What You Need to Know About Restocking Fees

Watch Those Store Restocking Fees!

Why is it important to keep your eyes on restocking fees? Let's say you buy a camera and realize it's just not what you wanted. You paid $300 for it and that's exactly what you expect to get back when you return it. However, when refund time comes you only get back $255. Why are you getting back $45 less than what you paid? You've just been hit by increasingly-common restocking fees.

What Are Restocking Fees?

Restocking fees are what stores are charging nowadays when you return certain types of items. Common items that carry restocking fees are electronics, computers, printers and appliances. When you return one of these items to a store that implements restocking fees, you lose that money when they take it out of your refund.

How Much Are Restocking Fees?

This is where things get a bit complicated. Stocking fees really do run the gambit. Some stores don't charge any restocking fees while others charge as much as 50 percent. There's really no rhyme or reason to it, so the only way to know for sure is to ask.

Also, make sure you understand that just because a store charges a small restocking fee (10 or 15 percent) don't assume it's not going to cost you. Sure, 10-percent of a $99 printer is just $9.90. However, 10 percent of a $1,500 laptop is a whopping $150. That's why it's so important to understand store policy prior to making a purchase and avoiding impulse purchases at all costs.


A Few Things to Keep in Mind

Keep the following in mind -- stores usually only charge restocking fees when you return a perfectly salable item. They're not usually charged when you exchange something or return a defective product.
Again, make sure you fully understand a store's restocking fee policy prior to making a purchase.

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