December 13, 2010, 4:23 PM

Sen. Schumer calls for feds to investigate restocking fees for online goods

The New York senator wants retailers to disclose more about the fees.

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A U.S. senator has called on the Federal Trade Commission to pressure retailers to disclose fees charged consumers for returning products bought online.

Charles Schumer, a Democrat from New York, sent a letter to the FTC asking the agency to investigate what are commonly called restocking fees for returned goods.

“I urge you to investigate whether the failure to disclose restocking fees online could constitute a deceptive trade practice, and to take swift action to crack down on it,” the letter states. “Consumers deserve to know if these charges will apply prior to a purchase.”

The commission offered no comment.

Schumer says New York, Arizona, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and California have laws that require retailers to disclose restocking fees. He says fees can be as high as 25% of the purchase price.

“Americans are doing a significant amount of their holiday shopping online and it is important they be made aware of hidden fees and charges,” he says. “While more and more retailers are starting to charge restocking fees, the disclosure of these fees has hardly kept pace.”

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