Most of the largest U.S. retail companies change their return policies for the Christmas holiday shopping season providing extended and more lenient return terms to accommodate both gift buyers and gift receivers. Some retail chains, however, do not create no special extended holiday or gift return policies, which sometimes makes Christmas gift returns difficult or impossible.
It is a list of the standard return policies of U.S. retail industry companies that offer no extended or special return policies, and the consequences to the shoppers who make purchases governed by those return policies.
Dell has improved its Extended Holiday Gift Return and Refund Policy considerably, but there are still difficult details in Dell's Return Policy which make returns a hassle or, in some cases, completely impossible in the Christmas holiday gift season and throughout the year.
Generally, Dell customers can return most purchases made with Dell online between November 2nd and December 25th for a full refund with free return shipping as long as the return is received by Dell on or before January 15th. The key word in that sentence is "most."
Dell accessories are excluded from this extended return policy, and software can almost never be returned. There is also a long list of Dell-branded products that can never be returned. Mobile phones are subject to the return policies of the manufacturer, which vary quite a bit and may or may not have extended return terms for Christmas gift recipients.
All customers returning any type of merchandise must follow the Return Merchandise Authorization process and failure to do so may result in the returned product being discarded without the customer receiving any credit for it at all. Partial credit might be issued for products “at Dell’s discretion” just because they want to do it.
Dell also charges a 15% restocking fee, whether you open the package or not. One fine print tip about Dell returns is to not refuse the delivery because that will just cause you more problems and delays with your Dell return.
Just because CVS labels its return policy as "hassle-free" doesn't mean that holiday gift recipients will agree. CVS hassle-free returns have to be made within 30 days. So that MP3 or GPS that you purchase in pre-Black Friday sales might have to be returned before Christmas Day rolls around.
There are anecdotal reports that CVS also will not accept returns on discounted seasonal merchandise purchased after Christmas, whether within the 30-day return period or not. This no-return policy is neither confirmed or denied in writing by CVS
CVS is much more lenient, however, about the return of CVS branded products. Those store brands have a 100% satisfaction guarantee and can be returned opened or unopened for a refund, "no questions asked." (Receipt or shipping invoice is required for all refunds, whether they are CVS branded or not.)
GameStop prevents an excessive number of holiday merchandise returns with a long list of conditions which make your Gamestop purchases non-returnable. GameStop specifically instructs its customers not to return products if:
- more than 30 days have gone by since the packing slip was printed
- the product has been opened (taken out of its plastic wrap).
- the item is not in its original condition.
- anything is damaged, played, or is missing parts.
- it was part of a bundle unless you send the entire bundle back
If you ship something back that’s non-returnable, you won't get a refund, and you also won't get your item returned either!
GameStop customers returning Christmas gifts will not receive a refund even if they have a gift receipt and make the return within 30 days of purchase. Gift receipts will only entitle a customer to a merchandise exchange or a GameStop gift card.
And if that isn't enough GameStop merchandise return hoops to jump through, GameStop also wants its customers to know that it reserves the right to refuse any return. Just because they say so.
Whether before, during, or after the Christmas holiday shopping season, most sales are final at La Senza. The La Senza return policy has such a long list of items that can't be returned, that it seemingly would be difficult to find an item to purchase from La Senza that is returnable any time of the year.
"Due to the intimate nature and hygienic standards of certain items," there's a long list of what can't be returned at any time for any reason to specialty retailer La Senze, Non-returnable items include:
- baby dolls
- any lingerie set that includes a panty
Additionally, there is a long list of La Senza products that are considered to be "final sales." In other words, merchandise in these categories are also non-returnable... ever:
- backless bras
- fashion tape
- body wash
- body mist
- gift cards
If you attempt to return these items, La Senza will quickly send them back to you at your expense.
This might be a more understandable, except that La Senza is owned by The Limited, which also owns Victoria's Secret, which has an extremely liberal "no sale is final" policy. The inference is that the more expensive the undergarments, the more hygienic the customer? Considering rumors that fly around about Victoria's Secret models, some people might think the opposite is true.
Because Bath and Body Works has a "no sale is ever final" return policy at all times, there is no need for special or extended holiday terms. There is no time limit for returns, and with a sales receipt or shipping invoice, a refund will be issued (excluding shipping and handling charges, if the item was purchased through the online shopping website).
The one aspect of the Bath & Body Works holiday gift return policy that has the potential to create customer dissatisfaction
Gift returns require no receipt, and the original credit card is not required. Gift returns can only be made at brick-and-mortar Bath and Body Works stores, even if the original purchase was made was made on the website.
Costco's Customer-Friendly Return Policies Need No Holiday Changes
Costco's standard merchandise return policy is:
"We guarantee your satisfaction on every product we sell with a full refund."
The only limit on returns is a for purchases is a 90-day time limit for refunds on televisions, projectors, computers, cameras, camcorders, iPod / MP3 players and cellular phones. Refunds for Costco.com Internet website purchases include a refund of shipping and handling charges.
Costco will also refund membership fees that must be paid to gain access to its warehouse stores in full to any Costco customers who are dissatisfied with their membership. Guarantees like these are the reason why the "Costco Craze" is a global phenomenon in retailing.
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