This is the time of year many people return unwanted gifts to the mall. But if it came from a mall kiosk, that may not be so easy.
Ashley Newberry was shopping before Christmas when she got a pitch from a salesman at a kiosk in the middle of a busy mall.
"This guy asked me if he could straighten my hair," Newberry said. "So I sat down, he straightened my hair, and I said, 'Wow, this is wonderful.' "
So she pulled out her credit card.
"He said it is buy-one-get-one-free for $200. So I bought one and gave the other to my friend as a gift," she said.
Wonders if iron she bought is the same as display models
But she says the Evalectric straightening iron she took home worked nothing like the demo model that was used on her hair in the mall.
"It just rips your hair, it rips it out. And it's hot to the touch down where you are supposed to hold it. It's too hot to hold," she said.
Newberry found more than two dozen similar complaints at the Better Business Bureau website from other women wondering if the model they bought was the same as the one demonstrated in the mall.
On Amazon, 40% of customers gave Evalectric flat irons a one-star review.
So she returned to the mall, but says the kiosk employee told her "no refunds."
"He removed his jacket to show me this little sign that says, 'no refund,' " she said.
If you buy a hair iron at CVS, Walgreens, Target or Walmart (which usually sell for less than $100), you typically have 30 days to return it and get your money back, as long as you have a receipt.
But that is often not the case with mall kiosks.
So we went to the mall and saw no sign about refunds, but the salesman told us the same thing.
"No, we do not have a refund on things that are final, final sales," the salesman said.
Only exchanges offered
We contacted the manufacturer, Evalectric, which told us Newberry can ship back the iron, saying "Evalectric hair tool products include a complimentary three-year warranty. If your hair tool ever has any defects, we will replace it."
But she would have to pay shipping and end up with another one just like the one she has. The company does not give refunds.
Meantime, Evalectric says the hair straighteners it sells are the exact same ones that its sales people demonstrate.
This should be a warning, however, before you purchase a shiny gadget from a mall kiosk. Find out what the return policy is because in some cases, there are no refunds, even for a defective product.
Also, by February, those kiosks are often gone with no way of contacting them. So be careful, so you don't waste your money.
Don't Waste Your Money" is a registered trademark of Scripps Media, Inc. ("Scripps").
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