Return Policies and What You Need to Know

Shoppers today should take heed when making a decision for that final purchase(s); whether it’s a retail purchase or something from the grocery store, check out their policy in the event you need an exchange or refund. Most retailers have refund policies of their own, but there are some states which have their own laws governing the disclosure of refunds and return policies. Most retailers today prefer to use better business practices, allowing the customers to return items, but are ‘not’ a requirement legally. Then there are the returns due to defects, or items purchased at $25.00 and above, using a three day window… in which the federal law provides a “cooling-off rule” for the buyer. This particular rule gives the customer the ‘right’ to cancel for a full refund within 3 days, prior to midnight after the sale of purchase. Consumers must also keep in mind that some places charge a restocking fee, and this language should be disclosed in the retailers’ policy, so make sure you read the fine print before making a large purchase. Also, some states may or may not apply these laws to online sales; this is important and vital information. In the states of Arizona and Nevada, there’s “no right to cancel contracts or purchase agreements.” It is up to the independent retailer whether or not they will refund or cancel, according to their policy; the same goes for the state of Wisconsin, Texas and a few others.

Online retailers such as Amazon seem to be cornering the market. Shoppers can check out their policies according to their purchases, which include ‘fresh food’ orders. They’ve made it easy and simple …hence as to their large customer base. On the other hand, a big retailer like Wal-Mart doesn’t care to take back items as easily as they once did. It’s now a grueling process for those that don’t hang on to receipts or care to know the facts prior to purchasing, especially if its’ electronics. The reason being… there were too many scams pulled. Years ago, Wal-Mart wanted to satisfy their customer…making it their policy for easy returns. However, like most things today…people ruin it for others by cheating the system for personal gain. Many retailers will offer ‘in-store credit’ instead of a full refund. Policies are tightening when it comes to this for various reasons…one being that it helps protect them from fraudulent transactions. Every year it costs retailers billions of dollars due to losses, and they need to step it up by protecting themselves. It’s unfortunate that the average buyer pays for it as well.

Currently, retailers have a need to protect from abuse and fraud and so do we, as the consumer. Before making any purchase you should be aware of their policies and understand them, in the event you’re unsure you want to keep it, or if it possibly could be defective. I recommend you take the policy into serious consideration first.

One thing I recently learned about was about the ability to use a store coupon, DSW to be exact. The store employee told me I couldn’t use it because it wasn’t good until my birthday month; yet they sent it mid-July. Then she said bring the receipt back and they’d honor it. Well, needless to say it’s not store policy, but after speaking with a manager he told me they ‘would’ honor it because it was told to me at the ‘point of purchase’. This makes for good customer relations, but not every DSW store is the same. Most stores have the ability to make decisions based on how they feel about it and apparently… I was a lucky one. You can check out state laws at … http://consumer.findlaw.com/consumer-transactions/customer-returns-and-refund-laws-by-state.html .

 

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