Better Business Bureau of Central Virginia tips on holiday returns and exchanges
From The Better Business Bureau of Central Virginia:
Holiday returns aren’t ever easy!
Stores are not legally required to accept exchanges or give refunds, unless the merchandise was defective or misrepresented. While most retailers do offer refund and exchange programs, policies vary greatly from one store to store. Fortunately for shoppers, one positive outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic is that many retailers have become more lenient in their return policies. Be sure to double check policies at time of purchase, even if you are familiar with the brand.
The following tips should help to make your holiday returns run more smoothly.
Get to know store policies. Understand that many retailers have changed their policies for the holiday season and the COVID-19 pandemic. Before you make a purchase, find out if the store has a return policy and, if so, how it works. If the store does allow returns or exchanges, find out if you will need to pay a restock fee. Ask the seller if they offer cash refunds, exchanges, or only store credit. Store policies are usually posted at the check-out counter or on the back of receipts.
Understand online store return policies. If you are shopping online, search for the seller’s return policy and read it thoroughly before clicking “buy.” Find out if they accept returns or exchanges, and who pays the shipping when an item is returned. In some cases, you can save on shipping fees by returning an online purchase to the local brick-and-mortar store.
Get the details on a product’s warranty. Most electronics and home appliances come with warranties that are to be fulfilled with the manufacturer, not the retailer. Find out how returns and repairs are handled if an item stops working or needs replacement parts. Will the retailer ship the item to the manufacturer for you? Or will you need to deal with the manufacturer directly?
Keep your receipt and packaging. Most stores will only accept returns and exchanges if you present the item with its receipt and original packaging.
Bring your ID. To avoid holiday return scams, many stores ask to see your ID when you return an item. Sometimes retailers require you bring your ID and the original form of payment. If this is the policy of the store where your gift is from, you may need the assistance of the gift giver in order to be reimbursed.
Make returns in a timely fashion. Almost all return policies are valid during a specific time period. Some stores modify their return period during the holidays, so don’t risk missing your chance to make your return.
About BBB: BBB serving Central Virginia serves Richmond, the Tri-Cities, Charlottesville, and Fredericksburg, as well as 42 surrounding counties from Fauquier to Mecklenburg and Northumberland to Amherst. The nonprofit organization was established in 1954 to advance responsible, honest, and ethical business practices and to promote customer confidence through self-regulation of business. Core services of BBB include business profiles, dispute resolution, truth-in advertising, scam warnings, consumer and business education, and charity review.