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Consumer Watch: Electronics ordered online can be picked up at exchanges worldwide

Nov. 18, 2012 - 01:48PM   |   Last Updated: Nov. 18, 2012 - 01:48PM  |  
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HOT HOLIDAY DEALS

Don’t forget to check the military exchanges when you comparison-shop for the best deals. Some specials the exchanges have on tap this season:
• Army and Air Force exchanges
Nov. 22 (Thanksgiving Day), online only

• Sharp 52-inch Aquos LED Smart TV, $999
• 7-inch, one-carat TDW black diamond bracelet, $99
• Free box spring with select Serta mattresses
Nov. 23 (Black Friday), in stores, starting at 4 a.m.
• $50 to $500 off Sony, LG and Samsung TVs
• HP Pavilion notebook, $289
• 50 percent off select misses’ regularly priced apparel from Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger, Ellen Tracy, Chaus Sport, Gloria Vanderbilt and Chaus Collection
Nov. 24, starting at 6 a.m.
• $500 off Sharp 60-inch Smart TV
• 25 percent off certain major appliances regularly priced at $499 or more
• 50 percent off Foster Grant, Total Shades and Pan Oceanic sunglasses
• Samsung 3D Smart TV Blu-ray player, $99.95
• 25 percent off all Dooney and Bourke handbags (from 8 to 10 a.m.)
Nov. 25
• Certain PS3, Xbox360, Wii and Nintendo 3DS games, $19.95
• Martha Stewart stainless steel 10-piece cookware set, $59.99
Nov. 26 (Cyber Monday), online deals
• Casio men’s Mudman watch, half price
• Barbie Fashion Design Artist Tote set, $14.95
• Sony Bravia 32-inch 720p LCD TV, $289
• Navy exchanges
Nov. 23 (Black Friday)
• 20 percent off handbags
• 20 percent off The North Face outerwear, apparel and accessories
• 20 percent off Columbia outerwear, apparel and accessories
• 20 percent off plus an additional 10 percent off diamond jewelry
• 20 percent off watches and sunglasses
• 25 percent off shoes
• 25 percent off electric blankets, throws and mattress pads

Just in time for the holidays, authorized exchange shoppers have a way to ship items containing lithium batteries overseas, such as computers, cameras, watches and other electronic products.

Customers can order these items online at www.shopmyexchange.com and arrange for them to be picked up at one of 36 exchanges in Afghanistan, Belgium, Germany, Guam, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Portugal, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

These items will be shipped by FedEx, so officials say shipping times will be much shorter than in the past. The policy that allows free shipping for items that cost more than $49 applies to these items, too.

As always, customers in all service branches are authorized to shop through this exchange online store.

The Army and Air Force Exchange Service has been working on a way to help troops and families get these items overseas since May, when the U.S. Postal Service banned the overseas shipment of lithium batteries and electronics that contain lithium batteries in accordance with international agreements.

About 80 products on the AAFES website qualify; they are marked with a "Lithium Ship to Store" logo that you can see once you click on the item.

As of this writing, officials were working to create a list of qualifying products for customers looking specifically for electronic items that can be shipped overseas, AAFES spokesman Chris Ward said.

After selecting the product to buy, shoppers choose the country and the exchange where they would like to pick up the item. A customer service associate at that overseas exchange will email the shopper when the order arrives, officials said.

Extended holiday gift returns

If you give a gift that doesn't fit the recipient's style, size or taste, you'll have more time to return it if you bought it at a military exchange. All the exchanges will accept items for refunds or exchanges through Jan. 31.

Marine Corps Exchange: Items bought from Nov. 1 to Dec. 24 qualify for the extended return deadline. Computers must be returned within 45 days from date of purchase.

Navy Exchange: Items bought from Oct. 28 to Dec. 24 qualify; applies to purchases made either at brick-and-mortar stores or through www.myNavyExchange.com. Customers should bring the receipt as well as any packaging materials. If there is no receipt, refunds will be placed on a Navy exchange gift card.

AAFES: Items bought from Nov. 1 to Dec. 24 qualify; applies to purchases made either at a brick-and-mortar store or through www.shopmyexchange.com. If there is no receipt, refunds will be placed on an exchange gift card.

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