Best Buy Return Policy

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The Best Buy logo hangs above a store on April 16, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois.
Is Best Buy's return and exchange policy unfair to consumers?. Scott Olson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Viral message recounts one customer's unhappy experience attempting to return merchandise and obtain a cash refund at a Best Buy store. Are the details about Best Buy's return and exchange policies in this text correct?

Description: Forwarded email
Circulating since: March 2008
Status: Outdated (details below)

Email text contributed by Michelle W., May 8, 2008:


Best Buy has some bad policies....

Normally, I would not share this with others, However, since this could happen to you or your friends , I decided to share it. If you purchase something from, Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, JC Penny, Sears etc. If you return the item with the receipt. They will give you your money back if you paid cash, or credit your account if paid by plastic.

Well, I purchased a GPS for my car, a Tom Tom XL.S from 'Best Buy'. They have a policy that it must be returned within 14 days for a refund!

So after 4 days I returned it in the original box with all the items in the box, with paper work and cords all wrapped in the plastic. Just as I received it, including the receipt.

I explained to the lady at the return desk I did like the way it could not find store names. The lady at the refund desk said, there is a 15% restock fee, for items returned. I said no one told me that. I said how much would that be. She said it goes by the price of the item. It will be $45.00 Dollars for you. I said, all your going to do is walk over and place it back on the self! Then charge me $45.00 of my money for restocking!! She said that's the store policy. I said if more people were aware of it they would not buy anything here! If I bought a $2000.00 computer or TV and returned it I would be charged $300.00 dollars restock fee!! She said yes, 15%.

I said OK, just give me my money minus the restock fee.

She said, since the item is over 200.00 dollars, she cant give me my money back!!!

Corporate has to and they will mail you a check in 7 to ten days.!! I said 'WHAT?!'

It's my money!! I paid in cash! I want to buy a different brand..Now I have to wait 7 to 10 days. She said well, our policy is on the back of your receipt.

I said, do you read the front or back of your receipt? She said well, the front! I said so do I, I want to talk to the Manager!.

So the manager comes over, I explained everything to him, and he said, well, sir they should of told you about the policy when you got the item. I said, No one, has ever told me about the check refund or restock fee, when ever I bought items from computers to TVs from Best Buy. The only thing they ever discussed was the worthless extended warranty program. He said Well, I can give you corporate phone number.

I called corporate. The guy said, well, I'm not supposed to do this but I can give you a 45.00 dollar gift card and you can use it at Best Buy. I told him if I bought something and returned it, you would charge me a restock fee on the item and then send me a check for the remaining 3 dollars. You can keep your gift card, I'm never shopping in Best Buy ever again, and If I would of been smart, I would of charged the whole thing on my credit card! Then I would of canceled the transaction.

I would of gotten all my money back including your stupid Fees! He didn't say a word!

I informed him that I was going to e-mail my friends and give them a heads up on this stores policy, as they don't tell you about all there little caveats

So please pass this on. It may save your friends from having a bad experience of shopping at Best Buy.

2010 update: As of Dec. 18, 2010, Best Buy eliminated restocking fees on all products except special orders, rendering the consumer complaint above outdated and irrelevant.

Analysis: (2008) Because the author of the message is anonymous we have no way of determining whether the incident above occurred exactly as described, but the details of Best Buy's return and restock fee policies are easily confirmed by visiting the company's website.

Here, as of 2008, are the relevant entries:

14-day return period
We accept returns or exchanges 14 days from the original purchase on computers, monitors, notebook computers, projectors, camcorders, digital cameras, radar detectors and video games purchased as used.

Restocking fee
A restocking fee of 15% will be charged on opened notebook computers, projectors, camcorders, digital cameras, radar detectors, GPS/navigation and in-car video systems unless defective or prohibited by law. A restocking fee of 25% will be charged on Special Order Products, including appliances unless defective or prohibited by law.

Refund method
Refund will be in the same form as original purchase. Exceptions: Cash, debit or check purchases over $250 will be refunded in the form of a mail check within 10 business days of return.

Restocking fees aren't uncommon at comparable companies. Sears, Target, and Circuit City, for example, all charge up to 15% restocking fees for products in certain categories.

Needless to say, it's advisable to inquire about the particulars before purchasing products that may have to be returned.

Sources and further reading:

Best Buy Ends (Most) Restocking Fees, 20 December 2010

Best Buy Return & Exchange Policy
Best Buy corporate website

The Hidden Costs of Restocking Fees Coupons / Bargains

Many Happy Returns?

Taking Stock of Restocking Fees, 1 September 2006