returns and exchanges

Geoff Fox

Returning Online Purchases Gives Shoppers Reason To Actually Visit The Mall

Will bringing their online purchases back to a physical returns counter make shoppers happier about the shopping process, and maybe cause them to buy things at an actual mall? A startup called HappyReturns hopes so, hoping to work with a variety of online retailers to collect their stuff at malls without having to pay for return shipping. Will it save shoppers work? Not necessarily, and they might actually shop at the mall. [More]

Geoff Fox

How Relaxed Return Policies Can Hurt Retail Workers

Generous return policies are great for consumers, since they give us a long time to bring back items that might be defective or that don’t fit. They also give great opportunities to fraudsters, though, and can hurt employees who get some or all of their pay through commissions, since they lose the commission when their employer loses the sale. [More]

some lady at Kmart

Store Fitting Rooms Are Terrible And Make Everyone Feel Terrible

Do you like to take an armful of clothing items, bring them three at a time into the fitting room, put them on, look at yourself in the mirror under harsh fluorescent lights, and make a quick judgement in the store? Most people don’t appreciate this experience, which is one of the reasons why people are shopping online as much as they can. However, the return rate for clothes purchases is the same in stores and online. Why is that? [More]

Sears And Kmart Will Sell Returned Merchandise By The Pallet To Other Businesses

Sears And Kmart Will Sell Returned Merchandise By The Pallet To Other Businesses

When you return stuff to a store or in particular to an online store, generally it doesn’t end up back on the shelf. It ends up part of a collection of other returned items, which are sold at a discount to retailers specializing in closeouts. If you’re a businessperson who needs a truckload of baby stuff or watches, this may be your chance. [More]

Here’s Where The Gifts You Return To The Store Will End Up

Here’s Where The Gifts You Return To The Store Will End Up

Are you planning to return a gift this holiday season? The odds are good that you’re returning something: as many as 15% of all items bought online are returned to the retailer, and the number is even higher for items where fit and color can vary, like clothing. When an item has been opened or is otherwise unfit to go back on the store shelf, where does it end up? It goes to a growing industry of specialized liquidators. [More]

9-Year-Old Opens PS4 Box On Christmas Morning, Finds Block Of Wood

9-Year-Old Opens PS4 Box On Christmas Morning, Finds Block Of Wood

Christmas morning is a time for family togetherness, enjoying the delighted faces of children, and surprising loved ones with thoughtful gifts. Unfortunately, wrapping gifts and putting them under the tree until the recipient opens the box means risking a retail hazard: boxes of expensive electronics that contain notepads, bricks, picture frames, or mirrors. This is disturbingly common, and happened to a family in Massachusetts this Christmas. [More]

Which Retailers Have Changed Their Return Policies This Holiday Season?

Which Retailers Have Changed Their Return Policies This Holiday Season?

While it’s always important to keep a store’s return policy in mind when you shop, during the holiday season, return policies are extra important. That’s what happens when we give gifts that other people may not want. Every year, ConsumerWorld’s Edwin Dworsky compiles a list of major retailers’ return policies, comparing them to each other and to previous years’ policies. What do stores have planned for remorseful buyers and giftees in 2015 and early 2016? [More]

Mike Mozart

Ulta Has A Great Return Policy, Except For Keeping My Sales Tax

Vee made a small purchase from the cosmetics store Ulta, and needed to return it. That happens. Where things got confusing, though, is that she didn’t receive a refund of the sales tax she had paid. When she questioned this, a store representative’s response was that “the website does not state that we do not give the taxes back when making a return.” What? [More]


Home Depot Declined My Return, But I’ve Only Returned One Thing There

Having returned stuff to Home Depot before, Stephen knew that he could expect to have his driver’s license scanned and the transaction logged by The Retail Equation, a company that logs information about people who return merchandise at a variety of retailers. What he didn’t expect was to be told that his return of some cabinet parts would be denied after he had only ever returned one $10 item to Home Depot before. [More]

Zulily Will Test Accepting Merchandise Returns

Zulily Will Test Accepting Merchandise Returns

The great flash-site boom of the past decade has one great success story that has survived the recession: Zulily, which started out selling children’s clothing and toys and has slowly expanded into clothes and accessories for women. That expansion means that the company is trying something that it previously found unthinkable: they’re testing merchandise returns. [More]

Which Items Get Returned To Sephora Most Often?

Which Items Get Returned To Sephora Most Often?

Sephora is a magical playground filled with very expensive substances that grown-ups can slather on themselves. Yet what if that $29 mascara or $45 foundation just doesn’t look right on you? The cosmetics retailer has a famously generous return policy, even for items that have been opened and used, and there are certain items that end up returned more often than others. Which are they? [More]

(Mike Mozart)

Bed Bath & Beyond Will Change Return Policy For Items Without Receipt

If you’ve been bringing used items back to Bed Bath & Beyond long after purchase and without a receipt, the home goods superstore is on to you. The news slipped out a little early that the chain plans to tighten up its relatively lax return policy on April 20th of this year, ending a long run with a policy that most customers enjoyed and a few abused. [More]

Forgot To Return A Purchase? Maybe Your Credit Card Issuer Can Help

Forgot To Return A Purchase? Maybe Your Credit Card Issuer Can Help

While racking up unsecured debt is generally a bad thing, there can be hidden advantages to using your credit card for everyday purchases. Two benefits that we often recommend as weapons for consumer justice are chargebacks and warranty extensions, but here’s another one that you may not be aware of: return period extensions. Yes, buying with some credit cards can give you longer to return an unwanted item to the retailer. [More]

After You Return Something To A Store, Where Does It Go?

After You Return Something To A Store, Where Does It Go?

When you bring a piece of clothing back to the store because it’s defefctive or used or you just didn’t like it, where does it go? “Away” isn’t the answer: billions of dollars’ worth of items get returned to stores every year, and not all of them are fit to go back on the shelf. At retailers like Nordstrom, Costco, or L.L. Bean that have famously generous return policies, where does all of that returned stuff end up? [More]

Geoff Fox

Can Retailers Make Us Stop Returning So Much Stuff?

After the holiday shopping frenzy is over, frenzy season isn’t yet complete: in malls and in post offices alike, shoppers then go into an item-returning and gift-card-spending frenzy. Unfortunately, this costs retailers a lot of money. Instead of accepting the cost of returns as a recurring annual thing, can they find a way to reduce them? [More]

Best Buy Doesn’t Want You To Know They Take Returns Without A Receipt

Best Buy Doesn’t Want You To Know They Take Returns Without A Receipt

Every store has two sets of policies: the official ones distributed to customers, and the policies from the other end that employees learn in training. A source inside Best Buy contacted us recently to explain how it’s possible to return items to Best Buy without a receipt. Yes, it is possible. No, customers aren’t supposed to know that. [More]

Google’s Defective Phone Policy Is Tough If You’re On A Fixed Income

Google’s Defective Phone Policy Is Tough If You’re On A Fixed Income

We hear that the newest version of Google’s Nexus smartphone, the Nexus 5, is a fine device. Reader Michael has heard that, too. He wouldn’t know: The phone that he ordered a few weeks ago didn’t work right out of the box. He was stuck. He had ordered the $350 Nexus because his previous phone broke, but couldn’t afford put the total on hold on a credit or debit card so Google could ship him a new phone right away. [More]


Amazon Now Using Lockers For Return Shipping

Do you know what’s an even worse problem for online retailers than customers who never get their packages? Shipping back the items that customers did receive, but don’t want. Fortunately, Amazon has found a way around this problem: since late last year, they’ve using their lockers designed for deliveries to send products in the other direction. [More]