Read Answers to Questions: Shopping and Retail

Don't I have 3 days to cancel a sales contract?

May 13, 2019

Dear Consumer Ed:  We were recently talked into purchasing some expensive cookware following a very persuasive demonstration at a neighbor’s house.  We put a significant amount of money down and signed a contract to pay the rest. As soon as the cookware arrived, I realized I had made a mistake. I asked the company to let me send it back and get a refund, explaining that I had not even opened the boxes. They refused to give me a refund, claiming that I only had three days from the date I signed the contract to cancel the sale. Yet it took more than a week for them to deliver the cookware! The company refuses to take back the cookware.  What can I do?

Can a merchant charge a restocking fee if merchandise was defective?

March 19, 2019

Dear Consumer Ed:  I bought a fender for a 1969 Chevelle from a parts store. I got the correct part, but it is defective and won’t line up correctly with the side of the car.  When I went to return the part, the parts company charged me a restocking fee. Are they allowed to do that for a defective part?

Can grocery stores sell meat if package's vacuum seal is broken?

February 28, 2019

Dear Consumer Ed:  Can grocery stores sell meat in vacuum-sealed plastic packages if the seal is broken?  I’ve noticed several big name stores that will offer manager’s specials for such products, but I thought it was illegal to sell them if the vacuum seal is broken.

Cable company won't provide price breakdown

February 21, 2019

Dear Consumer Ed:  I am having difficulty getting a price list for all services and fees from my cable company. When I ask for this information they just try to sell me packages that include phone service I don’t want and equipment I don’t need. The website will not let me downgrade, only upgrade. What can I do?

Do I have to allow stores to search my bags?

October 15, 2018

Dear Consumer Ed:  Once I’ve been given a receipt for an in-store purchase, aren’t all of the items in the bags, loose in the cart, the receipt, and even the bags themselves my property? Do I have to allow them to search my property (look through the bags) before exiting the building? If I refuse, are they allowed to detain me?

Is store allowed to make and keep a copy of my credit card?

September 28, 2018

Dear Consumer Ed:  I went to a department store to purchase some merchandise. The total came to $318. I gave the cashier my credit card and was told that when a credit card purchase exceeds $250, the store needs to make a copy of the credit card and keep it on file for two weeks. I refused to allow them to copy my card and asked to speak to a manager about the reason for needing to copy my card. The manager simply told me that it was the store policy. To avoid having them keep a copy of my card, I split the purchase into two separate transactions. But I’m wondering, is it legal for a store to have such a policy?

Finding a reputable dog breeder

May 8, 2018

Dear Consumer Ed:  I want to get a Golden Retriever.  I looked online and found a dog breeder that is located about an hour away. They seem to be honorable, but how can I confirm that they are reputable before I proceed? 

I paid for merchandise that I never received

March 27, 2018

Dear Consumer Ed:  I purchased custom shirts that were supposed to be ready within two weeks.  It’s now six months later and still no shirts. Is it a crime to take money and not produce the goods that you sold? What can I do?     

Misleading free-trial period for mobile app

December 14, 2017

Dear Consumer Ed:  My child has an iPad, which I have set up so that he cannot download apps unless I approve them from my device.  I recently downloaded an app for him that implied there was a free one-year trial period.  After downloading the app, I got an email explaining that while the subscription was for a one-year period, the free trial only lasted 30 days.  I think that is very misleading.  The other issue I have with this offer is that when I signed up it said I could cancel the app before it automatically renewed, but that I would have to do so from my child’s device settings.  It seems reasonable to me that if I can approve the subscription from my device, I should be able to delete it from my device as well.  Are there rules or laws about these issues?

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