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 user 2006-09-07 at 11:17:00 am Views: 149
  • #16402

    How to Avoid Nasty Restocking Fees
    T’S THE HIDDEN fee of retail returns: the evil “restocking fee.”
    are, restocking fees are the last thing on your mind when you make a
    big purchase. But you’ll feel the pain when you decide that must-have
    was just a big mistake. Depending on the retailer, restocking fees may
    reduce your refund by as much as 50%.In the past, restocking fees have
    typically been charged when returning electronic equipment. Charging
    the fee is understandable — at least from the retailer’s point of view.
    After all, once electronics have been used, they can no longer be sold
    as new, notes Tom Merritt, executive editor for CNET, an electronics
    review web site. Retailers must test electronics and remove any
    personal data (say, software from computers or call histories from
    cellphones) before the item can be returned to the shelves as

    But lately retailers have begun using restocking
    fees to fill a different role — dissuading customers from returning at
    all. “A lot of boutiques — not really the major department stores yet —
    are charging for restocking,” says Kathryn Finney, author of “How to Be
    a Budget Fashionista.”Auto makers are also getting in on the act.
    Chrysler’s well-advertised 30-Day Return Program includes a restocking
    fee of 5% of the vehicle’s sticker price. On a 2007 Chrysler Pacifica
    (MSRP $24,160), you’d lose $1,208.

    Here’s how to avoid nasty restocking fees:
    Avoid impulse buys.
    sure those heels will match your red dress? That that stereo will fit
    in your entertainment center? “All of that needs to be determined
    before you buy, not after,” says Jean Anne Fox, director of consumer
    protection for the Consumer Federation of America, a consumer advocate.

    Know the company policy.
    you slap down that plastic, ask about the store’s return policy, and
    specifically whether you’d face a restocking fee should you return your
    purchase. Policies vary. Best Buy waives the fee if you were sent the
    wrong item, while Sharper Image charges a restocking fee on all open
    items — even when the product hasn’t been used.

    Shop around.
    sure to factor in restocking fees when considering which retailer to
    buy from. DivaShop, a pet supply boutique, charges a whopping 50%
    restocking fee on all items. Also, be aware that bricks-and-mortar
    chains are less likely to charge this fee. According to a June survey
    by PC World, 10% of online electronics buyers were charged restocking
    fees, compared with only 3% of in-store customers.

    Here’s what a few big-name retailers charge:
    Amazon.com     15% on any opened laptop or desktop computer.     N/A
    Buy     15% for open-box returns of notebook computers, projectors,
    camcorders, digital cameras, radar detectors, GPS/navigation and in-car
    video systems.25% restocking fee on special order products, including
    appliances.     Same as online.

    City     15% for open-box returns of digital cameras, camcorders,
    desktop and notebook PCs, printers, scanners, projectors, PDAs, mobile
    video, GPS and radar detectors.     Same as online.

    Home Depot     No restocking fees.     No restocking fees.
    Overstock.com     Restocking fee of $4.95 per item
    15% for items from the “Bulk Buys & Business Supplies” category, as well as electronics and computers.
    25% for oversized items such as televisions and furniture.     N/A
        15% for camcorders, digital cameras, portable DVD players, portable
    electronics, framed art, gas-powered scooters and hot tubs Same as

    Wal-Mart     No restocking fees.     No restocking fees.