The clock is ticking for holiday returns

FRED FLETCHER-FIERRO (HOST) : It’s Morning Edition on KRPS. I’m Fred Fletcher Fierro after Christmas returns are a reality for many of us, but did you know that companies aren’t legally binded to accept returns unless the item is defective or misrepresented, which can be difficult to prove. Joining me this morning is Stephanie Garland, Regional Director of the Better Business Bureau in Springfield, Missouri, to learn about some of the best practices when attempting to return a holiday purchase. Good morning, Stephanie.

STEPHANIE (GUEST) : Good morning.

Stephanie Garland, Regional Director of the Better Business Bureau in Springfield, MO

FRED : Luckily in our household we only had one thing that we needed to return and it just depended on the size and Kohls would take that back. But you know, when I was writing up notes for this, I was surprised to find out that companies, even if you order the wrong size, they’re not legally binded to accept a return.

STEPHANIE : Isn’t that interesting. A lot of people think a company automatically is.

FRED : Yeah, that is really interesting, in fact, there are some things I have ordered off a large company that is named after large river in south America and they wouldn’t accept my returns. It was something that I worked from my house.

It happened to be smoke detectors and there’s two types. This is kind of detailed, but there’s two types of sockets and smoke detectors that either have the wrong kind and they wouldn’t take the return back. So I had to sell them through another retailer. But what are some of the best practices for a holiday returns?

STEPHANIE : If there is a company that does take them back, know store policies. So if you’ve already received it and Santa didn’t get you exactly what you were asking for. And you want to go ahead and take it back, you need to know how long does the return apply. If the store does have a return policy, usually it’s only going to be 30 days.

You need to understand exactly what’s happening. So make sure that you have details if your product has a warranty. So most of the electronics home appliances, even mattresses, they come with warranties that are supposed to be fulfilled with the manufacturer, not the retailer. So when you go ahead and you contact the retailer, they may say, well, actually you need to take it up with, um, just to name a manufacturer GE for example.

So you need to find out how the returns and repairs are handled. If an item stops working or needs your placements. Well, the retailer actually shipped the item directly to the manufacturer for you. Well, you need to deal with the manufacturer directly, uh, understanding how you’re going to have to go about that is key.

Keep your receipt and package.Make sure that you’re not just giving it away and you’re not going to have that information available. Bring your ID in order to avoid holiday return scams, many stores may ask to see your ID. When you return an item, sometimes retailers require you to bring your ID and the original form of payment.

Make your returns in a timely fashion, almost all of their return policies. They are valid during a specific time period.Some stores actually modify their return period during the holidays. So again, don’t risk your chance to make your return. Also know that COVID-19 has changed a lot of the things that we do and the way that people operate and the way businesses.

So, if you’re going ahead and you’re doing something where you can do a curbside return, that might be something that’s available or perhaps even some stores will not accept your return if you’re after 30 days. So just make sure you’re reading the fine print and you’re looking for any kind of COVID-19 clauses that are in there.

I think a lot of us focus on a return policy of a retailer we made a purchase from, but it’s also helpful to remember that the manufacturer of the item also has.Return policy and some kind of warranty on it, but what can you tell me about manufacturer return policies?

STEPHANIE : So you need to read carefully when you purchase something, whether it’s a big ticket item that could be really hard to get right now, like a dishwasher, or a fridge.

Maybe even a washer or dryer, these big ticket items you need to read carefully and see is the warranty good for 90 days or is it good for a year? Usually at least it’s a year for something that’s $800 or more. So you need to make sure that your understanding of how long that’s going to last and you’re contacting them in advance if you’re having problems so that it does fall within the warranty period, time period.

FRED : Stephanie Garland, Regional Director of the Better Business Bureau in Springfield, Missouri. Thank you for speaking with me this morning.

FRED : Stephanie Garland, Regional Director of the Better Business Bureau in Springfield, Missouri. Thank you for speaking with me this morning.

STEPHANIE : Thank you


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