A spokesman for Iowa’s Attorney General says you can save yourself a lot of holiday hassles if you take a little time to keep know some shopping rules. Geoff Greenwood says the first thing to know is that stores set the conditions on things like returns.
Greenwood says a lot of people get confused because they think that state law requires stores to accept returns, but he says there isn’t such a law for a refund, exchange or credit unless a store advertises such a policy. Many stores are offering layaway plans this year in an effort to boost sales. The stores also set layaway rules.
“Make sure your eyes are wide open what the rules are, and also pay attention to how much they’re charging you, in some cases they will charge you a storage fee for the layaway,” Greenwood says. He says make sure you know what the storage cost is up front on an item. Greenwood says the return polices vary widely, so don’t think what works at one store will also work at another.
He says some stores require a receipt for a return, others don’t. Some can look up your purchase, while others can’t. There are set rules stores have to follow when it comes to gift cards. Greenwood says money on a gift card cannot expire for at least five years from the time you buy it or from the time you load it with money.
He says it is possible to charge you an inactivity fee if you don’t use the card. Greenwood says you should ask the stores about their policies if you are unsure of their rules.