Refunds, Rebates, and Rainchecks

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When shopping for a gift, consumers should be aware of store policies with respect to refunds, rebates and rainchecks. The Division of Consumer Protection provides these tips to inform and empower consumers.

REFUNDS
A store is legally required to post their refund policy. If the store does not post any return policy, the law requires the store to accept your return within 30 days of purchase. There is no requirement under NYS law for a store to offer a refund in the form of cash, credit, replacement merchandise or other means. Retailers must provide a written copy of the store’s refund policies available and disclose any fees associated with the return.

REBATES
Any advertisement featuring a rebate must clearly (1) feature the actual selling price and advise that a mail-in rebate is required in order to achieve any advertised lower net rebate price; and (2) disclose to consumers how the rebate will be returned to the consumer, either by for example, check, gift card or credit towards future purchase; and, (3) whether the consumer will incur any additional fees redeeming such rebates.

RAINCHECKS
NYS law does not currently regulate the provision of rainchecks.

SUGGESTED STEPS TO TAKE & QUESTIONS TO ASK

  • Ask for a copy of the refund policy.
  • Ask if the store imposes a re-stocking fee for returned merchandise?
  • Ask if the merchandise has to be in a certain condition for the return to be accepted?
  • Save all receipts for purchases to allow for ease of returns.
  • Ask for details about the advertised rebate.
  • Does the store offer rainchecks? If yes, what are the terms and does it expire.
  • How does the store notify the customer when the product is available?
Note: Consumers should check with local consumer affairs authorities for additional protections in their jurisdictions.