Amazon may extend return policy with valid reason

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A Sun City West man says Amazon third-party sellers should make exceptions to strict deadlines on their return policies and provide refunds when mitigating circumstances exist but he's not having much luck.

If a seller on Amazon says 30 days for returns, you better believe they mean 30 days. A confusing item description that significantly impacts the buying decision may not be enough to get an exception, but you should ask for one anyway.

Chuck Causey wanted to buy a jewelry cabinet for his wife. He says he found four identical models on Amazon through 123stores that could be shipped immediately. Three stated "assembly required" so he paid $159 for the fourth one that didn't mention assembly.

"That the absence of 'assembly required,' to me, meant that it came assembled," Causey said.

Causey says he couldn't open the package himself due to a terminal health condition. He says it took a week for him to find someone to open it and discover it wasn't assembled and another three weeks to find someone to assemble it and discover it was damaged. He contacted Amazon for a refund.

"I had not contacted them within 30 days and there was nothing they could do. They weren't going to give me a refund, nothing," Causey said.

With his extremely poor health, Causey says he would never have bought something he had to put together. He again reminded 123stores and Amazon of the confusing info regarding assembly.

"There was nothing they could do because I had not contacted them within the 30-day window," Causey said.

Causey's learned there may be no exceptions to return policies through Amazon. Customers need to act within the 30-day time frame.

"It's very important because we've had a couple of months of frustration now," Causey said.

I asked Amazon to make an exception to the seller's return policy due to the "assembly" confusion. They agreed and took a number of actions. Amazon refunded Causey's $159, gave him a $200 Amazon gift card, and gave him a beautiful new jewelry cabinet, completely assembled - for free. CBS 5 News thanks Amazon for considering the special circumstances of this case and going far beyond what was fair in bringing this matter to a successful conclusion.

Open all shipments from Amazon right away and check for damage quickly. In general, the clock's ticking on your right to return.

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Dave CherryCBS 5 Advocate Dave Cherry works to resolve your consumer problems and protect your money. If he can't help, he'll do his best to point you in the right direction.

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Dave Cherry
CBS 5 Advocate

Dave was born and raised in Philadelphia and considers himself one of the biggest Philly sports fans. At 6-feet, 5-inches, he's probably right! Dave started on a different career path before fulfilling his lifelong dream of reporting the news and helping consumers. Dave graduated from Philadelphia University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting; he later earned an MBA degree in Finance from Temple University in Philadelphia. Dave also spent ten years as Vice President and Director of Sales and Marketing for two of America's leading real estate franchise companies. Dave started his 21-year news career at WHP in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, as news anchor and reporter, then moved to KOLD in Tucson, as the morning news anchor. From Tucson, he went to KRON in San Francisco as a freelance news reporter before moving east to COMCAST in Philadelphia as a general assignment reporter. In the fall of 2003, Dave moved west and joined KPNX in Phoenix and spent nine years as the station Call for Action Consumer Reporter. Through his on-air advocacy work in 2011, Dave and his team were able to help consumers save more than $1 million. Dave joined CBS 5 News as our CBS 5 Advocate in December 2012. Dave is a vegan and likes to eat the amazing vegan food prepared by his lovely wife, Carmen. Dave's also a big Bruce Springsteen fan (he's seen more than 70 shows!), the man who inspired him to learn the guitar. Besides playing many of the boss' songs, Dave writes and sings his own songs and recorded a CD of original music.

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