The BBB Serving Western Virginia reminds shoppers to know their return rights before making a purchase. As we scour the shelves or web sites for that perfect gift, we all hope our efforts will be appreciated. If not, many of us assume that our present can always be returned to the store for a quick refund or easy exchange. Assume otherwise! A store is not legally required to accept items for refund, exchange or credit unless the merchandise is defective or was misrepresented. Keep in mind some stores give refunds; some issue store credits only; some consider all sales final.
“It’s always better to ask than to assume,” said Julie Wheeler, President & CEO of the BBB Serving Western Virginia. “Ask the store about its return policy; can a customer obtain a refund, a store credit, or exchange unwanted merchandise?”
The BBB urges consumers to follow this simple checklist when purchasing gifts.
If you need more information, contact the BBB at 540-342-3455 or 800-533-5501. You can also visit www.bbb.org. Follow us on Twitter.
Submitted by Faye Sensabaugh.
Following these tips will help you keep your holiday spirit just a little bit longer! Read more after the jump.
- Ask for a gift receipt and enclose it with the present. Also, don’t remove electronics or similar products from their boxes before wrapping as the original packaging may be required for a return.
- Do not assume the regular return policy applies to sales or clearance items. Some merchants consider sales items to be final, so ask.
- Some merchants charge a restocking or “open box” fee for returns of electronic products or large-ticket items. Ask if that is their policy.
- Look for a posted return policy when shopping online. If returns are permitted, ask what procedures and timeframe need to be followed.
- 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. Health regulations, which can prohibit the return of hats and intimate apparel, also apply.
- To help ensure a positive outcome, save your gift receipt. Keep the item in its original packaging and remember those restocking and “open box” charges.
- Don’t wait too long to return the item. You don’t have to brave the crowds the day after Christmas; pick a time when the store is not likely to be crowded and be polite when talking to customer service. If you are a regular customer, or have a store credit account, mention that fact as you discuss your return options. Merchants are usually willing to accommodate loyal customers.