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Most retailers change return polices, some charging fees

Katie Galan, with the Better Business Bureau ,said they’ve seen more and more retailers charging for returns.
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Posted at 6:36 AM, Dec 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-01 07:36:43-05

CORPUS CHRISTI — “We’re just browsing, checking things out, seeing what we can get for Christmas,”La Palmera shopper, Evan Oviedo said.

Oviedo was visiting Corpus Christi from McAllen.

“I play guitar.”

He had bought a pedal for his guitar.

“And I wanted to return it because it didn’t sound well,” Oviedo said. “They were trying to charge me a stocking fee for 20 percent of what the pedal was so I realized I just have to sell it on my own.”

Katie Galan, with the Better Business Bureau said they’ve seen more and more retailers charging for returns.

According to e-commerce website goTRG, 65 percent of retailers anticipate the same or higher return rates in 2022.

And to help absorb some of the rising costs and volume, 60 percent of them changed their return policies.

“They may label it as a restocking fee,” Galan said. “It’s not necessarily like a man power. It’s more to help discourage consumers from making those returns.”

On Best Buy’s website, returning an activatable item has a $45 restocking fee.

Meanwhile, things like drones, DSLR cameras and camcorders have a return fee of 15 percent of the product price.

Retailers like abercrombie go through a return service for online shoppers and charge $7.

“If a customer would want to return an item, the last thing I would want to do is charge them more,” LA Gonzalez, a CUTCO representative, said. “I feel like if you do that, why would they come back?”

Galan said during the pandemic companies tightened their return policies for safety and sanitary reasons.

“As we are a few years kind of at least past the height of the pandemic, we do see that return policies are kind of getting a little bit back to normal,” Galan said.

She said a standard return period is about 90 days.

“Some retailers are shortening that to 30 days,” Galan said. “Some are going shorter about 15 days, 14 days.”

Galan recommends looking at the fine print.

Some stores will have their policies at a sign by the register, if not, consumers can always check online or ask an associate in store.

“Be really careful and make sure you are checking out that return policy,” Galan said. “If you’re gifting something to somebody, make sure and get that gift receipt.”

When it comes to certain online returns, Amazon has drop off locations at UPS stores and a return center at Kohls where returners don’t have to worry about fees or re-boxing the items.