Dec 13, 2010

Shoppers beware: more stores are charging restocking fees on returns

A report at the link below has a warning for Christmas gift shoppers: more stores are charging restocking fees on returns.

No one wants to be slapped with a restocking fee, but they're becoming more common.

Retailers incur quite a cost for opened electronics returns, so they pass those costs on to the consumer.

Restocking fees at Best Buy range from 10% to 15% of the cost of certain products: Camera, camcorders, laptops, phones.

It adds up. For example, if you bought a computer for $1,000, opened it, and returned it, you or the person you bought it for will pay a restocking fee of $100 to $150.

"The biggest reason is that it needs to be checked out," explains Best Buy manager Paul Fermin. "It has to be first checked out by a certified technician, either at the Geek Squad or at the manufacturer, sent back to us, certify that, yes, this is a sellable product and it's in good working condition. We have to then resell it as an open box item."

Best Buy is not alone. Many retailers charge restocking fees on opened electronics for different reasons. Target, Amazon, Sears, and Dell all may charge 15% to restock.

Apple charges 10% to restock. H.H. Gregg charges 20% or more to restock if you don't have your receipt or all the packing materials, or if it's later than 14 days since you bought it.

Retailers who don't charge a restocking fee, at least for now, are: Costco, Lowes, Radio Shack, Wal-Mart and Staples.