Ever buy a holiday gift, change your mind, take it back and get hit with a whopper of a b.s. “restocking fee?”

When you return something immediately and it's unopened and unused, shouldn't it be illegal to charge money to walk it over to a shelf? It isn't, as Southern California resident Eric Rose found out recently.

Rose …

… is well known and liked among L.A. reporters; he specializes in political affairs and government relations as a partner at the communications and lobbying firm Englander, Knabe & Allen.

A $35 restocking fee from Verizon Wireless must have really pissed off this otherwise mild-mannered man, because he sent a statement about his experience to the L.A. press corps this week.

Verizon stuck it to the wrong white guy!

Eric Rose.; Credit: englanderpr.com

Eric Rose.; Credit: englanderpr.com

He says that after buying a phone from a Verizon store in Ventura County recently he decided to take it back, unopened.

Unbeknownst to him, among the fine print of the mobile-service papers he had to sign to buy the phone was language about the restocking fee. But Rose says he wasn't told of it verbally:

The restocking fee terms were not adequately disclosed to me and therefore I was not able to make an informed purchasing decision …

Americans are doing a significant amount of their holiday shopping … and it is important they be made fully aware of hidden fees and charges, such as the one that Verizon Wireless imposes for restocking.

He says store employees refused to waive the fee and that the situation was rectified only after he contacted Verizon's P.R. folks.

Rose wants to see a law that could prevent this kind of reaming in the future:

Lawmakers should pass legislation that requires proof that consumers are informed verbally about restocking fees and the fees should be based on real costs. Putting something unopened back on the shelf should not cost $35. Let's hope that Verizon Wireless and other companies will come to their senses and stop gouging consumers who are trying to make a simple return.


[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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