Retail stores aren’t bound by any law to provide refunds or returns to consumers. Some consumers opt to use a credit card when making a purchase as it can add some extra protection (in comparison to using cash or a debit card). Check out this blog post if you’re curious to know what’s involved with requesting – and potentially receiving – a refund from a merchant or credit card provider.

Do your homework before you make the purchase.

Before you drop some of your hard-earned cash for that new leather sofa, 70” TV or online service, do your homework and become familiar with the refund policies (for both the merchant and for your credit card provider).

Ask the merchant:

  • How long you have to issue a refund.
  • Whether they’ll give you a standard refund or offer an in-store credit.
  • In what circumstances a refund would be denied.
  • Whether you’d still be accountable for other costs (such as interest, a deposit, or delivery charges)

Ask your credit card:

  • When you would qualify for a refund.
  • How long you have to file a refund request (there are often deadlines).
  • Whether their clock starts at the date of purchase or, in the case of a customized or online order, the anticipated delivery date.
  • What sort of documentation is required to approve a refund request.

After you make the purchase, ask for – and keep safe – all your purchase and refund policy documents (this includes your receipts!).

Start with the source, but swiftly contact your credit card provider.

If you’re unsatisfied with a product or service and want a refund, the best place to start is with the merchant (credit card providers generally want to see that you’ve at least attempted to obtain a refund through the merchant). Be polite and professional, outline the product’s or service’s shortcomings and reinstate the merchant’s own refund policy.

During this stage, time is of the essence as there’s usually a limited time for consumers to request a refund from their credit card provider. As soon as you receive a “no” from the merchant (or if you feel the process is dragging), immediately contact your credit card company and initiate the refund process.


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