Archive for December, 2013

PostHeaderIcon 8 Best Return Policies in the Known Universe

Article Source: Online Shopping Store

Some stores make it a total pain in the butt to return gifts. Some make it so easy you want to only shop with them in the future. You’d think more stores would take notice of just how important a customer-friendly return policy is, especially in terms of repeat customers and more importantly, satisfied customers.

Just in time to return those unwanted Christmas gifts, I breakdown the eight best return policies in the known universe.

Costco Wholesale

For a long time Costco had the single greatest return policy to ever exist. But like any really good thing, it got abused so they had to dial it back. But it is still REALLY good.  Here is the skinny:

  • 90 day return policy on electronics. No questions asked. This use to be unlimited days but people would bring back their HDTV a year after buying it, say it was broken, and upgrade it to the newest model.
  • All other consumer goods: 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. This means if you buy a Keurig coffee maker and it breaks down 14 months after you bought it (and it will), you can bring it back into Costco for a full refund. I know because I did this exact thing.
  • Do you need the original receipt? No, because all purchases are tracked on your account membership.
  • Membership refund: Also, if you’re unsatisfied with your membership for any reason you can get a full refund at any time.


The Kohl’s return policy often doesn’t get the credit that it deserves. It’s pretty dang awesome:

  • Their website sums it up best: “Return any item, anytime, for any reason.” Um, yeah, I guess that’ll work.
  • Don’t have the receipt? You can still make an even exchange, take a merchandise credit or get a corporate refund.
  • How about a gift receipt only? You’ll score merchandise credit good for anything in the store.

L.L. Bean

Have you ever heard of a clothing store saying that they’ll take back any item, at any time, if you’re not completely satisfied with the quality of the item? Well, thanks to the L.L.Bean Guaranteed to Last program, you have now.

  • L.L.Bean will let you return anything, for any reason, if you’re not completely satisfied with the quality or fit for the lifetime of the item.
  • Their policy even extends to user error and abuse. If you are extremely hard on a pair of chinos and they rip, call them up and they’ll replace them saying, “Our chinos don’t rip, a new pair is in the mail.” Pretty amazing policy that was first instituted back in the 1960′s.


The Macy’s return policy is also excellent and has a nice wrinkle for online purchases. Here is how it works:

  • Have the original receipt? They’ll take it back at ANY TIME and give you a full refund in the original form of payment. Doesn’t matter how long ago you made the purchase.
  • Lost the receipt? Not a problem, they’ll bend over backwards to try and find your purchase info by accessing your account, gift registry, or by using a customer return label. If they can find it, you’ll get a full refund.
  • If they can’t find proof of purchase, you’ll still get store credit for the item’s lowest selling price within the last 180 days. Not to shabby.
  • Also, they let you ship all returns back for free if you purchased the items at Macy’ Thanks to DC at for letting me know about this.
  • The nice little wrinkle that I mentioned involves online shopping from If your product arrives and has been damaged during delivery, you can take it to any Macy’s location and they’ll not only refund the purchase price but any shipping costs that you incurred.


Nordstrom prides themselves in their excellent customer service and you often pay for it through higher prices. But nonetheless, their return policy is hard to beat:

  • Free returns, with no time-frame, either via mail or in-store. Pretty cool that they let you return your items via the mail for no extra charge. Really makes it risk-free when shopping from the Nordstrom website. Even makes sense to buy a couple different sizes knowing that you can return the ones that don’t fit for free.


REI has the famous “100% Satisfaction Guaranteed” policy which essentially let’s you “try out” their products risk free. Here is how it works:

  • You have exactly 1-year from date of purchase to return any product for any reason for a full refund or exchange, no questions asked.
  • You can return or exchange any product to one of their retail locations, regardless of whether you bought it online or by phone through their product catalog.
  • REI-Outlet items are handled a little bit differently as you only have 30 days to request a full refund or product exchange.


The return policy at Target is pretty bodacious as well. Here is what you need to know:

  • Target offers a fairly liberal 90-day return window. The following items have a shorter 30-day return policy: netbooks, laptops, eReaders, tablets, cameras, camcorders, digital audio players, GPS systems, video game hardware, personal DVD players, and no-contract cell phones.
  • Almost all online purchases can be returned to a Target store.
  • All purchases can be returned for free by using their online return center.
  • Interesting note on Christmas gift purchases. For items purchased between 11/1 – 12/25, the refund period does not begin until 12/26.
  • If you are returning an item without a receipt they have the ability to look up your purchase in their computer system and issue you store credit.


Zappos revolutionized the online return policy years ago and it has become their trademark. Here is how it works:

  • Not only will they ship your order for free, but they’ll allow you to mail it back for free if you are not satisfied for ANY reason.
  • You have exactly 365 days to return your item. Product must be in the same condition you received it and in the original packaging.
  • Order some shoes and apparel, try them on at home, and ship back what you don’t want for NO extra cost.

Ask the Reader: Have you ever used any of these return policies to your advantage? Tell me all about it. Also, am I missing any good store return policies? Let me know and I’ll be sure to add it to this list.

By Kyle James


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The price for a first class stamp will rise 3 cents in January. That will increase postage for a letter from 46 cents to 49 cents.


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PostHeaderIcon Frugal Hack #18: Call Customer Service and Haggle

Article Source: Online Shopping Store

In case you missed it, I was featured in The New York Times yesterday! The story I was interviewed for is titled More Retailers See Haggling as a Price of Doing Business and it documents the idea of never accepting the price listed at retail stores. The story was actually on the front page of the print edition. Crazy, huh? A dude working in his pajamas from a home office makes the front page of the NY Times. Gotta love this country!

So today I wanted to continue with the topic of haggling for a better price. If you are an old friend to you already know how to use Live Chat to score an online coupon as well as using stores price matching policies to your advantage when asking for a better price. Believe it or not, I have yet another way to haggle for a better price with online stores that you probably NEVER considered. Here is the skinny behind this Frugal Hack:

Call Customer Service and Haggle

Real life example: The next time you are shopping at Kohl’ and find that perfect KitchenAid Stand Mixer to bake all your Christmas cookies, don’t just accept the online price given to you. Always do some research yo! Within seconds you can find it at for only $323.26, over $25 less than what Kohl’s is selling it for. At this point just call the Kohl’s customer service number, tell them you’re a loyal customer, and politely ask if they’ll match the price.

I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the willingness of many retailers to price match items directly over the phone. After all, they know you have the items in your virtual shopping cart and you are just 1-click away from finalizing your transaction. They don’t want to lose your business at that point.  If the customer service rep refuses to match the price at the very least ask if they’ll knock off the shipping charges.

Instead of Haggling, Why Not Just Buy From the Cheapest Online Retailer?

Good question. Why wouldn’t I just buy the KitchenAid mixer from Many consumers, perhaps you as well, are members of certain online retailer reward programs and get cash back and reward points on purchases. So it makes sense to try and buy from only them so you can collect your member reward points. For example, members of Kohl’s reward program get $5 back on every $100 they spend. So it makes total sense to call the Kohl’s customer service line and ask them politely if they’ll price match online prices from their competition. Also, make sure to add a Kohl’s coupon code to your online order to get even more savings.

Speaking of coupons, some online stores may have better coupons available making them the store you want to buy from. You got nothing to lose and bundles of cash to potentially save by only spending a few minutes on the phone.

When This Frugal Hack Won’t Work

Like most unique ways to save money this hack won’t work with every store and every situation. Here are some caveats to be aware of:

  1. Most, if not all major retailers, will not honor coupon codes from online competitors. So you won’t be able to call up Best and say, “Hey, I just a coupon code from in my email for 10% off all digital cameras. Can you honor their coupon code?”
  2. Walmart, the biggest retailer in the world, has a written policy that they will not match Internet pricing.
  3. Macy’s won’t match online pricing but they have been known to offer consumers free shipping if you call customer service and try to negotiate.

Ask the Reader: Would you consider spending 5 minutes calling customer service to haggle for a better price? Maybe you have already done this. If so, were you successful in getting the price lowered?

By Kyle James


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