The holidays are officially over, we are back on our usual diets and oh yes, there are those gifts we need to return.  The giver likely gave you a gift receipt, but that does not assure smooth or easy returns at some retailers.

I’ve had my Sony eReader since late 2007 and I love it.  This Christmas, my husband decided to upgrade my trusty reader to the newest version and visited the Sony Style store in University Village here in Seattle.  While there, he also bought a new laptop for himself, my new reader, a laptop for me, gaming headphones for one of his sons and a few little accessories.

The only item not a hit at Christmas was the laptop for me.  We decided that it was too expensive to keep if it wasn’t the right gift and I personally took it to the store along with the couple of accessories which had been purchased for that laptop.

I won’t go into the whole drama because my saga is not the point and I don’t want to ruin yet another day of my life by reliving the horrors of the Sony Style Store.  In a nutshell, despite the fact that the item had never been unpacked, no components ever removed from the box, no cables unwound – but the 1″ tape on the top of the had been cut.  Yes, I actually looked INSIDE the box – a rare thing when one gets a gift I suppose.

This small piece of tape, neatly sliced resulted in a 15% restocking charge, multiple phone calls to upper management and far too much drama.  So much drama that my husband, a loyal Sony consumer electronics user has forever had his image of the brand tarnished.

In contrast, my husband had the new Apple iPhone 4S for 24 hours and had used it before deciding he’d rather have the Samsung Galaxy IIS Skyrocket I have.  He returned it to the Apple store and got a FULL REFUND with NO HASSLE.

I’m not saying a business should take everything back.  I don’t believe in returning ball gowns that have been worn to a party.  But reasonable – or at least clear- return guidelines are just good business.  Fine print on the back of the sales receipt (sure, you read that, don’t you?) only gives customers the information AFTER they have made a purchase.

Do you have “fine print” or rules in place for your protection?  If so, you need to be clear with customers.  Unhappy customers almost always are the result of  expectations which were not met.   Don’t start off your new year with angry customers who feel you have played “Gotcha” with them.



One Response to “Gotcha!”

  1. Robin Ryzan Says:

    This restocking fee is the biggest ripoff out there. I agree avoid any and all companies that do this.


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