• New York Law Makes Refund Policies Clearer
  • November 11, 2009
  • Law Firm: Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP - Los Angeles Office
  • A new New York law governing customer refund policies will go into effect on November 25, 2009. The amendments to the statute require retailers to provide greater disclosure and ensure the conspicuous display of store refund policies. The law, which attempts to close several loopholes in the three-decade-old statute, also defines and addresses restocking and other fees that some retailers charge for returns.

    The new law:

    • Requires all merchants to affirmatively post their refund policies. The current exemption to the posting requirement for merchants who provide cash refunds for twenty days from the purchase date has been removed.
    • Permits customers to return any item for a full refund for up to thirty days from the date of purchase should the retailer fail to post the refund policy, as long as the buyer can verify the date of purchase with a receipt or any other purchase verification tool used by the merchant.
    • Requires retailers to make available upon request a written copy of the store’s refund policy and to disclose such availability on the refund policy signage.
    • Updates refund policy signage to provide consumers with advance notice if the return of any purchase is subject to any fees and the exact dollar or percentage amount of such fees. This includes disclosing restocking fees, which the bill defines as “any amount charged by a seller for accepting returned merchandise and paying a refund or credit.”

    Why it matters: These are important changes with an immediate, practical impact on refund practices and policies. All retailers with a New York location should review the new refund policy disclosure rules closely and ensure that they are in compliance when the changes go into effect on November 25.