The day after Christmas is the busiest return day of the year. If you are among those taking back some holiday gifts, officials from the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection remind you to check the fine print on those receipts.
DATCP superintendent Sandy Chalmers says for the most part it’s buyer beware on returns. “There is no state law that covers return policies. It’s up to each store to decide what its own policies are. What we look at is whether the stores are honoring their own policies.”
Stores are required to disclose their return policies before you purchase anything.
Chalmers says fine print is important. If you’re taking back a Christmas gift, some places may already say it’s too late to return. “Some stores have different policies in effect for the holiday season. For instance, if the store says return within 60 days, does that mean 60 days from the date of purchase or 60 day from Christmas?” Chalmers says you should be leaving electronics in their original packages until you’re sure you’re keeping them so you don’t get hit with restocking fees. “Sometimes those restocking fees can be fairly substantial. 15% of a $1,000 purchase is substantial, so pay attention to that.”
If you feel that the store you’re in isn’t honoring their posted return policies, you can make a complaint to DATCP online or by calling the Consumer Protection Hotline toll-free at 1-800-422-7128.