Boycott Watch
Boycotting Consumers Beware - Know what you are buying
August 25, 2003
   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 store policy.

   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.

   Restocking fees 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.

   Software and 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 customer.

   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.

E-Mail This Page to a Friend
Enter the recipient's e-mail address:

(Click here to return to top of page)
 ©2003 Boycott Watch