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Best Buy drops restocking fees

Don’t be afraid to return that TV; Best Buy won’t hurt you anymore. In a statement on its Website, the electronics retailer announced the termination restocking fees on all products in its stores. Historically, Best Buy has charged a 10-15 percent (of the purchase price) fee on returned items. The fee was meant to go toward “restocking” or the process involved in putting the item back on the store shelf or returning it to its manufacturer.

“Best Buy continually listens to our customers, and they told us they want to give confidently this holiday season and every other day of the year — and with that comes easier returns. Effective Saturday, December 18, Best Buy is improving its return policy by removing restocking fees for all products except special orders. Customers can visit BestBuy.com for further information,” said Carolyn Aberman of Best Buy.

The Consumerist got its hands on some internal emails flowing through corporate Best Buy inboxes:

“This policy change is being made because we want to be the best destination for gifts and technology,” said an internal email. “To do that we need to make it easy for our customers to return product when they need to, which will give them one more reason to love Best Buy…If customers who were charged a restocking fee between Nov. 17 and Dec. 17 come into the store for a refund, process a return transaction for the restocking fee amount.”

The sudden love for customers and change of heart? Well, sales at its retail stores are down while holiday spending online has risen. The move reminds me of Blockbuster’s early attempts to knock out better, faster movie rental competitors by eliminating late fees. Hopefully Best Buy will have better luck. With more and more media going digital though, the retailer has some major changes to make in the years to come.

If Best Buy really cared about customers, wouldn’t it extend a public plan to reimburse customers who have paid restocking fees this holiday? Or at least notify them?