CHICAGO, IL - December 27, 2010 – Now that Santa has come and gone and all the gifts have been exchanged, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) advises consumers to know their rights when making returns.
Whether shopping online or in stores, consumers should pay extra attention to refund and exchanges policies. Some businesses give refunds; some issue store credit only; some consider all sales to be final. A store is not legally required to accept items for refund, exchange or credit unless the merchandise is defective or was misrepresented.
“Many holiday gifts were purchased well in advance, so it may be past a store’s regular season policy when you return the item,” said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “Many stores run extended return policies during the holiday season. If the return date is not printed on your receipt, ask the sales clerk to mark and initial the return date on the store receipt.”
The BBB advises consumers to remember the following when making holiday returns:
Have your receipt. Be sure to have your receipts and know the return time frame. You likely don’t have to brave the crowds the day after Christmas, but don’t wait too long to return the item.
Ask about restocking fees. Some merchants charge a restocking or “open box” fee for returns of electronics products or large-ticket items; ask if that is their policy. Restocking fees can be as high as 25-percent of the purchase.
Know and understand the posted return policy when shopping online. If returns are permitted, find out what procedures and timeframe need to be followed. Many online retailers will post their return policy on their website. If you can’t find one, ask.
Do not assume the regular return policy applies to sales or clearance items. Some merchants consider sales items to be final, so ask to be sure. If you are the gift-recipient, do not assume you have the right to return or exchange an unwanted present. Like the shopper, you are bound by the merchant’s return policy.
Check out businesses before making a purchase to review customer experiences at www.bbb.org