There’s some confusion about this so I wanted to take a moment to clear this up. defines “return” as used as a verb in regards to an object as follows:


–verb (used with object)

5. to put, bring, take, give, or send back to the original place, position, etc.: to return a book to a shelf; to return a child to her mother; to return the switch to off position.

I know this has provided some confusion so let me try to explain this. In the case of a sale, a return is a process by which a buyer “returns” an item to the seller. Using the definition above, this means that you would put, bring, give or send the item back to the original place or position. Since the original place or position is with the seller, you would send the item back to the seller.

A return does not, as common misconception has come to have it mean, that you get to keep the item you purchased and also get a full refund just because you complained. The very word return used in Return Policy means that you have to send the item back to the seller before you are due said refund.

Very tricky, I know, and certainly not as fun! But English does rule with this one so it’s an important distinction to remember.

That a seller has a Return Policy means simply that, once you have returned the item you purchased to them, only then are you due a refund. If you do not wish to return the item then, unfortunately, that does make the Return Policy rather invalid for you.

While we are clearing this up, let’s also take a look at the word “exchange.”

Common usage defines the word exchange as, you purchased an item, decided you no longer want it so you get to keep that original item and demand that the seller send you another, additional item from their store as an exchange.

But let’s see what has to say on the word exchange:


–verb (used with object)

1. to give up (something) for something else; part with for some equivalent; change for another.

Wow! The very first definition of the word! And what’s with that part about giving up or parting with something? Boo, right? I mean what’s the fun of that?

But unfortunately, that is the actual definition of exchange. If a seller offers an exchange policy, it means that you must send them back the original item and, in exchange, they will send you another item of equal or lesser value.

Just some crazy little known facts that you can share as quaint trivia with your buyers!