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12/20/2010
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Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
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Best Buy Cancels Fees, Offers iPad Bundles

Best Buy's last-minute holiday sales include nixed restocking fees and free mobile hotspots with an iPad purchase.

Big box electronic retailer Best Buy has been showering consumers with sales and deals throughout the entire holiday shopping season. The two latest should tempt electronics seekers further.

First, Best Buy has eliminated the hated restocking fees for returned items. The 15% restocking fee used to apply to items such as computers, notebooks, tablets, iPads, projectors, camcorders, digital cameras, radar detectors, GPS navigation, in-car video systems, DJ equipment and lighting, or Pro-Audio equipment. The 10% restocking fee applied to mobile phones. Both fees are hereby waived.

In a statement, Best Buy said, "Best Buy continually listens to our customers, and they told us they want to give confidently this holiday season and every other day of the year -- and with that comes easier returns. Effective Saturday, December 18, Best Buy is improving its return policy by removing restocking fees for all products except special orders."

The Consumerist obtained an internal email sent from Best Buy corporate to stores, which explains some of the reasoning behind the dropped fees. Best Buy HQ wrote, "This policy change is being made because we want to be the best destination for gifts and technology. To do that we need to make it easy for our customers to return product when they need to, which will give them one more reason to love Best Buy. If customers who were charged a restocking fee between Nov. 17 and Dec. 17 come into the store for a refund, process a return transaction for the restocking fee amount."

In a separate promotion, Best Buy is also bundling the Apple iPad with a free mobile hotspot. Customers can choose mobile hotspot devices from AT&T, Sprint and Verizon Wireless. The retail value of the mobile hotspots is about $130.

The devices in question are a Novatel MiFi for AT&T or Verizon, or the Sierra Wireless Overdrive (WiMax) for Sprint. Sadly, no LTE-capable MiFi devices are available from Verizon Wireless yet.

The bundle does require a data plan, but hey, at least you're getting the hardware for free, right?

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