The holidays are over, which is sad for most, and a relief for some. But now with the new year comes the big hassle of returning all those unwanted gifts. Let’s say you bought yourself that iPod on Black Friday when the deal was too good to pass up, but your aunt got you the better version on Christmas day. Now what?
Or what do you do if you purchased the item online? What if you lost the receipt? What if the store’s return date policy has expired?
The unexpected answer: check with your credit card.
Most people don’t read the fine print that notes that around the holidays, many credit cards offer “return protection,” which means your issuer will take back most items that the retailer will no longer accept, up until 90 days of the original purchase. This is great for early shoppers who may want to make returns after a store’s standard 14-30 day return policy expires.
- American Express’ Return Protection will assist if a card holder tries to return an item and the merchant won’t take it back within the 90 days, AmEx will refund the purchase price. Limits on refunds per item and per year may apply, and the protection may be available for a limited period of time after purchase. Additional protection comes in theguarantee of customer satisfaction on covered items charged to a card account.
- Visa’s Return Protection will reimburse you for the cost of an eligible item of personal property purchased entirely with your eligible Visa card if you are dissatisfied with the item for any reason within ninety (90) days of the date of purchase and the retailer will not accept the return. Coverage is limited to $250 per eligible item and up to $1,000 annually per account. Items must be received by Benefit Administrator in like-new/good working condition.
- Mastercard’s Purchase Assurance provides coverage for most items you purchase with your eligible MasterCard card if the item is damaged or stolen within 90 days of the date of purchase.If you become dissatisfied with a product you purchase using your eligible MasterCard card within 60 days of purchase, and the store will not accept a return, you may be eligible for a refund for the cost of the product up to $250.
As for me, I wasn’t fortunate enough to get an extra iPod from Aunt Sue (but thanks for the popcorn tin – the caramel corn rocks!), but in my holiday zeal, I bought an expensive dress for myself that has me feeling guilty, guilty, guilty. I’m sure its passed the store’s return date so I’m going to put my American Express Plus Gold Card, which has return and purchase protection features, to the test.