Online Return Policies and What to Ask Before Shopping Online

NBC 7 Responds helps a DelMar woman with a messy online return problem and explains what you should know before shopping online.

Tracy Mull found a deal online she couldn’t resist: a 55-inch 4K TV for $600 on 

When the big box arrived, Tracy and her son installed the TV and it worked fine. Then they woke up the next morning. 

“I turned on the TV and it went to this gray screen and then it flashed,” Tracy says. “Then it wouldn’t power up anymore.” 

Tracy says she called They were gracious and helpful, she says, sending a second television right away and offering a $60 credit. But, when Tracy programmed the second television, it too had problems that wouldn’t go away. 

This left Tracy with two broken televisions and no easy way to return them. She drove them to her local Walmart store, only to be told that and Walmart stores are managed separately and there was nothing the local store could do to help her with the returns. Tracy left the TVs at her local Walmart store, only to be told she needed to go back, pick up the TVs and ship them to 

Frustrated, Tracy called NBC 7 Responds. We reached out to about the situation. Shortly after, a representative called Tracy to apologize for the mishap saying she no longer had to pick up the TV’s after all and offered Tracy a full refund for the broken sets. Normally customers would be required to ship the product back to when returning an item, but the company made an exception for Tracy. 

Like Tracy, most people may not know what an online retailer’s return policy is until they’re in the situation of having to return something. 

Before you pull your credit card out to make a purchase, find the online retailer’s return policy and figure out the answers to these questions: 

  • How much time do you have to return an item for a full refund vs. store credit?

  • Does the original purchase come with a shipping label, in the event of a return? Or will you be on the hook for packaging and postage?

  • Is there a separate phone number or way to get ahold of the retailer, in the event of a return?

  • Are there any reviews from shoppers who had to return an item? What was their experience?

  • If the item you purchased is an article of clothing or footwear, does the retailer have a different set of rules for returning these items?

  • Is the item required to have all tags and other branding still attached when you make the return?

Bottom line, always do your research before you make a purchase. 

In the event of needing to return something, don’t delay. Online retailers are often shortening the time periods you have to make that decision on whether or not you want to return the item purchased.

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