Appliances are a large household expense and it pays to understand what your options are for returning these items if they’re not right for your needs.
• Always Read the Fine Print
Most large appliance stores have a very limited window in which they accept returns, if they accept them at all. Ninety days is typical for most stores, giving customers a generous window in which to return an item if it’s not right for some reason. Some stores will allow returns on certain kinds of items, but not on others. Always make sure to understand what rules govern your appliance before leaving the store with it.
• Returning vs. Repairing
Returning an item often entails hiring a special vehicle or enlisting help in loading or unloading the item. Sometimes simply repairing a faulty item, especially when the item is under warranty, can be the better choice. For example, Whirlpool washer repair honors the full spirit of the warranty, providing full replacement of parts and service if stipulated in the terms. Repairing a faulty part spares a customer the hassle of returning an item.
• Beware the “Restocking Fee.”
In the fine print of some return policies, customers are warned they will be liable to pay a “restocking fee” of up to 20 percent when returning the item. This is basically a fee to cover the labor of store employees as they handle a returned item, but can often be a way for stores to gouge customers and recoup some of the expense involved in accepting an item. Speaking with a store manager can often be effective in reducing or waiving this fee entirely if it’s not explicitly mentioned in writing. Be sure to understand a store’s policy before buying and be prepared for the extra expense should you need to return an item.
• Online and Store Purchases
Policies can often vary depending upon whether a customer has ordered and purchased an item online rather than by visiting a physical store. Even if you’ve purchased an item from the same store, they may not accept a return if the transaction occurred online. Be clear on your return options if you choose to purchase online.
• Report Any Damage Immediately
If your appliance needs to be returned because it arrived to you in a damaged condition, report it immediately to the store. Some stores stipulate they are not liable for any damage incurred if a report is not made within 72 hours of recieving the item, meaning you will be liable for the damage instead. Inspect your item closely to ensure it arrives to you in perfect condition.
Photo by Green Energy Futures – David Dodge