Avoiding Return Rage

Just about everyone has experienced frustration with making returns and exchanges at different retail stores. This phenomenon, commonly known as return rage, is a mixture of anger and perplexity that normally begins when the store clerk utters those words “sorry, you can’t return this” or “sorry, no exchanges. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to minimize the chances of experiencing return rage, if you will simply take the time.

Step 1

Hang on to the original packaging, and don’t remove any tags. If you didn’t have to open the package to know that the item was not to your taste, that’s all the better. Many merchants are more open to accepting returns and exchanges when the item is still is sellable condition.

Step 2

Have the receipt handy. Many stores today provide the buyer with a gift receipt, which is ideal if the item was given to you as a gift. The chances of getting a refund or at least a store credit are much better if you can present documentation that the item was in fact purchased at that store.

Step 3

Make a phone call. Before taking time to trudge down to the store, call and ask about their return and exchange policy. They can tell you in advance if you must have the receipt, and what can be done if you do not have the receipt. This one trick will save you a lot of time waiting in lines as well as driving to and from the store.

Step 4

Read the warranty. If the reason for the return is that the product is faulty, you may be better off contacting the manufacturer and returning it directly to them.

Step 5

Handle the return or exchange quickly. Most retailers will only accept exchanges and returns on items purchased in the last sixty days. Some will not accept anything purchased over thirty days ago. Handling the return now instead of later can save you a lot of frustration and time.

Tips & Warnings

Keep in mind that there may be a restocking fee assessed when you return the item, especially if you are seeking a refund. To prevent from being surprised, call the store in advance and specifically ask about restocking fees.

If the item was purchased online, you may be responsible for paying the costs to ship the item back to the seller. Some retailers will send you a return authorization as well as a return address label that is postage-paid, which prevents you from paying anything out of pocket. Just be sure to ask before you commit to sending the item back. It may be easier to donate the item to a local charity, and avoid the hassle of returning the item altogether.