Black Friday Tips
Cyber Monday Security
Restocking Fees – Are They Legal?
This holiday season be prepared as you shop for bargains. BBB offers tips on planning your Black Friday shopping trip; staying safe as you shop online and understanding re-stocking fees.
Black Friday will be a busy shopping day, as always. “Do a little checking now and go prepared in order to avoid frustration,” said Janna Kiehl, BBB CEO. “With many stores preparing for earlier hours, some starting on Thanksgiving evening, the pace and the race will be on.”
- Set a budget and create your shopping list before you go.
- Take copies of sales ads and coupons. Read the fine print for expiration dates and other limitations.
- Ask what the store’s return policy is. Ask what items are “all sales final” and what items have a re-stocking fee.
- Keep receipts and original packaging until you’re sure they won’t be returned.
- Ask for gift receipts. Without proof-of-purchase, the recipient may be turned down for returning or exchanging the item, or risk receiving an exchange at a lower price.
- Protect your packages, purses and personal information. Keep purses zipped and close to your body. Never leave a purse unattended in a shopping cart where it is more susceptible to theft.
- Avoid walking alone and leave malls and stores well before closing time to assure a more active parking lot. Do not hesitate to ask mall security to walk you to your car if you feel the need.
Cyber Monday is the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend, December 2, this year. Just like shopping offline, start with accredited businesses with a proven track record. Make sure sites are secure; review privacy policies as well as return policies. Use your credit card to make online purchases; never wire money and avoid paying with other forms of payment which may not protect you like a credit card does. Protect your personal information and confirm that your online purchases are secure. Anyone can look good with a fancy website. Don’t be fooled.
What Is A Restocking Fee? Restocking fees are assessed when specific items are returned and put back into the stores stock for resale. The business may charge a restocking fee by deducting the amount of the fee from your refund. The store’s reasoning? They were unable to sell it during a peek selling time.
Restocking fees are typically charged on specialty items, electronics and hard to find items. While restocking fees are legal there may be restrictions on how much the fee may be (it cannot be exorbitant) and should not be charged if the merchandise you are returning is defective. “Restocking fees are a common complaint after the holidays,” said Kiehl. Oftentimes the fee is deducted from your purchase price, even though your receipt says you can receive a refund; making it confusing to consumers. “We strongly suggest shoppers ask about restocking fees, understand them and get the details in writing before they finalize their purchases,” said Kiehl.
For more information and shopping tips this holiday season go to www.bbb.org.