Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tips in Returning Items Purchases Online

Purchasing an item online may be simple, easy and convenient, but some shoppers encounter problems when returning the items purchased on the web. The BBB Code of Online Business Practices advises merchants to clearly disclose their return or refund policies on their website including how customers can make returns or exchanges; obtain refunds/credits; or cancel a transaction; and any associated time limitations or fees. If such information is not posted, here are the tips:

  • Find out which location to return the items. Does it go back to a mailing address or can you return it to a retail store? If the company's return policy is not listed on the site, call or send an email to request specifics.
  • Don't delay. Many sites have time limits for returns. Notify the company by email to let them know that a return is on the way. Put the time and date in the body of your email message and type "return" or "exchange" in the subject line of your email. Print or save the email message and any response you may receive.
  • Expect to pay some fees. Companies that have web-only businesses typically charge customers a restocking fee or shipping and handling fee on returned merchandise. If you're a long time customer or purchased the item using the merchant's credit card, mention that fact and ask for a waiver of the fees.
  • Keep the original packaging. If you know you don't want the gift, don't open the box or break the manufacturer's seal. If you have already opened the box, make sure you return all parts and packaging materials in the original box.
  • Be patient, but persistent. If the merchant ignores your requests or communications, file a complaint online with the BBB.