In the United States, returning merchandise to retailers is usually perceived as a god-given right. Not so in most other countries. Return policies play an important part in the customer´s decision to buy, especially at Christmas time when people are buying presents for others. Now Sears, best known for its slogan, "Customer Satisfaction Guaranteed Or Your Money Back" is adding a 15% restocking fee on certain merchandise not returned in the original packages. Yesterday I assembled an end table with a built-in lamp that I had been given as a Christmas present. Had I not liked the results, or had a part been missing, I don´t think I would have ever been able to put everything back in the original package. I know I wouldn´t have liked finding out that I couldn´t get a full refund.
Every business has to make a decision about its own return policies. I know it´s especially troubling when a customer brings back a product and it´s been damaged due to customer abuse or negligence. However, there are ways to keep the customer as I discussed in an earlier post.
The bottom line is, I believe the customer is always right and your return policies should favor the customer as much as possible. I also believe that a lenient policy results in much more sales revenue than it does in merchandise markdowns.
Hmmm. I wonder if Sears will change its slogan to "Satisfaction Guaranteed or Most of Your Money Back."