Help Desk FAQ



Do retail stores have to accept returns and give refunds?

In most cases, merchants are required to accept returns and provide refunds only in certain situations—usually when items are defective—but most are more flexible than that. (An exception can be goods on sale or sold as a "final sale.")

Consumer purchase refund laws vary by state, but many specify that the refund policy of the store must be clearly and conspicuously posted in the retail establishment. Under state requirements in states that require notice, most insist that stores tell you whether a refund, store credit or an exchange will be given; the time period during which the customer must return the merchandise; the types of merchandise covered; and any conditions, such as the requirement for an original receipt. If you don't see such a notice, ask about the refund and returns policy before you make a purchase.

FindLaw explains what federal and state law says about returns. 

The Balance goes into greater detail about specific retailers' policies.

Consumer Action's Savvy Online Shopping: How to resolve a dispute offers advice useful both online and in-store.

Consumer Action's How to Complain can help you get the resolution you're looking for.




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