Know the rules to ensure happy returns
Policies about the same as last year, says Consumer World.
Consumer World says that most policies are the same this year as they were last year, partially reversing a trend toward more restrictive return policies. However, many stores have different return policies for different types of items, making returns more complicated.
- Video: Countdown to Christmas
Consumer World has a useful chart detailing the policies of 15 major retailers with generous return policies, including Target, Wal-Mart, Sears and Amazon.
- Bing: Most returned gifts
The Web site lists these changes in return policies for 2009:
- Best Buy has lengthened its return period for most items until Jan. 31, but computers still have only a 14-day return period.
- Target now allows gifts to be exchanged without a receipt, as long as the total of such returns does not exceed $70 in a year. Merchandise can also be exchanged without a receipt for an item of equal or greater value in the same department.
- Wal-Mart has extended the holiday return period for items normally subject to its 15/30/45-day return policy. Now those return periods begin Dec. 26 rather than on the purchase date.
- Sears doubled its holiday return period for electronics, software and mattresses to 60 days.
- Office Depot added a formal extended holiday return period until Jan. 19.
Consumer World also rounded up some of the more unusual return policies:
- Amazon.com has 29 product-specific return policies in addition to its regular one.
- Macy's affixes a customer return label to goods so a receipt is not necessary most times.
- J.C. Penney requires special occasion dresses to be returned with the "return tag" still in place, so buyers can’t wear the dress once and then return it.
- Overstock.com has up to a 60% restocking fee for some open, used or late items.
- At Wal-Mart, if a customer returns more than three items without receipts in 45 days, the cash register system will flag the transaction, and a manager’s approval will be required.
- SmartBargains.com keeps goods buyers return late a second time, without giving any credit.
- Office Max will not accept returns of opened cameras and software, unless the items are defective.
The New York Times offers this advice on returns:
- Don’t assume you can return an item ordered online to the bricks-and-mortar store.
- Do your homework and know the return policy for the store and the type of item you purchased. Also pay attention to when you can return an item for cash and when you will receive store credit.
- Check your credit card. Some cards offer refunds on merchandise purchased with the card even when the store denies the refund.
- Keep your receipts.
- If you don’t believe the sales clerk is correctly interpreting the store’s return policy, ask to speak to a manager.
Copyright © 2013 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
ABOUT SMART SPENDING
LATEST BLOG POSTS
It's too easy to rack up the bills this time of year. Here are some ways to enjoy the holiday season without busting your budget.