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Consumers are expected to spend a lot of green this St. Patrick’s Day. The National Retail Federation (NRF) estimates that Americans will spend upwards of $5.9 billion to celebrate the Irish holiday. Results from the NRF’s annual survey predict that the average person will spend over $39, and a majority of respondents indicated they would be spending most of that on shopping.

If you plan on shopping online or at a department store in search of all things green, it is important to refresh yourself on your consumer rights.

In Massachusetts, there is no set law about return policies. However, stores must clearly disclose their return policy so that you can look it over before making a purchase. Any merchandise that is defective must be returned for repair, a replacement, or a refund, regardless of the return policy. If a store issues a merchandise credit for returned goods, you have at least seven years to redeem it.

If merchandise is on sale, there are certain requirements it must meet by law in order for it to be advertised as such. If an item is less than $200, the savings must be at least 10% for it to be considered on sale. Anything over $200 must have a savings of 5% or more.

If a store runs out of an advertised special and does not specify that quantities may be limited, they must allow you to buy the product as advertised once it is restocked. If it is out of stock, the store could offer a comparable substitute, as well.

All goods in Massachusetts are covered by an implied warranty of merchantability. This means that products must reasonably conform to an ordinary buyer’s expectation for a reasonable amount of time.

Understanding your protections as a consumer can be incredibly helpful should issues arise between you and a retailer. Our website has a full consumer guide for all things related to shopping. Don’t let your St. Patrick’s Day be ruined by a poor or unfair shopping experience.

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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 Lemon Laws and Arbitration Program, Data Breach reporting, Home Improvement Contractor Programs and the MA Do Not Call Registry.

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