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Return protections on credit cards

Stop complaining about store return policies. They are what they are: the stores' policies. They can have any return policy they want, including none at all. There is no law requiring retailers to accept returns.

But if the store's not accepting returns, something else might: your credit card.

BankRate.com (www.bankrate.com) reported several credit card companies offer return protections that will refund an item's cost when when the retailer won't. 

MasterCard will refund up to $250 within 60 days of the purchase on many of its cards.

VISA will reimburse the cost of an item up to $250 within 90 days of its purchase, with a limit of $1,000 a year.

American Express will refund up to $300 on an item within 90 days, limit $1,000 a year.

Heads up, though. There are a few catches to credit card return protections:

* The items must be in either "like-new" or "good" condition, as determined by the credit card company. Yes, you will have to prove that. You will likely have to send the product to your credit card-issuer.

* The protections apply to items purchased with the card. You can't whip out your credit card with its trusty return protections on an item you didn't buy with the card.

* Sometimes, the protections are limited to specific purchases, like jewelry, books and DVD's. Check your card-issuer's agreement.

Some credit cards also offer purchase protections in case you spill coffee all over that laptop you just charged on your card. Some offer extended warranties on certain appliances and electronics purchased with them.

Again, for the details about what your card will cover, read your credit card-issuer's agreement.

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