Millenia Mall in Orlando on Cyber Monday.
by Carol Lim
On Cyber Monday, stores slashed prices 50 percent or more online and at retail stores in the malls and outlets. However, be sure to read the store’s refund/exchange policy before buying and on the back of the store receipts. At some retailers, you may not be able to get cash refunds or credit back when returning purchases this holiday season. Retailers also advise saving your receipts.
Why? Perhaps, return fraud involving stolen goods, buying clothes for one-time use and returning them the next day, fraudulent receipts, employee fraud or price-fixing.
United States retailers lose between $9.6 billion and $14.8 billion annually from return fraud, according to National Retail Federation and Loss Prevention Research Council studies. Federal and state laws require businesses to clearly state their policies on refunds and exchanges. In some states, the refund laws vary. Legally, retailers are not required to give customers refunds unless the product is defective.
At Forever 21, a national chain that offers low-priced, trendy clothing, the store receipts state “Exchange or store credit is allowed within 21 days of purchase with original receipt and tags attached. Merchandise must be unwashed, unworn and undamaged for exchange or store credit. Store credit is not redeemable for cash and is non-transferable. Store credit and gift cards cannot be replaced if lost or stolen. Gift cards are not redeemable for cash unless required by laws……There are NO cash refunds or credit back to credit/debit cards.”
At LOFT.com, online purchases can be returned online only. Store purchases can be returned within 45 days to any LOFT store or outlet. Like many retailers, it will gladly accept your return of unwashed and unworn merchandise under certain conditions.
At the LOFT outlet store at Orlando Premium Outlets, store receipts state “Returns accompanied by the original receipt within 60 days of the date of purchase will be credited for the price paid either in the original form of payment or a merchandise exchange. All returns, exchanges and price adjustments must be made in the country of original purchase.”
“Returns accompanied by the original receipt made more than 60 days after the date of purchase will be credited for the current selling price either in the form of a merchandise credit or a merchandise exchange.”
If you buy gift cards, read the conditions on the back. If they are lost or stolen, businesses such as California Pizza Kitchen will replace their gift cards with proof of purchase. Other stores may not replace gift cards.