Attorney General Alerts

    Research Return Policies


    December 21, 2016

    LITTLE ROCK – We all know that our friends and family put a lot of thought into gifts this holiday season, but not every gift is a homerun. Sometimes clothes may be the wrong size, or we may already have that game, which leads us to exchanging or returning that new gift. But Arkansans need to research company return policies.

    Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued today’s consumer alert to help gift recipients, should gift returns or exchanges be necessary this holiday season.

    “Some return and exchange policies are simple and can be taken care of quickly,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “But consumers should check with the company to find out the specifics of their policies beforehand. Some retailers allow shoppers to make returns regardless of the reason, which leads consumers to wrongly believe they are entitled by law to a full refund or credit at all retail outlets.”

    Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips gift recipients need to make a return or exchange:

    • Ask the gift giver about the store’s return or exchange policy.
    • Keep all gift receipts.
    • Do not open the box or remove the tags if you may return it.
    • Some online retailers allow purchases to be returned in store, while others require the item be shipped back. Check with the company ahead of time.

    Most companies offer in-store exchanges if the customer has the receipt and the item is promptly returned. However, others have an “all sales are final” policy for deeply discounted or clearance items and do not allow returns or exchanges. Return policies not only differ from store to store but can also differ for items purchased in-store and items bought online or by mail-order.

    Some retailers that allow returns may charge restocking fees for certain products. Consumers can sometimes pay a fee of 10 to 25 percent of the price of the item if the package is not in the condition in which it was purchased. Meanwhile, items like computer software, CDs, DVDs and Blue-Ray discs are not generally returnable after the seal has been broken.

    Retailers are not required to accept at-will returns, and even in the case of a defective product, consumers may be required to contact the manufacturer. Sometimes retailers will require consumers to deal with the product manufacturer directly, rather than simply returning the item to the place of purchase.

    For more information and tips to avoid scams and other consumer related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or consumer@arkansasag.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.

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