When Buying Gifts, Protect Your Wallet by Taking Note of Return Policies
Businesses are Required to Post Their Refund Policies or You Will Have 30 Days to Return
As part of its seven-part consumer alert holiday series, the Division of Consumer Protection is today reminding consumers that New York State law covers refunds. NY General Business Law §218-a requires stores to clearly post their refund policies. When no refund policy is posted, consumers will have 30 days from the purchase date to receive a full refund or a credit (at the consumer’s option), with receipt or any other confirmation given to show that 30 days has not elapsed and as long as the merchandise has not been used or damaged.
“Around the holidays, gift givers and receivers often change their minds,” said New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado, who oversees the Division of Consumer Protection. “It is important New Yorkers understand businesses are required to post their policies and let their customers know their refund options. Whether shopping online or in person this holiday season, I encourage all New Yorkers to check a store’s refund policy to be sure you are comfortable with the terms.”
A store’s refund sign must include the following information (at a minimum):
- on merchandise which had been advertised as “sale” merchandise or marked “as is”;
- on merchandise without a proof of purchase;
- at any time or not beyond a point in time specified;
- in cash, or as credit or store credit only; or
- subject to any fees, including a restocking fee, and the dollar or percentage amount of each fee; and
Be an informed consumer and follow these savvy holiday shopping tips:
- Ask for a copy of the refund policy.
- Ask if the store imposes a restocking fee for returned merchandise.
- Ask if the merchandise has to be in a certain condition for the return to be accepted.
- Save all receipts for purchases to allow for ease of returns.
- Ask for details about the advertised rebate.
- Does the store offer rainchecks? If yes, find out the terms and when it expires.
- How does the store notify the customer when the product is available?
Consumers having trouble obtaining a store refund are encouraged to file a complaint with the New York State Division of Consumer Protection.
The Division of Consumer Protection provides voluntary mediation, between the consumer and business, when the consumer has been unsuccessful at reaching a resolution on their own. The Consumer Assistance Helpline 1-800-697-1220 is available Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm, excluding State Holidays, and consumer complaints can be filed at any time at www.dos.ny.gov/consumerprotection. To view consumer alerts, consumers can visit https://dos.ny.gov/pressroom. The Division can also be reached via Twitter at @NYSConsumer or Facebook at www.facebook.com/nysconsumer.