December 20, 2010, 12:06 PM — No need to worry about buying the wrong GPS at Best Buy for your finicky uncle anymore, as the store has eliminated most return fees.
Best Buy had previously charged a 15% restocking fee for notebook computers, projectors, camcorders, digital cameras, radar detectors, GPS devices and in-car video systems. A 10% restocking fee applied in most cases for Apple's iPhone, but no longer.
A 25% restocking fee still applies for special order products.
"Best Buy continually listens to our customers," the retailer said in a statement, "and they told us they want to give confidently this holiday season and every other day of the year -- and with that comes easier returns."
According to Snopes.com, the 15% restocking fee had been dinging Best Buy's reputation since April 2008, when a chain letter ranting about the policy began to circulate. The fee was likely in place to discourage free "rentals" of expensive tech products and after-purchase price comparisons.
But last quarter, Best Buy posted lower earnings than expected as sales slumped in its U.S. stores. Competition from online retailers such as Amazon and other stores like Wal-Mart and Target cut into Best Buy's market share as they filled the void left by Circuit City.
Best Buy's return period is 14 days for computers, monitors, projectors, camcorders, digital cameras, tablets and radar detectors; and 30 days for everything else. Wireless carrier charges may still apply for mobile phones, and some items, such as software, movies, music and video games can only be returned for the same item.
Best Buy will have to get the word out fast if it wants the policy change to make a difference in holiday sales. But now that we're all in the know, are there any gadgets you're dying to try risk-free?