BBB urges shoppers to understand policies before braving long lines
Tucson, AZ – Dec. 24, 2008 - The day after Christmas is typically one of the busiest of the year for retailers.
Before braving heavy traffic and long lines, Better Business Bureau is urging consumers to keep these tips in mind when returning holiday gifts:
• Arizona law does not regulate return policies, which means it's up to individual stores to set their own policy. In many cases, a store is not obligated to accept items for return, exchange or credit. Exceptions may apply if the product is defective or was misrepresented.
• Keep your receipts. Hopefully, that unwanted gift came with a gift receipt. If not, you might be out of luck. If you don't have a receipt, ask for an in-store credit. If you do have a receipt, check to see how long you have to return the item. You may only have 30 days or less to make a return.
• Keep the item's original packaging and tags, which are usually required when returning an item.
• If your gift came with a warranty, read it before attempting a return. If the product is defective, the store may want you to send it directly to the manufacturer.
• Beware of the dreaded "restocking" fee. Some stores may charge you as much as 15 percent of the cost of the item as a restocking fee. In Arizona, businesses must disclose in advertisements, at the point of purchase and on the sales receipt that a re-stocking fee may apply to the purchase of goods. They must also tell you how to obtain a copy of the policy.
• To avoid a long wait and unnecessary frustration visit the store's Website to see if the return policy is posted there. Many stores will not allow you to return certain items, such as gift cards, gourmet gift baskets or opened software. Knowing what can or can’t be returned in advance could save you a trip.
• Be nice, but firm. If a store clerk will not (or cannot) accept a return, ask to speak to a manager, who may have the authority to make exceptions to the store's return policy. Remember that good manners are always appreciated by harried customer service employees this time of year.
“Respect and understanding will get you further than being rude or uncompromising,” says Kim States, spokesperson for BBB. “And the same applies if you file a complaint; you have to be willing to reach a fair resolution for the process to work.”
If you have trouble returning an item and you’re not sure what recourse you may have, call your BBB at 520-888-6161 in Tucson or email email@example.com.