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How To Get A Refund: Don't Throw Out That Box
Don't throw out that box! Five words my husband hates to hear. Whenever we purchase anything that can break, especially electronic, I tell him we have to keep the box in case we have to return the item. How long do we have to keep the box? CAN we return the item? It is scary territory.
Every store, every manufacturer and every Internet seller has different rules about how and when you can return items. Do they do this to confuse you? It seems to me if something is broken when you get it or doesn't work properly you should have the right to return it, but then, that's just my opinion.
If you start to look around at return policies it can be really scary. Some say the item must be returned in its original packaging - unopened. Can you explain to me how you know if something works or not if you don't open it? How do you even know what's in the box?
You really need to do some research to find out who has the best return policy. Imagine a new car return policy? Funny, you can't return your laptop but you can return your car???
Others, like Amazon, have different policies for different items which makes returning things as easy as climbing Mt. Everest. Amazon tells you, "Our return policies vary depending on the type of item you'd like to return. See our Product Return Policies Help pages for details." Is it comforting to know they have eighteen different categories....
At About.com I found advice to retailers about writing a return policy;
Retailers should keep customer service in mind while writing a return policy. It's a delicate balance to strike, but an obtainable one. First, understand what customers want.
Shoppers want their returns to be effortless. They want the returns to have a reasonable time frame, include the ability to receive credit for the merchandise and not be penalized for making a return.
Isn't that a novel idea? It is not unreasonable for the merchant to want the item returned in good condition with the original box (don't throw out the box.) There's a lot of fraud out there. There are people who buy, say a dress, wear it for awhile then return it. There are also those who steal things then return them to get the money.
While researching this hub I found an article about people who are addicted to returning things. I've heard of a lot of addictions and can understand most but this one takes the cake. It's hard enough shopping and finding the right item but then to keep returning it? Or those that buy say four items as a gift because they're not sure which one they really want to give. They later return the other three. Somehow that doesn't sound like fun to me but I'm not addicted to returning things. Really? Yes. "Timothy Fong: This is a brand new area of compulsive shopping that we're starting to see, and these are folks who are consumed with the process of returning items, whereas for a long time we saw a lot of compulsive shoppers consumed by the process of getting the item. We're starting to see more folks just really consumed by just returning the item."
I also found another interesting tidbit, "Liquidation.com, a company that buys returned merchandise from large retailers then auctions it off to other stores, told the Associated Press that return rates have more than doubled since the recession hit."
Authorities advise us that returning items is a privilege, I don't want to go down that road right now as I do not see it as a privilege. There are times when an item is missing parts or broken in shipping. Returning it is not a privilege to me but a right. However, let's look at what you need to do to return items. First of all, check the store or Internet sellers return policy before you buy - make sure they have a return policy. Second, don't throw out the box. Whenever you return any item it should always be in the original box. Next, keep all your receipts. I always tape my receipt to the box so I have both in the same place. Whenever I give a gift I keep the receipt and write who I gave it to on the back of the receipt so I know what goes with whom.
Some stores do not accept sale items for returns - All Sales Final. Another caveat and something new to me is "restocking fees." Some sellers are charging up to 25% of an item's cost as a restocking fee. However, Overstock. com has a 60 percent restocking fee for some items that have been opened; bigger televisions are not returnable! These are all things you should check out before you even buy the item.
Along with the stricter return policies it seems Toys R Us may not accept certain 'opened' electronics and similar items. So you can see things vary from store to store and from item to item. It is definitely not a fun thing but there are times when you really need to return an item.
I hope I have provided you with some useful information and remember, "Don't throw out the box!"