10 reasons to use your credit card-Part 4: return protection

It is almost the holiday shopping season, the merriest time of the year for all, and the most profitable time for the retail industry, and I’m sure each of us has our own shopping list for Thanksgiving and Christmas. And every year, millions of dollars’ worth of stuff is returned to stores right after the holidays. If you have a change of heart about a gift you bought and try to return the gift for a refund ….

Hopefully you don’t have to return a gift to the store, but if you do…

Most stores have a free return policy for a certain number of days from the date of purchase. The timeframe for full-refund return varies wildly from store to store.  Large stores usually offer more generous policies than small local stores; the number of days allowed typically ranges from 14 days to 1 year, and most of the time the item has to be unopened.

Well, if you use a credit card, say the Discover It, to buy something, you have at least 90 days to return it. If the merchant allows only 14 days, Discover will cover the next 76 days. If the item is opened but unused, the store may refuse to take it back; you can return it to Discover. Simply bring the item to the store within 90 days, and if the store refuses to take it back, you can file a claim with Discover, send the item to Discover’s provided address, and wait for the reimbursement.

As simple as that. And as usual, always keep the receipt.

I have found that Discover and American Express offer the most generous return protection policies; the refund limit for Discover is $500 while that for American Express is $300, per item. Visa and Mastercard cover up to $250 per item. Their phone numbers are provided below:

Discover: 1-800-347-0213

Amex: 1-800-297-8019

Visa: 1-888-565-8472

Mastercard: 1-800-622-7747

Hope this makes your holidays even happier!

-Richard

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