is not accepted. When you are denied, future Transactions may be denied for a period of time.

What is The Retail Equation?

The Retail Equation (TRE) is a software and analytics company headquartered in Irvine, California, USA. TRE is a service provider that helps retail companies detect and prevent potentially fraudulent Transactions and reduce policy abuse.

What is TRE Transaction Authorization? How does it work?

TRE’s Transaction Authorization is software designed to help retailers detect and deter fraud and enforce return and claim policies. The software examines in-store and online transaction information (including purchases, returns, exchanges, post-sale adjustments and reshipments) and links these transactions with an ID number —such as a form of payment or government-issued ID ( “Linked History ”). When you submit a Transaction request with a retailer, the request is sent to TRE’s Transaction Authorization software and the system analyzes the Linked History associated with the Transaction request for indicators of fraud or policy violations. Based on the consumer’s Linked History and the retailer’s specified risk tolerance, the software will provide the retailer a real-time recommendation to approve, warn, or deny the Transaction request.

Why would TRE recommend that a Transaction be warned or denied?

About 1% of the time, TRE will recommend to a retailer that a consumer be given a warning or that the Transaction request be denied. Generally, this is for one of two reasons:
  • The Transaction request breaks that retailer’s policies. For example, the Transaction request may be outside of the permitted return period, the item may be categorized as a non-returnable item, the Transaction request may be non-receipted, or the consumer may have exceeded the number of Transaction requests the retail company allows within a specified time; or
  • The Linked History associated with the Transaction request indicates a high risk of fraud or abuse .
See above for instructions on contesting a denial that you believe to be in error.

How does TRE’s Transaction Authorization software help consumers?

TRE’s Transaction Authorization software benefits consumers because it enables consistent and objective enforcement of a retailer’s policies. TRE helps retailers save money and reduce waste, which savings can be passed on to consumers. If a retailer is able to detect and deter fraud on an individual Transaction request level, the retailer is able to maintain more flexible policies and procedures for the general customer base.

How is fraud and abuse hurting the economy?

Return fraud, for example, harms consumers and workers —not just retail companies. The US retail industry lost $101+ billion to return fraud and abuse in 2023. Retailers must increase their prices or reduce staff to cover those losses. More return fraud specifics are available in the “Consumer Returns in the Retail Industry ” report issued in conjunction with the National Retail Federation.

Is receipted fraud a big problem?

Yes. It is estimated that more than half of fraudulent Transactions involve some sort of counterfeit, “found,” or re-used receipts.

What is Transaction fraud? What is Transaction abuse?

Transaction fraud generally involves stealing or forgery. For example, a person might return stolen merchandise to make money, steal or falsify receipts to enable excessive returns, exchanges, post-sale adjustments, and reshipments, or use merchandise returns to convert bad checks to cash. Transaction abuse involves purchasing merchandise without intending to keep it. An example is buying clothes, wearing them for Instagram photos, and then returning them.

For these FAQs, “retailer” means the retail companies that have entered into a contract with The Retail Equation (TRE) to license its software to authorize returns, exchanges, post-sale adjustments, or re-shipment transactions (collectively, “Transactions”). In other words, a retailer is a TRE customer. A retailer may choose to use TRE’s Transaction Authorization software on behalf of itself and on behalf of the other store brands affiliated with the retailer.