Get Your Money Back


by Rick Doble

A sale is really not complete unless you are satisfied. If you find you bought something that did not meet your needs for any reason, then you should take it back.
I estimate that the average family could save 1%-3% a year, or about $600 tax-free each and every year, simply by returning clothes, food, hardware, toys, that they've bought by mistake.
However, many people cannot bear to take things back. They look for an excuse: maybe I can give this belt as a present next Christmas, maybe I'll grow to like it, maybe someone I know will like it, etc. My mother had a drawer of items she had bought that she should have taken back and never did. They were still in the original boxes and looked brand-new. She said she kept them to give away as gifts, but the drawer was always full.
Some people are embarrassed to return things, especially for "trivial" reasons: the color was wrong, it smelled funny, it didn't quite go with other things.
Yet, the color of clothes is hard to judge in a store and can only be judged next to other clothes. "Trivial" reasons are not really trivial. You spent your money and didn't get what you needed, so get your money back. It's that simple.
Make returning items part of your shopping routine. The trick is not to go out of your way or spend a lot of time doing it. Return things when you plan to shop there anyway.

First: When you decide to take something back, put everything back in the box it came in, and file this with other purchases you plan to return. Then locate the receipt and file it with other receipts for items you plan to return. Have a special storage place just for these packages and receipts. Now you've got it ready to return with all the necessary parts and pieces. Attach a note to the package stating the latest date you could return the item.

Second: When you make a regular trip to a shopping center, return the items you bought there.

Third: When dealing with customer service, simply say, "I want to return this item." If the clerk asks why, add, "It did not meet my needs." That should be sufficient. If he or she wants more, don't be embarrassed to give a "trivial" reason.

Fourth: If you paid by credit card, the store will generally credit your account. If you paid by check, they may mail you a check. If the store is still waiting for your check to clear, you might have to wait several weeks before receiving your refund.

Fifth: Save both your original receipt and the refund receipt. Have the clerk mark and initial the items you returned on the original receipt and then staple the refund receipt to the original. If you have a problem getting your refund check or credit on your charge card, this is the proof you will need.

Sixth: If a salesperson won't give you a refund, ask to see the supervisor; if the supervisor is unbending, ask to see the manager. The higher up you go, the greater the authority he or she has to resolve the situation.

Seventh: If the store will not refund your money, then ask for a store credit as a last resort. It's better than nothing.


OTHER SAVVY TIPS TO STRETCH YOUR DOLLAR From Savvy Discounts Newsletter, edited by Rick Doble. 1996 by Rick Doble. For a free sample issue, send a postcard to: Free Sample Issue, Savvy Discounts Newsletter, P.O. Box 27-N, Smyrna, NC 28579. Or visit the web site at: