Plan on returning some gifts this holiday? It may cost you up to 25 percent of the price of the item and, if it was purchased online, you may not have a clue about that "restocking fee."
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer wants the Federal Trade Commission to end that. He wants the FTC to determine if failing to disclose the restocking fee is a deceptive practice and to require retailers to prominently display that the fee will be charged.
"While an ever increasing number of retailers are starting to charge restocking fees, the disclosure of these fees has hardly kept pace," said Schumer, D-New York. "Customers have a right to know that when they make a purchase they could be held responsible for up to 25 percent of the original cost of the product if they choose to return it.
Schumer said a restocking fee is an important element for consumers to consider when choosing where to buy.
The FTC says it currently has no position on the issue, said spokeswoman Claudia Bourne Farrell.
Restocking fees are to compensate retailers for the examination and handling of returns. The fees range from 10 percent of the purchase price to $25 percent.
Notices of the fees from stores can be on the item, at checkout, or near the store's entrance.
New York's 2009 require requires stores to refund the restocking fee if the notice isn't well posted.
In his letter to the FTC, Schumer said he would help the agency gain the authority to regulate the practice, if legislation is needed.
"When you click that mouse to finalize your purchase, there should be no surprise that you might have to pay more to return the product than you did to buy it in the first place," Schumer said.