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Which online retailers offer the easiest returns?

Friday - 12/30/2011, 5:51am  ET

WASHINGTON -- While buying a gift online is convenient, that ease doesn't necessarily carry over when it comes to making an online return.

With that in mind, STELLA Service, which rates the consumer service of online businesses, tested the largest 25 online retailers to find out which company issued refunds the quickest and with the fewest hassles.

To conduct its survey, the company ordered and returned several items from each retailer to various parts of the country over the past few weeks. It says a customer's experience varies depending on where that customer lives.

Amazon topped the list as the business with the best return experience. Customers have 30 business days to return an unwanted item, and an average of 4.3 days passed before their money was refunded. Best Buy came in second, with a 30-day return window and 4.7-day refund gap. And L.L. Bean came in third, with 365 days allowed for returns and a 4.7-day wait for a refund.

STELLA Service also found that while some retailers blame the bank for slow refunds, refund speed has more to do with how quickly the company processes each return.

Here are the top 10 online retailers with the best refund experience, according to STELLA Service:

  • Amazon.com
  • Bestbuy.com
  • LLBean.com
  • Store.Apple.com
  • Williams-Sonoma.com
  • HSN.com
  • Newegg.com
  • Walmart.com
  • HPShopping.com
  • Sonystyle.com

Here's the full top 25 list.

WTOP's Dick Uliano contributed to this report. Follow WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)