|Tue Dec 7 2010 22:56:44|
How Does Your Return Policy Stack up?
By: Ina Steiner
Online sellers, get ready - nearly 20% of Americans plan to return at least one holiday gift, according to a Consumer Reports Holiday Shopping Poll conducted last year.
The January 2011 issue of Consumer Reports magazine, available on newsstands this week, includes tips to help shoppers deal with returning products to retailers.
Consumer Reports is published by Consumers Union, "an expert, independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to work for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers and to empower consumers to protect themselves."
It's interesting for online sellers to read what such an organization is advising consumers and to keep it in mind during the post-holiday shopping season. Consumer Reports senior editor and resident shopping expert Tod Marks advised consumers to be sure to read the current fine print, and said, "Start by purchasing gifts from retailers with flexible return policies, like web merchants that include free prepaid return shipping labels with purchase."
Consumer Reports has other recommendations, such as making sure consumers know the time frame in which they can return goods; getting a receipt; and "be sure before you open the box" ("Merchants can't resell an item as new after the package has been opened, so they impose a restocking fee, usually 15 percent of the product's cost."
As part of its coverage, Consumer Reports includes a chart containing the return policies of Amazon and eight retailers (below).
How does your return policy stack up against the big guys?