Monday, September 26, 2005

Returning a prom dress

Refunds and Exchanges
Think a store is required to give a refund if you want to return an item and have a sales receipt? Wrong!

A store can set its own rules about refunds and exchanges, as long as it lets customers know what the rules are. For example, any of these rules are legal:

“ All Sales Final. NO Refunds or Exchanges”

“ Returns for Store Credit Only”

“ Refunds Given Within 7 Days of Purchase”

So, if there’s a chance you might need to return an item, be sure to check the store’s return policy before you buy it. If you don't see a sign telling what the return policy is, ask a sales clerk.

EXCEPTION: If an item is defective or doesn’t work, the business has to give you a refund or replacement, no matter what its return policy is. That’s a Maryland law.

When buying online, always look for the Web site's return policy and read it before buying.

Always keep sales receipts. They can come in handy even when you might not think so. For example, a teen bought a prom dress for $50 from an outlet store. The receipt said “All Sales Final on Prom Dresses,” so she threw the receipt away. A few days later a friend saw the same dress in the dress store’s main store (not the outlet). It was marked down to $28. She asked if she could exchange her dress for the lower priced one, and they said she could if she had the receipt. She didn’t, and they said, “Sorry!”