The Consumer Affairs Assn. suggests that shoppers follow these guidelines for making gift purchases this holiday season:
RETURNS: Before making a purchase, ask the business what its return policy is. A store is at liberty to establish its own policies regarding cash refunds, exchanges, credits and layaways. The only circumstance under which a store is required to give a cash refund is for defective merchandise. Even then, the store first would have the option to repair or replace the item.
WARRANTIES: Ask what warranties cover the merchandise. There are different types of warranties for various products. However, all warranty documents must include:
A prominant title stating whether a warranty is "full" or "limited."
An explanation of warranty coverage.
A statement of warranty remedy.
An explanation of how a consumer can get warranty service.
If the item is not covered by a full or limited warranty, it is automatically covered by an implied warranty.
SERVICE CONTRACTS: Service contracts offer protection against defective merchandise, but cost money. Before purchasing a service contract the buyer should ask the following questions:
Who is offering the contract?
Where will the product be serviced?
What is the length of the service contract?
What exact repairs and maintenance will be received?
Does the contract begin when the product warranty ends?
For further information, contact Julia Pitner or Susan Gomez at Consumer Affairs Assn.