Your Refund Rights with Retailers


New York State law does not generally require any retail merchant to have a specific refund, credit or exchange policy. Specific refund policies can range from "100% money back guarantees" to "no refunds or exchanges whatsoever.”

However, you may be entitled to a replacement or refund, regardless of the store policy, if the goods you purchased were defective (i.e. not fit for the intended purpose).

All merchants are required to post their return policies.

If a store does not properly post its return policy, you are entitled to a refund or credit (at your option) within 30 days of purchase, as long as you have a receipt or purchase verification and the merchandise is undamaged and unused.

Their policy must be posted on a sign:

  • attached to the item itself; or
  • attached to each cash register or point of sale; or
  • displayed so it is clearly visible from each public store entrance or cash register.

The sign must tell you whether the merchant gives refunds and, if so, under what conditions such as:

  • whether "sale" or "as is" merchandise is included;
  • whether a receipt or proof of purchase is required;
  • whether there are time limits;
  • whether you are entitled to cash, creditor store credit; and
  • whether they charge any return or restocking fee, and the exact percentage dollar amount of such a fee.

The sign must also advise customers that they can receive a written copy of the return policy upon request.

Consumer Tips: 

  • Check that an item has a tag attached when you buy it. If it doesn’t, inform the salesperson and make sure that he/she makes note of it on the receipt so that you won’t have any problems if you need to return the item. 
  • Ask the salesperson whether a particular item is returnable or exchangeable, and to clarify any policies that may be unclear to you.
  • Save all receipts or other paperwork for the items that you purchase. Most retailers will not give a refund or exchange without a proof of purchase.
  • Many retailers now offer the option to receive an electronic receipt via email. If you choose that option, make sure you’ve received the receipt before you leave the store, and that all of the information is correct.  Also, find out whether the store might use your email address for purposes other than providing an e-receipt before selecting this option.
  • Before purchasing, check the seller’s Business Review with the BBB online at and consider its track record in honoring refund policies as well as other important matters affecting consumers.

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