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How do you get an exchange or a refund after a bad purchase

According to the Consumer Federation of America, out of the top ten consumer complaints in 2018, the third most common concern about retail was: "False advertising and other misleading practices, defective merchandise, discount issues, coupons, gift vouchers and gift cards, failure to act to deliver. ”

We all like to think that the retailers we buy are online or personal, reliable, fairly honest, and willing to respect their guarantees (as long as you pay attention to the small print). However, there are times when things go wrong: a package goes to the wrong address, a telephone arrives with one thing in the case, the new TV set turns out to be the wrong model.

Often you can easily solve the problem by contacting the seller. If it is clear that the problem is not your fault, most retailers will refund your money or provide you with a replacement. And sometimes, if it is an understandable error (you have clicked on model A2425A instead of model A2425B), they will take it into account.

If they are not? If you are trying to get satisfaction over the phone or in person and the employee you're talking to doesn't help, sometimes you just ask for a manager (who is less dependent on sales and who has more power to manage store policies) to make the difference).

If the problem doesn't kick up, then there are several strategies that you can try. Note that you don't have to try them one by one; you can contact several of these sources at the same time and see which one is responding.

Take the time to cool down

There is actually a law managed by the Federal Trade Commission that requires a three-day cooling-off period to cancel a sale. There are parties exceptions to this rule; they include sales under $ 25 that are made at your home and sales that are done entirely online (so omit everything you've purchased from Amazon, for example). But it's good to know about it, just in case.

Complaints in public via social media

Companies check the most important social media expressions for listings of their services or products. Sometimes a short summary of your complaint, to which the company's Twitter account name is added, will respond quickly.

Contact your local consumer protection office

Most states have consumer protection offices whose job it is to help with these problems; Some states also have different local offices. You can discover here what is available in your state.

Contact your Attorney General's office.

The National Association of Attorneys General has a page listing all current US state and territorial attorneys general in alphabetical order (according to the state or territory with which they are associated). If you click on the photo of your state's AG, it will lead to an information page with a link to their website. Click on the link and you should find a form where you can register consumer complaints, or an email address where you can send a description of your problem.

Contact the Better Business Bureau

The Better Business Bureau has traditionally been an important resource for consumers. Through the site you can check companies to see what complaints they have received in the past and you can register complaints yourself. According to the BBB website, it submits complaints within two business days; if the company does not respond within two weeks, it will resubmit the complaint. Consumers are notified of the company's response (if applicable).

Registering a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission

The FTC has an online "complaint assistant" that helps you through a series of questions in submitting your complaint to the appropriate agency.

Try a Small Claims Court

If all else fails, there is always a Small Claims Court. The amounts for which you can sue, and the rules for small claims court, vary from state to state. The do-it-yourself legal site Nolo.com has a good overview of what to consider and how to proceed. If the amount you sue exceeds the maximum allowed for small claims (which can range from $ 2500 to $ 25,000 depending on the state), then it might be time to consult a lawyer.

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