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Beware of company return policies when shopping online

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Posted: Monday, December 9, 2013 7:10 am

While Black Friday and Cyber Monday are gone, that doesn’t mean our holiday shopping is done.

And a lot of that shopping will be done online.

But even though you choose an item from a store’s website, you might be buying from a different business, with a different return policy.

Nancy Beuchel of Scottsdale went shopping online. She bought a new cord to attach a TV to her laptop.

It turns out it wasn’t the right cord.

Since she bought it from the Bestbuy.com website, Nancy tried to return the cord to a Best Buy store.

“When I walked in, they said, ‘Oh that’s a Marketplace item, we don’t take those here,’” she said.

Marketplace? Beuchel said no, she bought it on the Best Buy website. She says the logo on the receipt said Best Buy.

Turns out, while Beuchel did use Best Buy’s website, she bought the cord from a different company.

Two years ago, Best Buy started a Marketplace on its site.

Now, nearly 200 different businesses can sell their products, too.

Beuchel says she expected that from Amazon or eBay, but not a single-store website. And a different vendor means different return policies.

We looked up the cord Beuchel bought. It does state that it comes from a different company and the refund policy is listed.

Beuchel didn’t catch that. And she says she was told it’s too late to get her money back.

“I now have a $56 item that’s now a door stop for me. I have no purpose for it,” she said.

So, Beuchel let me know.

We contacted Best Buy’s corporate headquarters. This is their response:

“Our customers are advised at every step throughout the purchase process that they are ordering a product not sold by Best Buy and they need to contact the seller with any issues.”

But then we told them about Beuchel’s confusion and early attempts to return the cord, Best Buy agreed to a one-time exception to refund the money back to her.

And Best Buy was true to its word.

“I got my money back. Thank you.,” Beuchel said.

A big thanks to Best Buy for stepping up here and helping her out.

Again, Bestbuy.com does distinguish between its products and items from other businesses. But, it can still be confusing.

Make sure you look closely at whose selling the item.

If you choose one from a third-party vendor, remember to check out its return policy. It may not be the same as the website where you first started shopping.

• Joe Ducey is helping people like you everyday on ABC15 News at 6 p.m. If you have a consumer issue you can’t solve, “Let Joe Know” at joe@abc15.com or (855) 323-1515.

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