Some Practical Tips for Internet Gift Returns
Monday, December 27th 1999, 12:00 am
News On 6
People are already returning Christmas gifts to their stores of origin. The folks who received gifts that were bought on the Internet may run into trouble when trying to return them. Here are some practical how-to tips.
When a gift isn't quite right, shoppers can return it to the store. But for the first time in the history of the holiday season, millions of people shopped on-line in search of convenience. But shoppers may not find very much convenience when it's time to return or exchange gifts to an Internet company.
A recent web poll found that a third of all Internet companies charge shipping fees and restocking fees, but only five per cent of all Internet companies allow customers to return items for a refund. The News on Six checked with Tulsa-based Buyitnow.com. The company says it does provide refunds for products returned within thirty days. But there are times when the company will charge a 15% restocking fee plus shipping and handling fees. "If it's a product you ordered which you kept for 10 days or the person you bought it for kept the product that long. Or if you want to send it back because you just don't like it, then we usually require a 15% restocking fee on the refund of that," said buyitnow.com president Randy Jo Wilcox.
The fees are standard for Internet companies, but there are exceptions. "If we ship it to the wrong address,â€ Wilcox explained. â€œIf it's damaged in the mail or something is wrong with the product as in a defect, then we'll take it back."
Buyitnow.com says it's only had returns on 2 per cent of its products this year.
"Last year was our first year,â€ Wilcox said. â€œWe did a relatively small amount of business. It would be difficult for me to be able to predict what the actual return is going to be for this year.â€ But like many other Internet companies, buyitnow's business rose during the holidays which means returns will probably rise, too.
While tackling this year's returns, buyitnow.com is trying to get a jump on next year.
The company is working to improve communication suppliers and fix inventory problems, so the year 2000 holiday season will bring many happy returns. Before you order a product from any Internet company, carefully read its return and exchange policies. Then if you have any questions, call the company.