| Boycott Watch
has received emails from consumers who are upset because they made purchases
not realizing the products they were buying were items they were boycotting.
For example, a consumer who is participating in the French products boycott may
buy a sweater and then discover a Made in France label after taking the sweater
home and perhaps after wearing it for a day. In such cases, consumers may
attempt to return the item, only to encounter a restocking fee.
Restocking fees are common with commercial goods, but
consumers are sometimes surprised to encounter such fees because restocking
fees are generally not seen in retail stores. Restocking fees vary from company
to company, and people should be aware of the return policy of every company
they buy from, being a retail store, web site or any other vendor.
CompUSA, for example, has a prominent link on their
web site as well posts their policy in their stores. CompUSA accepts returns
within 14 days of purchase with the original receipt, and has an open box fee
of 15%. (Please the CompUSA policy for details.) Some retailers do not post
their policy as well as CompUSA, but that does not exempt consumers from the
Commercial products vendors such as
engraving equipment and supply manufacturer New Hermes, lists their restocking
fee as 20%, which applies to everything from lower priced engraving stock to
large engraving machines. As such, a $10,000 engraver would have a $2,000
restocking fee, something that would have a large financial impact to many
people if they return such equipment.
are in place because companies do encounter costs when you return a product
that is functioning. DOA (Dead On Arrival) returns are usually taken back with
no restocking fees by retailers, including companies such as CompUSA, but
commercial equipment purchases usually result in the replacement of the
non-functional part, and not a complete product return. This is because
commercial equipment is generally higher prices items, and sometimes parts can
go bad in shipping and re-assembly, even if the item tests 100% in the factory.
Such companies are usually very pleased to correct any issues you may have with
the functionality of their equipment.
music CD's, however, are not always returnable. This is because people can
install or make copies of the copy the CD, then use it long after the product
is returned. Most software and music publishers have sealed disks, and once you
break the seal, you own it and you can not return it. One notable exception to
that rule is Abacus Law, a recognized leader in law firm practice management
software that offers an unprecedented risk free, 100 day 100% unconditional
guarantee after you have paid for the software. Don't expect the Abacus Law
offer from other vendors - we know of no other such offer.
In at least one case, Boycott Watch has contacted
companies on behalf of consumers facing such issues, but if the vendor's policy
is clear and the vendor is action in good faith, there is not much we can do.
Boycott Watch has been able, however, to bring problems to the attention of
upper management to help resolve such issues. In many cases, companies will
work with you to resolve such problems, especially if you are a long time
In summary, it is important for everyone to
know exactly what you are buying. Ask questions to the sales staff and find out
the return policy before you purchase anything. Boycott Watch can help
consumers when it comes to such issues, but the consumers must be aware of the
sales and return policies before making any purchase.