12/20/2010 04:35 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Best Buy Drops Most Restocking Fees: Other Merchants Offer Happy Returns

I have a Best Buy store in my neighborhood but I rarely shop there because, until last week, the company imposed a 15% restocking charge on many items. Instead, I would shop at, Costco or other online or local merchants with more user friendly return policies.

Well, just in time for Christmas, Best Buy announced that it has ended the restocking charge on "all products except special orders."

According to CNET News, the retailer will offer a refund on restocking fees to people who returned items after November 17th.

Like many merchants, Best Buy has an extended holiday returns policy allowing "qualified products" to be returned through January 31, 2011. Unfortunately, "Desktop, notebook, netbook, tablet computers" are among the products that don't qualify for the holiday gift return policy. The company is imposing a 25% restocking fee for most special order items. has a 30 day return policy on most items but is also extending holiday returns until January 31st. Unless the product is defective, the person sending it back pays the return shipping costs.

Walmart has a 90 return policy and, for the holidays, they start the clock on December 26, 2010.

Sears also has a 90-day return policy.