Now that Black Friday has passed us by and the holidays are approaching, many shoppers are ready to make returns or will be soon enough.
A return is usually neither an easy or pleasant experience for any party involved.  Retailers have their procedures that must be followed and will sometimes make it as difficult and traumatic just enough to make you think twice about doing it again.  Customers just want their money back so they can go buy something else...something they might return in the future. 
Below are a few pointers and suggestions when looking at returns for both parties:
1.       Be as patient and pleasant as you can

Try working with the employee explaining your problem.  This can motivate a potential incentive such as a discount on a future purchase, free shipping, no restocking fees (technology items etc.) or something else that will make you want to continue your relationship with the specific retailer.

2.       Work with a supervisor and don’t be afraid to ask for what you want

Some return policies only allow 30-90 days for a full refund with a receipt.  If you are past this date and the first time you ask you are denied the return, speak with a supervisor and explain your situation.  They may be inclined to at least give you store credit.

I purchased a $200 saw from Harbor Freight Tools back in May 2012. It was never used and now I wanted to return it but their policy was 90 days with a receipt for a refund…nothing else.  I first called the store and explained my situation to a manager.  She said they usually never accept anything past the 90 day range especially 6 months later.  Being in good spirits, the manager said if I came in that night she would give me a store credit.  As you can imagine I drove right over and not only returned the saw, but an expensive blade and a drill as well.  The manager was extremely helpful and processed my return without additional questions and very promptly.

I will definitely be going back to Harbor Freight and specifically to this store!    

Retailers – the following tips were explored in an article by Armondo Roggio on
1.       Treat Returns and Exchanges Like an Opportunity to Impress
Understand the customer’s frustration and explore other options to satisfy their requirement.  This may inspire a future purchase.
2.       Use Returns and Exchanges to Make Additional Sales
Try to make the experience as painless as possible.  Being helpful and swift can encourage additional sales at the same time the return is processed.  
Offer incentives to motivate your customer such as discounts on another purchase.
3.       Let Returns and Exchanges Improve Marketing, Product Selection
Understanding why something is returned can help businesses explore their merchandise, promote ideas for future marketing campaigns, or inform the business that a product should be discontinued sooner than later.
Shopping can be a stress but try to remember; stay positive, be pleasant, and don’t be afraid to ask for what you want…you may get it.
Happy Shopping!

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Leigh Merz

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