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Top 10 Consumer-Friendly Retail Store Company Policies To Take Advantage Of


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We’ve recently discussed some of the worst retail company policies out there. Hopefully this has helped you to avoid some holiday buzz kills. As a follow up, I want to review some of the best consumer deals around. Not only do these show the ways that companies can treat a customer well, but they might also help you to make some great last minute holiday purchases.

Some of these policies have to do with retail purchasing, while others are good to know before making your holiday travel plans. I consider myself to be a pretty savvy shopper, but even I was pretty surprised by some of these, especially in comparison to the “worst” list.

So here it goes, my top ten list of fantastic consumer policies you should know about as you make your final holiday purchases.

1. Walmart
This has got to be the best of the best. I think they call it the “no receipt, no problem” policy. At Walmart, you can return most items for a cash refund (applies to purchases under $25), or a gift card (for purchases over $25). You can also exchange items without a receipt. I am pleasantly surprised by this policy. The only catch is that if you have more than three returns without a receipt within a 45-day period, then you’ll need a manager’s approval for further returns.

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This travel website never charges a fee to cancel or modify a room reservation. However, you should still check the hotel’s reservation policy to be sure to avoid any penalties on that end.

3. Southwest Airlines
In my opinion, Southwest is tops when it comes to airline travel. As the commercials say, they allow two pieces of checked luggage per traveler at absolutely no charge.

4. L.L.Bean
Here’s another good one. L.L.Bean has a 100 percent product satisfaction guarantee. You can return anything, at anytime, for any reason. Now there’s a company that knows how to run a business!

5. Costco
Costco’s policy is similar to the one from L.L.Bean. Except, they sell just about everything under the sun, which makes this a very consumer-friendly deal. Costco has an open-ended return policy for virtually everything they sell. This excludes some home electronics, although those still come with a 30-day return window.

6. Orvis
Orvis customers can call a toll-free number and actually speak to a human being. If this doesn’t strike you as a big deal, the robots may already have won. Orvis also offers live Web chat, email inquiries, and a guaranteed response time of two hours or less.

7. Publix
You’ve got to love this one. I’m not sure if this deal applies to all stores or not, but at some Florida locations, you can get up to a 14-day supply of some of the most common generic prescriptions, free of charge. All you need is an existing prescription. And they also have offers for free medications for diabetics, too. Incredible, right? Inquire at your local Publix branch to be sure.

This company has built its brand on customer service. At Zappos, you always get free shipping, both ways, and free, 365-day returns. Returns are fast and simple. The company allows you to print your own UPS or USPS return slips or else request the delivery of a return slip in the mail.

9. U.S. Cellular
U.S. Cellular is a fairly unknown player in the cell phone industry. However, this wireless company actually gives its customers a reminder when they are about to exceed their monthly allotment of minutes. This is the sort of policy that helps a company earn my trust.

10. J&R
J&R is a very popular online shopping site. This electronics superstore has a great price match policy without many exclusions or obstacles. They also give customers thirty days to ask for a price adjustment on existing orders if they find the same item at a better price.

So, there you have it, my top ten retail policies that actually favor the customer. Show these companies they’re doing the right thing and take advantage of these deals when you can. Do you have other favorites? If you have uncovered any other enticing consumer policies, please share them below.

David started his own personal finance blog, YourFinances101, in June of 2009 and published his first book on ways to save more and spend less called "Don't Be A Mule..." Since then he has been a regular contributor for Money Crashers. He lives just outside Atlanta, GA and most all of his free time is taken up by his amazing three year old son, Nicholas.