Christmas was three days ago and the big crowds are gone from Iowa’s malls. Now would be a good time to return that ugly sweater or the toaster oven you didn’t need. Kimberly Hazen, with the Better Business Bureau, says stores aren’t required to exchange an item unless it’s defective or was wrongly advertised.
“It really is up to the store’s policy to take — or not take — an item in return,” Hazen says. “They can decide if they offer a full refund, if they offer just a store credit or if they offer just an exchange.” Stores must honor their written policies, but those might not always be clear. Some Iowa stores print those policies right on the receipt, which she says is very helpful, but most don’t.
“Then you want to really hope you got a gift receipt from the person that gave you the gift,” Hazen says. “Also, making sure you don’t take the tags off and you keep the original packaging.” Consumers need to beware, Hazen says, as retailers may charge a fee to put the items back on the shelf.
“A restocking fee can be as high as 25% of what you paid for the original item which can be kinda’ hefty,” she says. If you encounter a problem at the store, consult the Better Business Bureau website and enter your town in the search window.