BBB Tip: Vacation Returns and Exchanges | Way of life

RED STICK – Stores are not legally bound to accept exchanges or refunds, unless the merchandise is defective or warped. Although most retailers offer refund and exchange programs, policies vary widely from store to store. But be sure to check the policies this holiday season, even if you know the brand, as stores can change their policies at any time.

The Better Business Bureau of South Central Louisiana has these tips to make your vacation returns smoother.

Know the store policies. Before making a purchase, check to see if the store has a return policy, and if so, how it works. Realize that many retailers are changing their policies for the holiday season. If the store allows returns or exchanges, find out if you will need to pay a restocking fee. Ask the seller if they offer cash refunds, exchanges, or just store credits. Store policies are usually displayed at checkout or printed on the back of receipts.

Understand the online store’s return policies. If you shop online, look for the seller’s return policy and read it before clicking “buy”. Find out if they accept returns or exchanges, and who pays the shipping costs when an item is returned. In some cases, you can save on shipping costs by returning an online purchase to the local physical store.

Get the details about a product’s warranty. Most electronics and appliances come with warranties that must be met 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 have to deal directly with the manufacturer? Knowing the answers will leave you well prepared for any future problems.

Keep your sales receipt and packaging. Most stores will only accept returns and exchanges if you can present the item with the original receipt and packaging. Always include a gift receipt with the items you give and keep any gift receipts you receive.

Bring your ID. To avoid vacation return scams, many stores ask to see your ID when you return an item. Sometimes retailers will require you to bring your original ID and payment method. If this is the policy of the store where your gift is from, you may need the donor’s assistance to get your refund.

Provide timely returns. Almost all return policies are valid for a specific period of time. Some stores change their return period during the holidays, so don’t risk missing your chance to make your return. Return the item to the store without delay.

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