Returning Big Ticket Purchases
Many manufacturers don’t have hassle-free return policies. You should know the risks before you order. Here’s a checklist to follow before you sign on the dotted line:
Make sure product model numbers match manufacturer model numbers. Remember, if a product is labeled “OEM” (original equipment manufacturer) or “tray” or “white box,” it may not be a retail item, and so may not have the same warranty or specifications.
Determine who pays for return shipping, how long the return period lasts and when it begins.
If you buy the product from a third-party seller, like Amazon.com for instance, the return policy from the company that shipped it applies. So make sure you examine the return policy.
If a shipped product arrives looking damaged, refuse to accept it. Contact the manufacturer immediately, and file a claim with the shipping company.
When opening a boxed product, try not to rip the packaging any more than you have to. And save the packaging, including the plastic wrap and twisty ties. You will need the material if you have to return the product later.
It goes without saying that you should keep the receipt. Many companies will not refund money without it. And remember that some receipts also have a RMA (returned merchandise authorization) sticker, which you need to affix to the box before you can return the product.
Test the product as soon as possible. The sooner you discover a defective product and contact the retailer, the more likely you are to receive a refund.
Call customer service. Sometimes they will offer free return shipping or send a replacement even before the defective product is returned.
Make sure you insure the return. You are responsible if the return package is lost in transit, so insure it for its full value.
Always check your credit card statement to verify that your account was properly credited.
—Adapted from Smart Computing
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