Holiday returns can carry hefty price

by SteveBayle on December 15, 2009

According to an article in today’s Boston Globe.

A state survey set to be released today shows that a growing number of retailers are imposing fees on returned goods, especially electronics, even if the product is not damaged. The charges, known as restocking fees, range from 10 to 60 percent, depending on the merchant. The hefty return penalties are a surprise to many consumers, like Barbara Wallace of Boston, who bought a $549 laptop computer for her granddaughter at Best Buy in Dorchester yesterday.

“Consumers have to be trained, and they have to ask, ‘Do you have a restocking fee?’ ’’ Anthony said.  Anthony is undersecretary of consumer affairs for Massachusetts.

No! That’s not the way it should work at all! Stores should alert consumers to their restocking policies. Signs, often obscured by POP displays. aren’t the only way to do it. Wouldn’t you prefer to get a notification on your iPhone when you scan a product of what the restocking fee policy is? Store policies are information, not advertising, and it’s the store’s responsibility to inform consumers, not the consumer’s responsibility to dig out the information amongst the blizzard of in-store promotional signs, posters, displays, etc.

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