The scenario: A woman was shopping for a specialty mattress. She had a bad back, and her doctor suggested that she buy a posturepedic mattress. She went to several mattress stores in town and selected the store that offered the best discount and decided on a Sealy©. Unfortunately, the one that she had in mind was not in stock so the salesman told her that for some money down that she could put a hold on the one that she wanted. He told her that it should be in the store by Thursday of the following week.
Three weeks later the mattress is still not in the store, and she finds the same mattress at another store at an even lower price. She tells the salesman that she has changed her mind and that she no longer wants the mattress. He informs her that is fine but that a restocking fee will be kept from her down payment. She is alarmed but seems to be at the store’s mercy, even though they never provided the product. At her wit’s end, she accepts the terms of the store’s management. They keep her money, and she buys the product at another store.
Is this right? It all depends. Laws in some states protect consumers that prohibit charging restocking fees for defective merchandise, the wrong merchandise, and products that are not delivered as promised. Also charging exorbitant (over half the purchase price) amounts is frowned upon. Check with your Attorney General to be sure of the local laws.
When purchasing furniture, computers, mattresses, items purchased through layaway, etc., find out about restocking fees. If you know about policies upfront, there will be no surprises. Also, if someone tells you that there won’t be any fees for returns, it is recommended that you request that statement in writing. Any merchandise that you plan to return, make sure and save all of the receipts, packaging, tags, manuals, etc. That way, there is little reason to charge you any restocking fees. Whether the fee is waived is entirely up to the store manager and their policy though.
Consumer complaints are received by the Better Business Bureau and Attorney General’s office, alike, where a business representative will say that refunds are guaranteed but when the product is actually returned for a refund, they are told otherwise. Should you feel that you are being taken advantage of, register a complaint at www.bbb.org or call your local BBB.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/55989263@N04/5250011825/”>p-nw</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses