I purchased a 42″ LCD TV for my parents this Christmas over at MicroCenter for about $1200. While at the store, I asked the sales guy if they offered shipping and he said that they only delivered locally. My parents live about 400 miles away so delivery wasn’t an option. I purchased the TV and brought it home and gave to my parents -new in the box. Unfortunately, the TV wouldn’t fit inside their SUV.

We figured we could fit the TV inside the car without the box so we opened it up and measured the dimensions of the TV itself and it wasn’t going to fit even without the box. After much debate and deliberation about swapping cars (it fit in mine), renting a u-haul, borrowing a truck we finally decided that the easiest thing to do was to return the TV, write my parents a check and have them buy a TV locally in their home town and have it delivered and setup.

I went over to Microcenter two days after the fiasco to return the TV, still new in the box never been setup, opened or otherwise used and Microcenter demanded I pay a 10% restocking fee. I felt like yelling at the clerk but she was very nice about it apologizing and pointing out in my receipt where it states that there is a 10% restocking fee for LCD TV returns. I argued that it was still new in the box and all I did was open it up to measure the dimensions but she said her hands were tied.

I ended up paying $120 restocking fee since the TV was for my parents and I had already purchased a similar one the year before at Microcenter. I won’t EVER set foot in that store again which is really unfortunate for Microcenter since I personally spent about $2500 a year there. Over the course of 10 years I would have spent $25,000 there but that business will end up elsewhere now.

Was Microcenter unfair about the whole thing? I honestly think so since the TV was totally brand new and my only “crime” was breaking the seal to measure the stupid TV and I took it back two days later. I understand why they would have such a policy because no doubt, their return policy has likely been abused by people trying to game the system or perhaps a few “freeloaders” wanting to have the TV for 30 days only to return it later for full refund.

It’s a free market economy and Microcenter can penalize it’s customers any way they want to but in this instance it’ll cost them at least $25,000 all over $120.