Ask Andy: Store Returns - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Ask Andy: Store Returns

By Andy Wise - bio | email | Facebook

MEMPHIS (WMC-TV) - Store return policies are just that -- the stores' POLICIES.

There aren't any laws or regulations governing retailers' return policies. A store can have whatever return policy it wants, including no return policy at all.

You may even find your favorite store asking to see your driver's license when you return something.

Wal-Mart now asks to see driver's licenses when folks return items without a receipt. The chain has also embedded "transaction codes" in each receipt so they cannot be faked or "re-shopped."

A Target insider says its stores allow two "no receipt returns" per customer with a driver's license check. 

Don't blame the retailers for demanding your ID. Blame the thieves who cost American retailers $15.5 BILLION a year in return fraud, according to the National Retail Federation.

Thieves either manufacture fake receipts -- or return stolen merchandise without receipts. 

One Wal-Mart store manager told the Action News 5 Investigators he saw the same $27 TV cable cross his customer service desk ten times. In ONE month.

You can understand why retailers are cracking down on returns.


Again, there is no law - federal, state or local - that requires retailers to have refund/return policies. Here's what you should know:

* The only thing stores are required to do with return policies is POST THEM where every customer can see 'em. They're typically posted on price tags, the walls at the exits or check-out or the back of their sales receipts. That's it. That's all the disclosure that's required.

* Be aware of TIME LIMITS. Stores may only allow a return up to 30 days after the purchase. Some may go as long as 90 days.

* Be prepared for NO CASH RETURNS. Because of retail theft, more and more stores are allowing only store credit on returns...

* ... which means when you buy a gift, always request a GIFT RECEIPT. That will guarantee a return for the recipient, and maybe even cash back.

* If it's an electronic item, the store may charge up to a 15 percent "RESTOCKING FEE" if it has been removed from its original box. If you got an electronic item you didn't want, leave it in the box and the original packaging.

* Depending on where you live, your county or city's health regulations may prohibit the return of certain types of clothes, like intimate apparel, underwear, etc.

* You may find longer time periods for returns (90 days extended to 120, 30 days for electronics extended to 90 days, for example) and lower 'restocking' fees on furniture and other big-ticket items.

* Retailers have the right to request to see your driver's license in order to track your return history in case there's any return fraud in your past.

* Get to know your favorite stores' managers and employees. The more they know you are a loyal customer, the more likely they will be flexible with returns. 

State laws do allow for "buyer's remorse" - or what's legally referred to as a "right of rescission" - in specific types of purchases. For guidance on that, click on this Ask Andy story:

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