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Old 14.08.2014, 01:57
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Returns - American style

So here I am doing some last minute shopping before we leave for Switzerland (extra pairs of shoes for the kids, that type of thing) and as I was walking the aisles of Target had a question that I am hoping someone can answer. One of the things us Americans take for granted is returns to a store. E.g. You are shopping sans kids to keep your sanity. You purchase two pairs of shoes (shirts, shorts, tea kettles, chairs, insert anything here related to daily life) with the intention of going home, checking with the kids/spouse/friend and then returning one. That is because in the US we have the luxury of being able to return unused items back at the store (often there is a restriction, thirty days, one week, unopened box whatever.) But the option is often there.

So...I was wondering what it is like in Switzerland and where else would I turn to for that advice but here? I did search the forum before writing this post and it looks like it depends on the store and item and that having the receipt is crucial (sometimes in the US they will look up your receipt if you have paid by CC).

Last edited by superbee; 14.08.2014 at 01:59. Reason: clarity
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Old 14.08.2014, 06:48
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Re: Returns - American style

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So here I am doing some last minute shopping before we leave for Switzerland (extra pairs of shoes for the kids, that type of thing) and as I was walking the aisles of Target had a question that I am hoping someone can answer. One of the things us Americans take for granted is returns to a store. E.g. You are shopping sans kids to keep your sanity. You purchase two pairs of shoes (shirts, shorts, tea kettles, chairs, insert anything here related to daily life) with the intention of going home, checking with the kids/spouse/friend and then returning one. That is because in the US we have the luxury of being able to return unused items back at the store (often there is a restriction, thirty days, one week, unopened box whatever.) But the option is often there.

So...I was wondering what it is like in Switzerland and where else would I turn to for that advice but here? I did search the forum before writing this post and it looks like it depends on the store and item and that having the receipt is crucial (sometimes in the US they will look up your receipt if you have paid by CC).
Check the bold part...you do that? I normally am quite informed about what I buy, before I buy it. If I buy anything on a whim, I might bring it back only then. Is it a luxury, to buy something, bag it, bring it home, have a discussion you could of had beforehand, if anyone needs it, then re bag it, hold it to the side, make a special trip to the store, stand in line, then return it? Sounds like a burden.

But, not trying to sound mean. To answer your question. Yes.

You can buy almost anything, not use it, and return it within a week in most cases. I bought a fish two years ago, that went off in a day, but I had to travel on the next. I didn't want it stinking up my fridge, so I triple bagged it, and stuck it on my balcony. When I returned several days later, I brought it back to Coop(Swiss chain of grocery stores). I told them the same story as I just told here, then cut the bag open so we could all reap the same rewards I did almost a week earlier.

Instant refund.

Normally this tactic is not needed to be applied.
I bought a travel book at Oerli Fussli in Zurich at their English book store. I asked, if I could return it, because I was on a tight time schedule, and not sure if the other half was going to like that I bought it in English. They told me I could return it, if it did not look if I had read it.

Such cute personnel.
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Old 14.08.2014, 07:12
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Re: Returns - American style

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But, not trying to sound mean. To answer your question. Yes.
Thank you for your response. I appreciate it. I didn't mean to say I do it often because I don't. Besides $ is tight, going to the store multiple times is not something I like to waste gas for nor do I have the time to do it between multiple jobs and kids. So I prefer to think through a purchase while I am at the store than to indiscriminately go on a purchasing spree. But, to be sure, it is a luxury that Americans have (and take for granted) that I haven't seen in many other parts of the world, certainly not in places I have lived in. So I was just curious as to culturally whether it was an acceptable thing to do in stores in Switzerland.

One of the directions my mind wandered/wondered while standing at the long checkout lane today. That's all
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Old 14.08.2014, 07:35
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Re: Returns - American style

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Thank you for your response. I appreciate it. I didn't mean to say I do it often because I don't. Besides $ is tight, going to the store multiple times is not something I like to waste gas for nor do I have the time to do it between multiple jobs and kids. So I prefer to think through a purchase while I am at the store than to indiscriminately go on a purchasing spree. But, to be sure, it is a luxury that Americans have (and take for granted) that I haven't seen in many other parts of the world, certainly not in places I have lived in. So I was just curious as to culturally whether it was an acceptable thing to do in stores in Switzerland.

One of the directions my mind wandered/wondered while standing at the long checkout lane today. That's all
It's always good to ask, rather then to assume. Now, if you want to make someone happy triple bag some corn syrup and meet me in Zurich.
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Old 14.08.2014, 10:50
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Re: Returns - American style

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I bought a fish two years ago, that went off in a day, but I had to travel on the next. I didn't want it stinking up my fridge, so I triple bagged it, and stuck it on my balcony. When I returned several days later, I brought it back to Coop(Swiss chain of grocery stores). I told them the same story as I just told here, then cut the bag open so we could all reap the same rewards I did almost a week earlier.

Instant refund.
Ha, I knew it had to be Coop... But, but....did you really do that? Bringing back the fish you have bought a few days earlier and "stored" it on your balcony?



OP,

You will not have any problem to return things, but it's good when they still have their price tags attached and of course, you also bring along the receipt. (if we talk about clothing items, shoes or other things in that area)
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Old 14.08.2014, 11:55
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Re: Returns - American style

Stores have no legal obligation to accept returns, but many will do so. They may however impose restrictions (original packaging, labels or whatever). Some may not return cash but give vouchers. So you are best off asking and not assuming anything.
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Old 14.08.2014, 11:57
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Re: Returns - American style

Yes you can return almost any item like in the US. however unlike the US, it is not very clear regarding the days by when you should return so if in doubt i feel better to ask when i buy something that i am not sure of. however receipts are required and it should not be used. also some stores do not give a cash/CC refund but gives a voucher which should be used within a period of time.

However there are sometimes items on sale that cannot be returned. 2-3 days back i got a pair of shoes (which was on sale for a reduced price) for my son but i was not sure if he would like it. When i billed it, the bill had the stamp saying "no returns or exchange". Thankfully my son liked it

Last edited by justswiss; 14.08.2014 at 12:07. Reason: forgot to add more details.
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Old 14.08.2014, 11:57
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Re: Returns - American style

Assume no, and be very very happy if they agree to
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Old 14.08.2014, 12:16
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Re: Returns - American style

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Assume no, and be very very happy if they agree to
Also, assume that if the said item does not work out of the box, is not as described on the box etc etc etc, you may not get a refund but may have to wait a few weeks for your 'new' item to be repaired or investigated.

It's a real nuisance if you've bought something for an imminent trip.
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Old 14.08.2014, 12:27
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Re: Returns - American style

There is no such thing as a general right to return purchased items. Stores are therefore in no way obliged to take back anything and may always refuse to do so.

However, some, I even want to say most, stores do allow returns on a goodwill basis, provided of course the item is unused, has the original tags on it, is in its original package and you bringt the receipt as to when it was bought with you. It is often unclear as to within what time period a return is still accepted, I would say 7-14 days is the norm, sometimes more.
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Old 14.08.2014, 12:30
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Re: Returns - American style

The online store here Zalando has a business model that is new for me.

My SO (apparently) goes fairly crazy ordering clothes from them with no intent of keeping them. When they arrive (a lot of the time she doesn't even remember ordering them), she trys them on, what she likes, she keeps, the rest: she contacts Zalando, and they send her postage-paid boxes to return the items free of charge.

I'm as guitly as the next for the North American styled: use-abuse-return-"customer is always right", but this even feels wrong to me
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Old 14.08.2014, 12:44
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Re: Returns - American style

Hi,

I've bought many things and returned them without any issues. They were definitely not food related items (that would never even cross my mind!), and at Migros, Fust, Coop, etc. Usually things that didn't fit. I would assume it would be OK if it's at a big chain, if the product is not on offer or sale, and unless there is a specific policy. Worth asking to be sure.

Actually, at Fust a few months ago (when we all thought summer would be long and hot and unbearable), we were looking at AC units. I asked about renting them for only a few months and was told that no you can't do that. An adjacent customer told me that his work bought one and just returned it within 30 days, then bought another and returned it again. Granted - this was a small startup and probably not the norm but still. I never did that but if anything I would guess that here in CH they're a bit more trusting in the US and I bet there are some funny loopholes...

Sara
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Old 14.08.2014, 13:11
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Re: Returns - American style

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The online store here Zalando has a business model that is new for me.

My SO (apparently) goes fairly crazy ordering clothes from them with no intent of keeping them. When they arrive (a lot of the time she doesn't even remember ordering them), she trys them on, what she likes, she keeps, the rest: she contacts Zalando, and they send her postage-paid boxes to return the items free of charge.

I'm as guitly as the next for the North American styled: use-abuse-return-"customer is always right", but this even feels wrong to me
Judging by the sheer quantity of Zalando-branded boxes you see piled up in Swiss Post vans, they must be doing something right.

My wife also buys a lot from Zalando and sends back what doesn't fit.

Companies with this business model normally have some sort of system in place to detect when a particular customer is taking advantage (i.e. wearing before returning or being over-enthusiastic with the ordering without actually buying much), and they can, and do, ban the customer from doing business with the company.
I've no idea whether Zalando does this though.
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Old 20.01.2015, 22:53
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Re: Returns - American style

Out of curiosity I looked up this old thread in regards to returns in Switzerland.

The store policies honestly do vary, which can be quite frustrating. Currently, I have almost 1000. Chf in products which were deemed unsuitable/ etc for Christmas presents..

One is Coupon for credit-Gutschein Einsiedeln Sports

The other is an expensive bathing suit from
http://www.boutique.eresparis.com/fr/home.aspx
Bought for daughter's New Year trip to Puerto Rico, but too small and they were closed over the entire holiday.

And Dockers men's slacks from
https://www.globus.ch/de/store/324/H...Airport-Center

The only store to give back cash was Globus...

Next year....Christmas Presents? Bah Humbug
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Old 20.01.2015, 23:37
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Re: Returns - American style

We've returned loads of stuff. Never any issues.

Various stores from Manor, COOP, H&M, InterDiscount to smaller local stores.. We don't take the piss, if we bought something that doesn't fit or is just wrong, it's unused, original item. No issues to return.

I think that if you assume that you are right, you demand a refund, you act like a demanding angry person, they'll tell you to fek right off .. But be nice, return for genuine reason and you won't have a problem.

**We occasionally buy 2 of something if the kids are not there, try both, take one back next time we're at the store.
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Old 20.01.2015, 23:44
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Re: Returns - American style

Digitec.ch charges a re-stocking fee.
Often, they try to persuade you into accepting a gift-voucher instead of cash - but apparently you can talk them into giving you your money back, if you're persistent enough.
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Old 21.01.2015, 10:10
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Re: Returns - American style

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We've returned loads of stuff. Never any issues.

Various stores from Manor, COOP, H&M, InterDiscount to smaller local stores.. We don't take the piss, if we bought something that doesn't fit or is just wrong, it's unused, original item. No issues to return.

I think that if you assume that you are right, you demand a refund, you act like a demanding angry person, they'll tell you to fek right off .. But be nice, return for genuine reason and you won't have a problem.

**We occasionally buy 2 of something if the kids are not there, try both, take one back next time we're at the store.

I imagine my problem is being TOO NICE, as I conjure up all kinds of problems I am causing them, as I ruin their sale and business.

Oh dear! I think I am hopeless.

Assertiveness training course???
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Old 22.01.2015, 11:10
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Re: Returns - American style

Mostly I have found the return policies to be very good here. Even for items you have used that 'broke'. Always ask the policy, ask for the warranty (many items for the house have a warranty), keep your receipts, and for big purchases get the salespersons name…in some cases I have gotten a better product. We just returned 1.5 year old bar stools to Interio that cracked. Had receipt, not a problem to replace. My 10 year old LeCrueset stock pot chipped on the bottom, they sent me a new model worth like 500ch. For clothes, if the tags are on, they are more likely to do an exchange for the right size rather than refund. So make sure you like the style before you buy…Most stores here are concerned about the quality, especially if it is suisse…The only problem I ever had was with Pfister. We ordered an area rug, next day we found something similar in IKEA at 1/3 price. So I actually went to the Pfister store to cancel the order. We had not even paid for it yet. But the staff at Pfister told me I could only cancel the order with the salesperson I made it with and he was on vacation! So I had to wait. The customer service told me they could not cancel the order themselves. So I asked them 'what if Mr Salesperson was hit by a bus, left the country. etc?' Could you help me cancel the order then? They just stared at me….only bad experience here. Everything else great!
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Old 22.01.2015, 11:16
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Re: Returns - American style

It would not even occur to me to buy 2 of something & send one back in such a lackadaisical manner. Carbon footprint notwithstanding, it just seems an odd way to function. Someones paying postage or petrol & that takes additional time.
I have ordered something from Zalando & sent it back as their womens sizings seem to correspond to Chinese 5 year olds but otherwise I had no intention of returning the items.
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Old 22.01.2015, 13:56
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Re: Returns - American style

Certainly Switzerland doesn't have an American-style culture of easy returns. But it's curious that Switzerland is moving toward that, just as America is dialing it back.

Back when we moved here in 1992, the concept of returning something was practically unheard of here. Now it's relatively common, especially with the big chains.

Meanwhile, in USA, generous return policies have seen such egregious abuse that companies are starting to restrict them a bit, beginning with requiring personal information for returns, so they can limit to so-and-so many returns per year, to stop "serial renters" who "buy" things and return them after their weekend camping trip or party is over. (No seriously... apparently air mattresses and cocktail dresses are among the most returned items.)
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