Refunds, Returns & Exchanges - A Matter of Policy

December 14, 2010

With the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season upon us, the Better Business Bureau of the Maritime Provinces reminds consumers to take the extra few minutes necessary to inquire about a store’s refund, return or exchange policy before purchasing any good or service.

Consumers should be aware that not all stores offer a cash refund nor are they obliged to do so. Any store can offer to exchange the item, provide a cash refund minus a restocking charge, offer a credit note or simply maintain a policy of “all Sales Final”.

Shoppers should 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.

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.

Look for a posted return policy when shopping online. If returns are permitted, ask what procedures and timeframe needs to be followed.

The Better Business Bureau also reminds consumers to inquire as to whether special conditions apply to the Christmas season, such as no returns on Boxing Day as it often can be the busiest day of the year for merchants. As well, if you place an item on layaway, always ask if your deposit is refundable.
The Better Business Bureau encourages stores to post signs outlining their policies, in a prominent place in order to eliminate future problems.