I ordered a leather jacket from Jos. A. Banks for Christmas, but returned it in the original box a week later.

Weeks went by, but I never got my refund. I emailed and called them several times, but no one responded. Finally, I emailed them that I was going to post the problem on Facebook, and then a gentleman called me, saying they would issue a refund.

He gave me a number to call, and I’ve called it six times, waiting 10 to 15 minutes each time with no answer. I sent another email today. No response. The amount I am due is $146. Please help!

- Patricia Kirkpatrick, Cedarburg, Wisc.

Dear Patricia:

The Fixer barely broke a sweat on this one. We got in touch with the PR guy for Men’s Wearhouse, the parent company for Jos. A. Banks, and their executive office hopped right on it. You got your 146 bucks back and can cross this off your list.

But we did feel your pain. Having to beg for your money after already sending back an item is, unfortunately, one of the hassles of the Internet Age.

What should have happened, according to Jos. A. Banks’ written returns policy, is that they would make a full refund for items returned within 90 days of purchase and accompanied by a receipt or packing slip. (After that, consumers can still get a refund, but only via store credit or store gift card.)

We asked what happened in your case, but didn’t get a response.

Human error, perhaps?

In general, consumers can help make sure a return goes smoothly by doing a few things, according to the Better Business Bureau:

  • Realize that unless an item is defective, returns are a privilege, not a right. Each store can set its own return policy, such as offering a full refund within a specified time period, offering store credit only or selling items as “all sales final” with no possibility of a refund.

  • Before you buy an electronics item or other expensive or custom-ordered product, find out if there’s a restocking fee to return it. Keep all the packaging it came with, in case it’s required to make a return.

  • If a product is defective and comes with a manufacturer’s warranty, read the warranty before trying to return the item to the store. Some of these warranties exempt stores from product liability and require the consumer to deal directly with the manufacturer to get their refund.

  • One last piece of advice: Don’t be a serial returner. Some stores have caught on to thieves who steal merchandise and attempt to return it for money – or cheapskates who practice “wardrobing” and return clothes or jewelry after wearing them to an event. Making too many returns within a short period of time could set off alarm bells and make it difficult for you to get a refund in the future.

Got a consumer problem? The ABC News Fixer may be able to help. Click here to submit your problem online. Letters are edited for length and clarity.

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Stephanie Zimmermann

Most people groan at the thought of spending hours on the phone with a customer service call center, but Stephanie Zimmermann relishes the chance to slice through red tape.

Before joining ABC News, Stephanie untangled consumer problems at the Chicago Sun-Times, where her popular column recovered more than $1.4 million in refunds, credits, and merchandise for consumers in the Windy City.

Stephanie, who lives in Chicago, has also worked at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, and has bachelor's and master's degrees from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. But most of all, Stephanie is a consumer who hates to see anyone else get ripped off.