BBB column: Tips for many happy returns | Business

Thousands upon thousands of packages will be appearing on doorsteps in the next couple of days as part of the surge of shopping that comes with Amazon Prime Day. Shoppers flocked to Amazon’s virtual storefront and the storefronts of other retailers this week in the hopes of securing discounted household items, clothing, electronics, and other popular items. But not every customer will be entirely happy with the products which eventually arrive at their door, and many items will likely be returned.

Amazon’s return policy on Prime Day is the same as it is on any other day of the year. The majority of items from Amazon, including all Amazon devices and products bought using Alexa voice shopping, can be returned within 30 days of purchase. However, not all online retailers have the same policies and even on Amazon, there are some items which cannot be returned.

“Returning an item can be inconvenient and frustrating,” Mechele Agbayani Mills, President and CEO of BBB Serving Central East Texas said. “However, becoming familiar with the company’s return policy and initiating that return early can help alleviate some of the stress.”

BBB offers the following consumer tips for hassle-free returns and exchanges:

Read the product warranty. In some cases, the retailer may not be liable if the product is defective or damaged. You may be required to mail the product directly to the manufacturer in order to receive monetary refunds, credit or product replacement.

Monitor the “return clock”. A 15-30 day return policy is standard, but some businesses have a 90 day or even a year. Just know what the return policy is for the company you purchased from. Also remember, that on Amazon Prime Day, the company really tries to promote their 3rd party sellers, so again, not all the return policies are the same for every seller.

Understand return policies. Return policies for sale, clearance or “as is” merchandise may not apply or may be different than merchandise sold at full price.

Ask about return shipping fees. Be sure to read return policies when buying online to find out if you have to pay a return shipping fee. Sometimes, even though you purchased an item online, the merchandise can be returned to a physical store instead of the online merchant.

Keep the box and the receipt. Some retailers will not accept returns unless the merchandise is in its original packaging. Without a receipt, some stores will either only provide store credit or will not accept the return at all.

BBB also reminds businesses to have a simple written return and exchange policy and be consistent in its implementation. Develop a policy that works for your business and make sure it’s visible to your customers. Make sure your employees are aware of the policy. Remember, even a customer’s return experience is a chance to develop a loyal patron to your business.

— BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Most BBB services to consumers are free of charge. BBB Serving Central East Texas was founded in 1985 and serves 19 counties.

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