BBB: Consumers Should Check the Return Policy

Before you buy that perfect gift this holiday season, you'll want to take a close look at the store's return policy.

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), nearly three in ten consumers don't carefully read return and exchange policies when making a purchase.

"I don't check them because I'm sure I got the right thing the first time," said Vicki Welty, as she was shopping at WestGate Mall with her sister.

"I'm kind of a control freak so I do (check receipts)," said Jamie Collie, Vicki's sister.

The Better Business Bureau of the Texas Panhandle says most retailer's return policies are consistent with last year's.

During the holidays, stores like Best Buy and Circuit City give shoppers a little more time to return unwanted gifts.

Best Buy gives consumers until the end of January to return many items, according to Best Buy's website. Some items, however, must be returned within 14 days.

Circuit City gives consumers until January 25, 2008 on many items. Some items have to be returned by January 8, 2008, according to Circuit City's website.

The BBB says consumers should also be aware of "restocking fees" for big-ticket items, like TV's, cameras, and computers.

"Consumers call us and say what's the deal with that and what we tell them is: the store reserves the right to charge you because the item was out of their store and unable to to be sold while you had it," said Janna Kiehl, CEO of the BBB of the Texas Panhandle.

Kiehl says return and exchange policies are not governed by any law in Texas so a story can set their own policy and its up to the consumer to determine what that policy is before they make the purchase.

Here is a list of some of the return policies of other stores in Amarillo:
   Toys "R" US: 90 days of original purchase date on most items.
   JC Penney: 90 days of purchase with receipt.
   Target: 90 days of purchase with receipt. 
   Disney Store: 60 days
   Hollister: Unlimited, with tags still on clothing.
   Foot Locker: 30 days for full refund, unlimited after.