Dear Consumer Ed:

I purchased an iPad tablet, and it is not working correctly.  I want to return it, but there is a $70 restocking fee.  I have all the boxes it came in, and I was not told of the restocking fee before I purchased it.  Am I legally required to pay the restocking fee? I live in Douglasville, Georgia.

Consumer Ed says:

Georgia law allows retailers to set their own policies regarding refunds and exchanges, including those related to “restocking fees”.  These charges have become increasingly commonplace in today’s market, particularly when a return involves an electronic item.  Such fees can be related to the costs of repacking and reselling the item, and they also create an additional means of generating revenue. 

While the collection of these fees is permissible, the retailer should adequately disclose the existence of such charges.  If the store failed to disclose the “restocking fee”, you can contest the charge by negotiating with the business or consulting with an attorney. 

The best way to protect yourself in the future is to ensure you understand the store’s policies prior to purchasing a product.  Make sure to ask questions related to the store’s refund and exchange policy.  Always thoroughly read any posted policies prior to purchasing an item and review the receipt as soon as you complete your purchase. 

If you believe the store failed to adequately disclose “restocking fees”, you may submit a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission (www.ftc.gov) and to the Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection by visiting www.consumer.ga.gov or calling 404-651-8600 or 1-800-869-1123 (toll-free in Georgia, outside of the metro Atlanta calling area).

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