Not Paying Attention To The Return Policy May Cost You

return policy terms, returns and exchanges, parenting advice

My son purchased his own entry level gaming computer about a year ago, and has been steadily upgrading components ever since. It’s been a learning experience for him, as he learns what impact the pieces of his system has on overall performance. He’s also learned a bit about reselling his used parts to help fund his upgrades.

He scours the internet, looking for the best deals for the products he wants which are mainly things he reads about, or his friends already have. The latest upgrade was his mouse and mousepad. I’ve never seen a 12 inch x 12 inch mouse pad, but he was sure he needed it for gaming. I’ve also never heard of paying $75 for a gaming mouse that has all kinds of LED effects, but that’s what he wanted to spend his hard earned money on, so that’s what was delivered to our doorstep via UPS in early July.


Usually such a delivery would make for a very happy teenager, but this time the reaction wasn’t the same.

I could tell immediately he wasn’t happy with the product. The mouse was bigger than he expected, and didn’t fit comfortably in his hand. We had a discussion regarding this sort of thing is possible especially when you order products off the internet without being able to see them in person before purchase. The company had a two week return policy, and we were about to leave town for the 4th of July weekend so I told him we’d send it back when we returned.

Unfortunately, we didn’t read the fine print of the return policy.

The two week return policy was from the date of purchase. Between the shipping time, and the craziness of the July 4th weekend, by the time we were ready to box the mouse up we had already exceeded the two week return period.

I sent an email to the manufacturer explaining our situation, and asking if we could be granted an exception. Over a week went by with no response, so I could only assume that we were stuck with the mouse. My son said he’d use it until he found a buyer for it, then he’d replace it with the mouse he thought would be a better fit.

Yesterday, to my surprise, I received an email from the manufacturer indicating that they understood my position that the shipping time cut significantly into the return policy period. They apologized for the product not working out, and granted me a return invoice number to ship the mouse back to them for a full refund.

This experience has taught us both two things:

  1. When ordering off the internet (or shopping in a brick and mortar store for that matter), find out exactly what the return policy is.
  2. Even if you fall outside the guidelines of the return policy, always fight to be a satisfied customer. Companies rely on happy customers for word of mouth advertising and return business. This isn’t the first product my son has ordered from this company, and thanks to their understanding I would bet he’ll be more likely to order from them again. I know I would.

The return invoice number is actually good for 15 days. This gives us time to order and receive his new gaming mouse before we send the old one back.

That made for a very happy teenager.

Have you ever encountered a return policy snafu? Have you ever been able to return something outside the normal return policy window for a full refund?

About the author

Brock Kernin


  • Very good lesson to be learned, and hopefully checking the return policy will be an up front action item. I also wonder if, in this case, a more thorough check of the product (maybe through online reviews or the like) could have given a bit more information that would have potentially prevented the purchase from ever having taken place.

  • @James – I agree, not only is he learning a lot about how computers work, how the different components fit together, and doing upgrades, but he’s learning a lot of valuable lessons in finances such as saving up for new things, how to sell via craigslist and return policy nuances. A great learning tool all around!

  • @MoneyBeagle – Great suggestion…he did look at the size specs, but until he could actually physically hold it in his hand it was difficult to know whether it would be comfortable with it’s specific curvature, etc. Checking the return policy will hopefully be something we BOTH do more diligently in the future!

  • The return policies are never set in stone in retail. I used to work in a retail company and we’d allow returns after the cut off date as long as the person was polite and their was a good reason they couldn’t return it within the period. It’s great that the company was willing to return the mouse for you!

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