Can You Return It?

December 19, 2012
My mother and dad used to manage a large hardware store in a small town in Missouri. They worked long, busy days before Christmas. However, the day after Christmas was extremely busy, too. It was the day of returns.

I’m sure this scenario is true for many businesses. Returns can be difficult if the customer doesn’t have the receipt or didn’t understand the return policy. Unfortunately, many customers think there is a law that says businesses have to take returns. Not true.

Businesses risk their money to be in business. Logically, they should be able to say what the return policy is. It’s the consumer’s responsibility to know the business’ return policy. Generally, the policy is posted in more than one place and sometimes on the back of a receipt. If you are shopping online, the return policy is on the website. Print off confirmation of the purchase of the item and its value.

Some policies, such as for evening clothes, state that if the tags are cut off the item cannot be returned. This policy evolved because of consumer abuse. Too many women were wearing evening clothes once, and then bringing the clothes back.

If something has been drastically marked down, the store might not let you bring the clothes back or say returns are only good for three days. Businesses don’t want to take any further losses. Hence, the strict policy.

Once you make the purchase, save the receipt. I save receipts for at least a year. If there is a warranty, I save the receipts for the length of time of the warranty. In case of fire or theft, it’s not a bad idea to keep receipts for years, to prove the items’ value if disaster should occur. File receipts away in a safe place. Organize them by year, types of items, etc.

Be a knowledgeable, organized consumer. Know return policies and save those receipts.