Returning Electronics The Right Way

It’s a sad fact of life that some items we purchase or receive as gifts, just aren’t going to work. Or perhaps they won’t meet our needs for other reasons. That means it’s time to return them to the store or mail them back to the online retailer where you purchased it.

With expensive electronics, it can be especially tricky. Most places are far more picky about $300 items than they are about accepting $10 returns. So here are some tips for getting a refund or a replacement with as little pain as possible for both you and the retailer.

Make Sure The Item Is Actually Defective

Some defects like a cracked screen are pretty obvious, but other issues may be something that can be called simply by calling tech support or visiting the manufacturer’s website and clicking on support.

Know The Return Policy

First of all, know what the return policy is. Most retailers have a period of time in which you can return a product if it is defective or you are not satisfied. But check before you buy, not everyone does. Many private sellers will sell items “as is” meaning you get what you get. Some places will allow you to return an item if you aren’t happy with it, others only if that item is defective. Some offer refunds, others only the option of replacement or store credit.  Trying to get a refund out of place that only offers replacement merchandise can end up be frustrating for both the customer and the retailer. Don’t just throw out a slip of paper or delete an e-mail with the return and refund policy. You may need it later.

Also, know that return policy is a different thing from a warranty. The retailer offers the return policy, most warranties are offered by the manufacturer. Some retailers do offer the option of purchasing separate warranties from third-party companies. If your item comes with a thirty-day return policy from the retailer and six-month warranty from the manufacturer, you can return it to the store within 30 days, but after that you need to contact the manufacturer with the warranty information. If you’ve purchased extra third-party warranty protection, you’ll have to contact the company that issued that protection.

Keep Your Purchase Information

Make sure you keep your receipt for items purchased at the store and information like order numbers and confirmation e-mails for items purchased online. A return that arrives from Bob Smith without order number or date of purchases is going to be pretty difficult for the company to process.

Save The Packaging

Save the original packaging, at least for the length of the warranty. Electronic items like tablets and computers are delicate and can be tricky to ship. The original packaging usually does the best job of securing the items and leaving space for any accessories you need to return with the item.  If you are shipping the item, make sure you do it in a sturdy box or envelope and properly packed.

Return All Of The Original Accessories

If you are sending the item in for a refund or an exchange, make sure to include all of the original accessories like power cords or adapters that came with the item. Items are generally sold as a unit and the retailer needs all of those accessories to return a defective product to the manufacturer.

 These simple steps can make it easier on you and the retailer and help get the issue resolved as quickly as possible.

~ Cynthia


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