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Shopping this time of year is stressful with the hustle and bustle of holiday crowds, which can make returning purchased items a daunting task. Whether you are returning an item after a case of buyer’s remorse or your new outfit didn’t fit quite right, the store return policy can be confusing.

Massachusetts retailers should disclose their refund, return, or exchange policy before completing a transaction. Most stores post signs throughout the store or at the cash register or customer service counter in order to display these policies. Without a return or refund policy, retailers in Massachusetts should accept all returns submitted within a reasonable period after purchase.

In Massachusetts, there are no laws about return policies. Stores are allowed to establish their own return policies as long as the product is not defective. Retailers often extend return periods during the holiday season to allow items bought in November to be returned until mid-to-late January.

As an educated consumer, there are a few things to keep in mind when picking out this season’s gifts:

  • Save your receipts. Many stores offer different forms of receiving your receipt—traditional paper, e-mail, or text receipts. Take advantage of these options. It is often more difficult to return items without a receipt leading to partial credit or no return or exchange at all.
  • Ask questions and review all policies. Return policies are different for every store. If you’re unsure about how long the return period is, ask before you check-out. Research policies and contact customer services with questions when shopping online.
  • Keep delivered package materials. When ordering or receiving merchandise purchased online, it is best to return the package with all the materials included in the box as you received it. Returning items in good condition and with all the tags it came with may improve your chances of a successful return.
  • Return defective merchandise. Defective merchandise is accepted for return regardless of an established store return policy. In the case of damaged or defective items, retailers should give you the option to repair, return, or replace the damaged item.

 We wish you and your loved ones a happy and healthy holiday season!

 


 

If you have additional questions, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation by calling our Consumer Hotline at (617) 973-8787, or toll-free in MA at (888) 283-3757, Monday through Friday, from 9 am-4:30 pm. Follow the Office on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer. The Baker-Polito Administration’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation along with its five agencies work together to achieve two goals: to protect and empower consumers through advocacy and education, and to ensure a fair playing field for Massachusetts businesses. The Office also oversees the state’s vehicular and customized wheelchair Lemon Laws and Arbitration Programs, Data Breach reporting, Home Improvement Contractor Programs, and the MA Do Not Call Registry.

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