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Online retailers with the fastest refunds

It's no surprise that Amazon.com was found to be the speediest at refunding money on gift returns.

By MSN Money Partner Dec 29, 2011 12:56PM

This post comes from Matt Brownell at partner site MainStreet.

 

MainStreet on MSN MoneyReturning unwanted gifts is a holiday tradition, and the National Retail Federation estimates that consumers will return more than $46 billion in merchandise this season. But not all of that money is getting back to customers at the same time.

 

When you return a gift at a bricks-and-mortar store, you typically get your money back more or less immediately, either in the form of cash, credit or a gift card. But returning merchandise online is a bit trickier. STELLAService, a firm that analyzes customer service practices for online retailers, tested how long it took to receive a refund after returning a product to each of the 25 largest online retailers by standard U.S. Postal Service ground shipping.

 

The big winner was Amazon.com, which usually ranks close to the top in any ranking that deals with customer service. (Indeed, the retailer just took the top spot in an annual customer satisfaction survey.) STELLAService researchers found that it took just 4.3 days after the product was sent back to Amazon for their refund to show up back in their account. Post continues below.

It's also worth noting that Amazon will generally give you an instant refund upon printing out a return shipping label, with the understanding that the refund will be withdrawn if the merchandise isn't received within the allotted amount of time.

 

The worst retailer in the survey was Shop.avon.com, the website for Avon beauty products. According to the researchers, they had yet to receive their refund from the retailer as of Dec. 26. While it's not clear how long it's been since the Avon package was returned -- the study was conducted in the "last few weeks" -- we know that it's been at least two weeks, since the second-worst retailer, Dell, took 14.3 days to issue the refund.

 

Also interesting, shoe retailer Zappos.com finished third-from-last in the rankings, taking 13.3 days to get the researchers their money back. The company is noted for its 365-day return window, as well as its policy of paying for return shipping, but apparently that generosity comes at a price.

 

Here are the top 10 fastest refunders, along with how many days it took to process the refund.

  1. Amazon.com: 4.3 days.
  2. BestBuy.com: 4.7 days.
  3. LLBean.com: 4.7 days.
  4. Store.Apple.com: 4.7 days.
  5. Williams-Sonoma.com: 4.7 days.
  6. HSN.com: 5.0 days.
  7. Newegg.com: 5.3 days.
  8. Walmart.com: 6.0 days.
  9. HPShopping.com: 6.7 days.
  10. SonyStyle.com: 6.7 days.

More on MainStreet and MSN Money:

2Comments
Jan 3, 2012 2:18AM
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Macy's should be put on that worst list.  I ordered an item on the 13th of december with their guaranteed christmas delivery .  I get an email stating it wont ship until the 27th when I call the next morning to cancel I'm told its too late its already been processed.  After it was cancelled it was still shipped, UPS intercept and return I'm still waiting for my refund.  And of course they wont reimburse shipping.

Dec 31, 2011 2:16PM
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My experience with Amazon was never been that great. They often bundle items together without checking to see if they are meant for each other: i.e. humidifiers with the wrong filter. 
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