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Nook return issues show need to understand store return policies

Posted by Mitch Lipka  December 12, 2012 06:00 AM

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Q. I purchased a Nook Simple Touch with Glow Light in the Hingham store. I purchased it to use during recovery from scheduled surgery and I asked the cashier if it was possible to return it should I activate it post-surgery and decide it was not for me. He told me I had two weeks, so I tossed the receipt in the bag. I never even opened the bag, let alone the package, during the first two weeks post-surgery. Because I do not anticipate being able to use it, I have tried to return it and was told that because the return policy is two weeks, there’s nothing that can be done at the store. They suggested I contact corporate. I spent hours on hold, being passed from supervisor to supervisor. Emails I sent received only standard replies.

Linda Muldoon, Braintree

A. Because you’ve been trying so hard for so long to make this return, I figured the least I could do was ask the folks at Barnes & Noble if they would extend some consideration.

The result was a quick and happy ending.

“This has been resolved,” Barnes & Noble spokeswoman Mary Ellen Keating said. “We’re sending the customer a return label via email. She’s returning the device to us and we’ll issue her a gift card.”

She noted that the rules did have to be bent.

“We did learn from talking to the customer that she tried to return the device to our store past the 14 day return policy and she was refused,” Keating said. “We are very clear about our return policy, but given that she is a long-time customer and her medical situation, we’re making an exception.”

Since your goal was getting a merchandise credit, we can count this as a win for the consumer. But it was by no means a slam dunk. As noted, the receipt was clear about when a return should have been made and the company made an exception.

Indeed, as long as retailers are clear about return policies, they can make them whatever they feel like – including accepting no returns at all. So, good news this time, but a lesson for other consumers to pay attention to return policies. They’re the terms you’re agreeing to when you make your purchase.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
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About the author

Mitch Lipka is one of America's leading consumer journalists and advocates. He is an expert in product safety, recalls, scams, and helping consumers get out of jams. He is a nationally known consumer columnist and runs TheConsumerChronicle.com. He lives in Worcester. You can find him on Facebook or reach him at ConsumerNews@Aol.com

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