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As complaints spike and more shopping is done online, Consumers are reminded to make holiday returns or exchanges as soon as possible

DECEMBER 11, 2020 – The Department of Consumer Protection is reminding consumers to be aware of return and exchange policies as they continue their holiday shopping this year.

Buyers should read the terms and conditions prior to submitting their order to understand their return and exchange rights, as well as the remedies available if a package is seriously delayed. Consumers should return unwanted gifts sooner than later to ensure the best outcome for their return or exchange.

This year, the department has received more than 1,100 complaints related to refunds, credits and exchanges. That’s almost 400 more complaints than the department received in 2019.

“With so many people shopping online this year, it’s especially important to be aware of return and exchange policies before you make your purchases,” said DCP Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull. “Whether you’re shopping for yourself or a loved one, make sure to keep your receipts, and ask for gift receipts when possible, as well as pay attention to the timeframe for returns on particular purchases.”

Here’s what consumers should know:

  • In Connecticut, sellers can set their own refund or exchange policies, provided they post the policy in a conspicuous place for customers to see.
    If there is no policy posted, you may return any new, unused item to the store with a proof of purchase within seven (7) calendar days, and get a cash refund on a cash sale or a credit to your account on a credit sale.
  • You are not entitled to a refund on:
    - Food
    - Perishable items, including live plants
    - Custom-ordered or custom-made items
    - Items that were sold “as is” or as a “final sale”
    - Items with no proof of purchase
    - Used items
  • Stores may charge a "restocking fee," which covers its cost for returning your unwanted item to its warehouse. If this restocking fee is part of the store's refund and exchange policy, it must be posted in a conspicuous place for customers to see.
  • Tax law affects refunds. Retailers cannot issue a refund on the sales tax portion of your purchase without having your printed sales receipt, and after 90 days, no refunds of sales tax are allowed at all, even with a receipt.

If consumers have issues with a return or exchange, they are encouraged to file a complaint with DCP by emailing, or by visiting

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Media Contact:
Kaitlyn Krasselt
(860) 713-6019 (office)
(860) 377-0246 (cell)