Return policies in some cases are more lenient this year, but in others, they are more strict than ever. An example of the latter is the Buy.com policy, that used to be called “easy returns”. This year they could just have well have renamed it “hard as nails” returns. Note the almost nastiness of the wording at the beginning:
Returns Must Meet ALL Applicable Criteria
If your returned product does not match all applicable criteria listed below, it will be rejected by our Returns Warehouse and returned back to you at your cost. Consequently, your RMA will be nullified, any credit request will be denied, replacement orders will not be made, and you will be charged for all shipping to and from our Returns Warehouse that may be incurred by Buy.com. By requesting an RMA and/or shipping a return in violation of this policy you hereby agree to accept our shipment of the return back to you and to the payment of all shipping costs to and from our Returns Warehouse. Our arrangements with our suppliers and manufacturers allow us no room to make exceptions.
Before you make a return, therefore, you better understand the particular store’s rules (including restocking fees), so you will know what you are or are not entitled to.
Here is a list of leading retailers with generous regular return policies and those with extended holiday return periods (so you may be able to grab the after Christmas bargains rather than wait in long return lines just after the holiday).
Holiday Return Deadlines and Restocking Fees
|Amazon.com||Jan. 31 (most items shipped 11/01 through 12/31). 15% restocking fee on open computers. Additional rules may apply.|
|Best Buy||January 24 for most purchases Nov. 1 or later; Jan. 8 for cameras, gps, monitors, etc.; Only 14 days from purchase for computers. 15% restocking fees on certain opened items.|
|Circuit City||Jan. 31 all items bought since Nov. 2; 15% restocking fee on open computers, cameras, etc.|
|Costco||No deadline (but 90 days for TVs, computers, cameras, port. music players, cell, projectors)|
|Kohl’s||No deadline (with receipt)|
|Macy’s||180 days from purchase; 10% restocking fee on furniture.|
|Marshalls||January 5 (for purchases Oct. 26 – Dec. 5).|
|Overstock.com||January 31 for most items purchased Nov. 1 or later. Fees apply if opened, used, or late.|
|Sears||120 days if purchased 11/16-12/23; 30 days for electronics, software, beds; 15% restocking fee on electronics if missing items, built-in appliances, and certain special order goods.|
|Staples||No deadline for office supplies. (January 10 for electronics & furniture bought since Nov. 28)|
|TJ Maxx||January 5 (for purchases Oct. 26 – Dec. 5).|
|Target||90 days from purchase (15% restocking fee on portable electronics, digital cameras, camcorders; specially marked clearance items only qualify for current sale price).|
|Toys R Us||90 days most items (45 days for unopened electronics, video products, collectibles, more; if opened, identical exchange only).|
|Wal-Mart||90 days (15 days [PCs, portable players, gps], 30 days [cameras], or 45 days [PC accessories.])|
Many happy returns.