In our professional organizing business, we often suggest that savvy clients be prepared to ask themselves how often they use things, and the cost of ownership of those things. Along the way we both discover items with tags and price stickers that clearly can be returned depending on the store the item was purchased to. This is where clients can save considerable money by returning their unused items (within a reasonable amount of time after purchase!)
Return policies for brick and mortar and online retail stores are more complex than income tax laws. Buy online (and wanting to return) and you'll spend umpteen hours working your way through phone trees and waiting on hold to talk to a customer "service" representative. If you're lucky, you'll get a refund. Otherwise, it's a store credit from a store you may not wish to patronize again.
Humorously, many of these merchants claim to offer "hassle free" returns. Some retailers, on the other hand, genuinely believe in making the process as pain-free as possible.
FreeShipping did some research and came up with the following top 10 online return policies.
The online-only shoe merchant gives shoppers a full 365 days to return unwanted or flawed footwear with guaranteed free shipping both ways on domestic orders. Use the endless.com online returns center for proper processing.
There's no time limit on returns with L.L. Bean and no authorization is required. Simply download and fill out an online form or use the form printed on your packing slip. Return shipping is free for L.L.Bean Visa Cardmembers; just use a prepaid label for fast and free service. We love their zip-top boat and tote bags!
As with endless.com, Shoebacca provides totally free shipping both ways and a 365-day window in which to return or exchange your unwanted, unworn footwear or defective products. Returns must have the original tags still attached and shipped in the original packaging.
4. Lands' End
Want to return a purchase and replace it with a different size or color? Lands' End offers free return shipping with no end date for re-orders. For returns without an exchange, use the Easy Return Label for a flat shipping fee of $6.95. To get the best value, look for Lands' End free shipping codes when you purchase, and return unwanted items to any Sears store to avoid return shipping costs.
Here's another great shoe deal. Zappos free shipping is good both for purchases and returns. Whether you're unhappy with a purchase or simply change your mind, Zappos will provide a full refund or exchange within 365 days of purchase. Returns must be unworn (unless defective) and shipped in the original packaging.
Use the Overland free shipping label provided online for a free return via FedEx. Purchases made with a credit card are charged back within 24 hours of receipt and refund checks are issued for orders paid for with cash or a check.
No receipt is necessary when returning a Macy's purchase because the merchant has a program that identifies products in their system. The department store provides a full refund or exchange within 180 days of purchase, except for jewelry, which is limited to 30 days. You can mail the item back or bring your purchase into any Macy's store for a refund.
Kohl's free shipping offers come and go, but you can return your purchase any time for any reason. Lost your receipt? They'll let you exchange your purchase for a comparably priced item or give you store credit. No cash back is available, however, without a receipt.
Here's a rare deal for a warehouse store. Costco will not only refund the cost of your purchase but it will also pick up the tab for shipping and handling. Just return the item to any Costco outlet and they'll remit your refund in your original form of payment. Most items may be returned at any time with the original receipts attached and in the original packaging. Most electronics, however, must be returned within 90 days.
10. Toys R Us and Babies R Us
Children change their minds so fast it can make your head spin, so a hassle-free return policy can make all the difference. The "R" Us folks accept returns within 90 days for cash back, if you paid with check or cash. Shipping costs also are refunded, but online purchases must be returned within 30 days and electronics in 45 days. No receipt is necessary if the item was purchased with plastic or from a gift registry. Shipping costs are refunded if the product is defective or damaged.
FreeShipping is the largest resource on the Internet linking shoppers to free-shipping deals offered by more than 4,000 online merchants.
What are some of your favorite stores online and in your neighborhood that offer no-hasstle return policies? Share them with us below.
Images above: The Grove, next to the Farmer's Market 3rd and Fairfax. 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica. Beverly Center off La Cienaga. Century City Westfield Shopping Center.
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