What To Do When A Store Sells You Box Of Crap And Won't Take It Back

We get a lot of complaints about people buying things from stores like Best Buy and Target and finding that once they get them home — there’s a bunch of bathroom tiles in the box instead of the item, or that the item is used, broken or smashed. When they try to return the thing, the store tells them that they’re out of luck. When you ask why they think they can get away with selling you a paperweight instead of an XBOX, they point to some bullsh*t policy and send you on your way. You don’t have to put up with this. In this post, we’ll tell you a) How to keep this from happening to you in the first place. b) How to equip yourself with tools that will help you in the event that this does happen to you. c) How to take advantage of these tools so that you never get stuck with someone’s old broken PS3.

Part I: Preventing the old switcharoo.

You should always assume that the other customers are criminals and scammers, and the store’s employees are Al Capone. Why should you assume this? Because that’s what the store assumes about you. It’s nothing personal. It’s just business.

That’s why you should you always take the following steps when making a major purchase.

1) Pay with a major credit card that offers purchase protection and extended warranty protection.
You may not like credit cards. In fact, you may hate them. In that case, consider a charge card. For the small annual fee, a charge card will offer you many of the same warranty protections that Best Buy and it’s ilk are trying to sell you. If you eventually enter into a dispute with the store, it pays to have someone on your side. Do you think Best Buy is going to argue with itself on your behalf just because you bought a warranty from them?

2) Open the box before you leave the store and inspect the item. If you find old phone books or a severed head instead of your new laptop, it will be easier for everyone if the store knows that there’s no possibility that you were the scammer/decapitator. Otherwise, they will assume that you are the guilty party and no amount of arguing will convince them otherwise.

3) Check to make sure the serial number on the item matches the serial number on your receipt. If it doesn’t, the store will assume that you are the one who switched the item. Again, do this before you leave the store so there can be no question about it.

Part II: Self-Defense Tools

Credit Cards: Buy large purchases with a major credit card or charge card that has “Purchase Assurance,” “Purchase Protection” and “Extended Warranty Protection.” Purchase Protection is usually a 90-day window in which loss from accidental damage and theft are covered by your credit card company, provided that you paid for the item with the card. Extended Warranty Protection extends the manufacturer’s warranty. These are both good things to have.

Paperwork: Keep your receipts. You’re probably saying “duuuuuuh,” but that’s only because you don’t read our tipline. Buy a folder. Get a magic marker and write RECEIPTS on it. Put your receipts in it. Put the folder in a safe place.

Camera: If you have a camera, take pictures of whatever goes wrong. Lots of pictures.

Part III: How to take advantage of these tools so that you never get stuck with a pile of crap.

Now, let’s say that for some reason or other you’ve still managed to get yourself into a pickle. You’ve bought a box full of bathroom tiles from Best Buy and they’re refusing to take it back.

1) Document everything. Take photographs of everything, save all the paperwork.

2) Contact your credit card company and report the fraud. Selling people boxes of bathroom tiles, or used, broken piles of crap instead of the real product is fraud. Fraud, fraud, fraud. It is not OK to sell fake stuff just because you are a multinational corporation and have a policy that says it’s not your fault. “Policies” do not supersede laws.

3) Consider reporting the incident to your state’s attorney general and/or department of consumer affairs. You may also want to inform the local police. It’s possible that whomever put a ringer in your box is committing some sort of systematic retail fraud, and your report may help the police to catch them.

If you’ve followed these steps, your credit card company should be able to issue a chargeback. That’s what happened with the real bathroom tile guy. There’s no reason why you should be any different.

Epilogue:

If all else fails, or you find yourself in a situation not covered here, consider small claims court. Small claims court can help you force a company to uphold a warranty, and they can help you recover damages if you’re unwittingly sold a used, defective, or broken product. Here’s a success story from one of our readers who sued Best Buy over a defective washer. Best Buy said it was their policy that they were not responsible for selling a broken washer because the consumer didn’t pay for their delivery service, but thankfully for our reader, policies aren’t laws.

Comments

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  1. Andon says:

    “thankfully for our reader, policies aren’t laws.

    One of the best lines I’ve read on this site. So true.

  2. David M says:

    I bought a cheap desk chair from Best Buy while in college. The box seemed heavier than it should be so I opened it up in the store and instead of a $35 chair there was a $500 Sony HTIB. I went to the customer service desk and told them about it and the employee seemed really pissed – first claiming that I had switched them.

    1) why would I switch a cheaper item with a more expensive item and then try to return it
    2) how could I have Houdini’d this right in the store with cameras and what orifice could I have smuggled a 5.1 HTIB in?

    So I returned the purchase and haven’t really set foot in Best Buy since unless there is a great bargain on a DVD or something. Methinks the employee I reported it to was the person that put that stereo in there and was probably planning to buy himself a “desk chair” that day.

  3. wiggatron says:

    I’d even go one step further and open the package before making the purchase (if possible). Video game consoles can easily be opened without disturbing the packaging. If they’re not on the sales floor (like at places like T’r’U), then maybe ask the employee behind the counter to make a quick visual inspection while you look on.

  4. Jesse says:

    I had a friend once who did stuff like this with software. Essentially he would:

    1) Buy the item
    2) Carefully cut the box down the seam with an Xacto knife (preserves the box seal)
    3) Take the CD & Key (if applicable) out
    4) Replace with a Chumbawumba CD or other suitable replacement.
    5) Reseal with Elmers glue
    6) Take item back for a full refund.

    The retailer probably assumed it was an unopened product and put it back on the shelf. Then when unsuspecting Joe Customer went to buy that item, they got a big surprise and more than likely get the tampering blame.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      @Jesse: This is the whole reason nintendo instituted the 5-star screws on all its cartridge games.
      People would purchase a cheap-ass game, Rent a more expensive one, switch the inner circuit boards and return the rental with the cheap game inside.

    • AgentTuttle says:

      @Jesse: “I had a friend once who did stuff like this with software.”

      Your friend is a scum bag.

      • Jesse says:

        @pixelslave:

        He and I have been good buddies for over 10 years, ever since the 8th grade. He is quite the SOB at times, primarily when it comes to things he sees as victimless crimes (e.g., downloading pirated software, taking advantage of liberal return policies). But overall he has always been a good person.

        Although, I do agree, it’s people like him why return policies are becoming stricter with the everyday consumer suffering.

        • crashfrog says:

          @Jesse: He is quite the SOB at times, primarily when it comes to things he sees as victimless crimes

          He’s clearly operating from a funny definition of “victimless”.

        • Conformist138 says:

          My best friend and I have been really close since 8th grade (over 10 years, like you and your friend), and you know what I do if she even thinks about doing something dishonest? I tell her she’s being a dishonest bitch. We’re friends and, to me, that gives us greater responsibilities to call each other out if we try to get away with something sneaky. Friends don’t let friends act like douche-bags. If I had a “friend” try that trick (especially habitually), I’d try to turn them in. It’s not mean to turn in a friend if they’re really committing that kind of fraud. The “it’s bad for everyone involved, but we’ve been friends a long time” excuse just doesn’t cut it. Of course, strangers shouldn’t have to tell you this- you should have friends who can mirror your conscience, not ones who think they can arbitrarily decide what crimes are and are not okay (obviously, i’m not talking about unjust laws and civil protests to change them). He’s a thief, pure and simple.

  5. Or.. get a membership at Costco. The price of membership can be seen as paying for a lifetime warranty on most products. For computers, TVs, iPods, and digi cameras, you get a 90 day tryout/return period and a free 2 year extended warranty. The only question asked when returning items is “Do you know when you bought this?”

  6. thrashanddestroy says:

    You forgot the last step;

    Should all else fail and you find yourself lacking backup from the credit card companies, vandalism and destruction of private property is fully encouraged on any grounds owned by Best Buy, Circuit City or WalMart.

    Of course, this might very from state to state. Municipalities and such, tricky stuff.

  7. DarrenO says:

    I echo the Costo sentiment. We have had to return a few items of the hundreds we’ve bought from them and they’re always happy to take the merchandise back. Customer service is absolutely stellar there.

    But on this story everyone that buys anything that could have possibly been opened before should open it up to check it in the store. That way you avoid this kind of stuff. I know a lot of people HATE to look at it from the store’s point of view, but there ARE “customers” that just want to screw the store by scamming them with returns. As someone said, if the store thinks the product was unopened they normally WON’T open it to check to see what is in the box. That’s so they can still sell the product at it’s full price as new instead of making it an open-box piece.

    So I say it’s a two way street, the store has to protect it’s assets and it also have to try and provide customer service. If I was in charge I’d have a hard time giving someone their $2000 back if they say bought a laptop and came back to say “it was a phone book inside.” It would be a free for all and people would use that to screw the stores over and over again.

    It’s an inconvenience but it’s not THAT hard to open the box and look inside while standing at the register. The minute you pay for the item it’s yours, so open it up and make sure it’s there when you have the store employee watching.

  8. mdoublej says:

    I’m afraid I may have started this trend in the early nineties. I worked at a software store with a shrink wrap machine, and realized nobody questions a sealed return. I feel a little bad about it now, but I was a poor college student then.

    • wiggatron says:

      @mdoublej: Hardly. I’m pretty sure it was retailers like Gamestop/EB/Babbage’s that starting the re-shrink-wrap-and-sell-as-new fad. One employee even told me that he would take brand new games home to play for a week or so, then bring ‘em back and re-shrink ‘em. He even said that he would put the games in the wrong cases by accident sometimes, leaving the customer to sort his own mess.

      • mdoublej says:

        @wiggatron:Yeah, I worked at one of the places you mentioned and we were actually encouraged to take home software so we could be more informed when we talked to the customers. When we brought it back, it was of course resealed and put back on the shelf. Fast Hack’em for the C-64 ruled!

      • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

        @wiggatron: Yes, as employees you are allowed to borrow games, and yes we had a shrink wrap machine in the back.

    • gmoney says:

      @mdoublej:

      “I was a poor excuse for a college student then”

      fixed.

      Man there are some sorry folks out there.

      • mdoublej says:

        @gmoney: Whatever…college kids are stealing CD’s today without leaving their dorm room, at least I used a little ingenuity. Not saying either is right, but I did grow up.

        • Consumerist-Moderator-Roz says:

          @mdoublej: Advocating theft is beyond the pale, and you’re trying to start a fight. Knock it off.

          • verazula says:

            @Consumerist-Moderator-Roz: No one was trying to start a fight, he was simply making a modern day comparison between his physical theft and the rampant virtual theft that goes on today in every dorm room in the country.

            The discussion was long over.

            /Sarcasm

    • Norislolz says:

      @mdoublej: Nothing like qualifying your scumbaggery with “I HAD LESS MONEY THAN OTHERS SO IT WAS JUSTIFIED.”

    • coolkiwilivin says:

      @mdoublej: Well then, contact the companies you stole from and offer to make restitution. Yes you should have not stolen but now that you’re older and more mature doesn’t mean you can’t take responsibility for your actions and pay back those you stole from.

      • @coolkiwilivin: We have all made mistakes. Am I to assume then that you have gone back in your life an attempted to make retribution for all of your wrong doings. Mote…..eye…….whatnot.

      • TheGreenMnM says:

        @coolkiwilivin: I can see it now… I walk into Wal-Mart, the location of a “poor choice” I made back in my college days, walk up to customer service and say “I’d like to give restitution for an incident over 20 years ago.” They would look at me as a dog looks at you when they hear a strange noise, head cocked to one side. Or, something I hadn’t considered until writing this… money goes in said confused person’s wallet. I think I’ll take my lessons learned and move on, thanks =)

      • phonebem says:

        The problem is that they’d thank you for reporting yourself and promptly call the authorities to charge you with shoplifting. Much the same way they treat people who find they accidentally didn’t pay for something at checkout and return to pay (I’ve read reports on this).

  9. astrovaquero says:

    DON’T just consider reporting it to the AG of your state. DO REPORT, and as SOON as you find out about the fraud. Take it from an attorney (State of Texas) that a report to a governmental entity will be an exception to hearsay, and thus be admissible in a court of law, and will show your state of mind, that you were in fact defrauded. It is extremely valuable evidence on your side, and as an attorney, that is what I would like to see. It increases your chances of winning ten-fold. So ALWAYS report fraud to your state’s Attorney General.

  10. evslin says:

    Part IV: Don’t take an Xacto knife to the seal and replace the movie you just bought with Pat Boone’s “In a Metal Mood”, don’t buy a second Playstation 3 and return your old, broken one in the new box saying you didn’t want it after all, etc.

    If those items make it back onto the shelf for somebody else to buy, then congratulations – you’ve helped perpetuate this issue and you should be ashamed of yourself.

    • crackblind says:

      @evslin: Hey, I like “In a Metal Mood”!

    • DrLumen says:

      There are some companies that do this with returned items. More than once I have returned something to a certain retailer (pronounced Fry’s) that I know are defective only for them to put a sticker on it, reseal the box and put it back on the floor.

      To say the least, I don’t go there much any more and certainly don’t buy anything that has a sticker. Microcenter is just as near and the prices aren’t that much different.

  11. timmus says:

    DON’T just consider reporting it to the AG of your state. DO REPORT, and as SOON as you find out about the fraud.

    Don’t just consider reporting it to the AG of your state.
    Do consider reporting it to the AG of your state.

    ???

  12. bagumpity says:

    If you bought the product from big-name stores, you can always try again at another store of the same brand. Not every returns manager is a paranoid psychopathic nazi war criminal. Some are even decent folk. Just don’t tell the jerk who won’t cooperate that you’re going to the other store. He’ll call ahead and rat you out.

    It’s not nice, but I’ve exchanged items without a receipt using the following method: Take faulty item to store & try to return. If that fails, put faulty item in car then buy another of same item. Go back to car, put new (hopefully not faulty) item in car, take out faulty item. Go back in store and return faulty item using new receipt. This only works if you simply want a working version of them item, not a refund. Also, items with serial numbers can be a pain if the serial number is listed on the receipt. Most returns clerks don’t check, though. Obviously, you only need to do this if the store requires a receipt for a simple one-to-one exchange. Some don’t.

    • Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

      @bagumpity:

      Go back in store and return faulty item using new receipt. This only works if you simply want a working version of them item, not a refund.

      Not necessarily – once you’ve gotten the exchange with the new receipt, you can simply return the nice, shiny, unopened new one at another store using the original receipt.

      • bagumpity says:

        Me:
        Go back in store and return faulty item using new receipt. This only works if you simply want a working
        version of them item, not a refund.

        @TinyBug:
        Not necessarily – once you’ve gotten the exchange with the new receipt, you can simply return the nice, shiny, unopened new one at another store using the original receipt.

        Good point- I forgot the fact that the returns clerk usually gives you another receipt. I suppose there’s nothing stopping you from going back and returning the working item with that receipt.

  13. blackmage439 says:

    So, does anyone have a list of cards with these warranty protections embedded? And please include “Gold” “Platinum” “Visa Select” or whatever level of the card is.

    • legalguy says:

      Just read that fine print in your card literature. You should always read ALL fine print of everything anyway.

  14. bagano says:

    well i sure am glad i live in the uk!

    • wiggatron says:

      @bagano: Why? What benefit (in this context, of course) is bestowed upon you by simply living outside the U.S.? Do people not steal in the UK?

      • Anonymous says:

        @wiggatron:

        I think bagano is saying that in the UK legally it is the shop were you purchase it froms problem. Here in the UK they may try and pass it on to the manufacturer but its a very weak attempt. Furthermore legally in the uk any electrical item purchased over £100 is covered for 6 years, and why extended warranties in the uk are useless. If you do purchase an extended warranty you are legally taking it out of the hands of the shop and is a lot harder fight.

  15. relax_guy says:

    this happened to me at a best buy and they took back the broken mp3 player without any problem at all.

  16. RenRen says:

    Squeaky wheels get the grease. Be as squeaky as possible, threaten lawsuits, reports to the police AND the media, and, if necessary, refuse to leave until you are given satisfaction. Or you can do what I did and call your friends at the local health department for a spot inspection of their occupational health and safety requirements.

    Revenge is best served with a side of pleasure.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      @RenRen: That doesn’t always work. Remember the Target that sent the squeaky old woman to the hospital then banned her from the store?

      • highmodulus says:

        @Oranges w/ Cheese: I do remember that Target can’t do that, only the police. Yet people keep posting that stuff without thinking about what they are saying. Target can’t gave you institutionalized for your own safety no matter how kooky you are. That would be the boys in blue with the guns, badges and authority of the law.

        And now you know- and knowing is half the battle!

  17. dalvenjah says:

    Here’s one case where you can use the receipt checker to your advantage. If you buy something that might be subject to this, stop at the receipt checker and insist that they watch you open the box to make sure it contains what the receipt does.

    Pedantic, perhaps, but you figure a) the area’s covered by some kind of camera, and b) this way the store can’t try to claim you took the item and replaced it with bricks.

  18. relax_guy says:

    oh sorry it was a used broken mp3 player with 5 gigs of chinese language music.

  19. Confuzius says:

    I bought an open box Radeon X800XL that turned out the be a Radeon 9200 in the box. Took it back to Future Shop, After some complaining I managed to get them to switch it for another open box X800XL and checked it in the store with them. They didn’t believe me but persistence paid off.

  20. chipsndip says:

    I worked at Wal-Mart back in college – more than once we got “returns” of computers or game consoles that when opened contained a brick (no, like a REAL brick) or some other weighted item instead of the actual electronics. We had to gripe at the returns desk for a long time before they learned they had to actually open and check the returns they got back.

    I also had a friend who bought a sealed CD, and when he opened it the CD inside didn’t match the cover. He took it back to the store, who treated him like a criminal – a few days later it hit the news that the manufacturing plant had messed up a run and put the wrong disc in over 10k copies of this particular CD…

    • revmatty says:

      @chipsndip: The cd issue has gotten a lot better over the years, but I ran a record store in the late 80’s/early 90’s and at least a couple of times a year we’d get a run of Kenny G discs (for example) that had the Kenny G packaging, the disc said Kenny G, and when you put it in the actual content of the disc was Duran Duran or Sepultura or something.

      • HogwartsAlum says:

        @revmatty:
        That happened to me with an 80s compilation CD I bought at Best Buy; I forgot about it for a couple of months, and when I opened it and put it in the stereo, it was some jazz thing. It was labeled with the 80s songs, just like on the cover, but the content was wrong.

        I had lost my receipt so I just mailed it back to the manufacturer. Never heard from them but since the disc was really cheap it was no big deal.

    • rekoil says:

      @chipsndip: Was the CD inside actually labeled differently? I had this happen once, except that the label was correct, but the music on the CD was the wrong album…that was much easier to argue (“Does this sound like Nine Inch Nails to you?”).

    • doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

      @chipsndip: Actually, back in the day, we got a CD of Little Feat (Let It Roll) which was not only in a Van Hagar 5150 jewel case, but had the silkscreen factory printing on the CD from the VH CD !!! I believe my bud still has it.

    • econobiker says:

      @chipsndip: My ex-wife’s semi-stupid female cousin purchased a sewing machine at Wal-Mart. She gets it home, opens it, and discovers bricks inside of the styrofoam packing clamshell. She got all amped up about getting arrested trying to return it. We told her that she wasn’t the thief. She couldn’t understand why someone would steal a sewing machine until I educated her in how the person could have fenced the nearly new machine at a pawn shop, flea market or ebay for half the retail price of the machine.

      That said, I recently purchased a small window a/c unit at Wal-Mart when our main apt unit crapped out. The checker was required to take down the unit’s serial number from the box. Plus all of the boxes were securely wrapped with heat sealed white plastic bands. I think they did this to specifically deal with this type of shrink- if the A/C is returned as “new” the serial number has to match to the receipt and the box willprobably will be inspected by opening if the bands are removed but the box is still “sealed”.

  21. temporaryerror says:

    I bought a DVD at walmart out of the bargain bin one time and when I got it home and opened it there was nothing inside. I took it back to complain and they were quite understanding… I just wanted a straight exchange. When I went to look, every single copy of the movie in question was gone. I think that in that case, perhaps it was a factory error…

  22. Haltingpoint says:

    Wow, talk about timely. I recently purchased a new VisionTek ATI Radeon HD 2400 graphics card from the Best Buy on Clark near Diversey in Chicago since my old card was fried. Long story short, it didn’t work, I had to buy adapters, etc. When I spoke with VisionTek’s tech support, the techie and I realized that the card was actually a 2600, NOT the 2400 that the box says it should be, and it looked to be a busted one at that.

    I returned it to Best Buy and after waiting 10 minutes while the guy lost my original receipt without moving 2 feet (surprise, turned out it was the receipt I kept pointing to that he kept saying wasn’t it), I went to go see if I could get an actual 2400 card. According to Best Buy, the only way to actually open the box and check the card was to open it, so I did so and we checked and voila, another 2600 card, probably also busted. A couple others were 2600’s as well, and fortunately I found one actual 2400 in the lot.

    I then told them that this looks like an inventory problem and the MANAGER tells me, and I quote: “it’s not our problem, its VisionTek’s.”

    After pausing for a moment at the sheer stupidity of his statement I replied, “You are selling incorrectly packaged and likely non-functional product on your shelves–it IS your problem.”

    End of the day I got my card replaced and it worked on my machine, but only after having spent over an hour dealing with moronic Best Buy employees. They got some real “special” people working there.

  23. Marshfield says:

    I bought a desktop from Best Buy a couple yrs ago, and decided to return it within 10 days or whatever it was. They had to unbox it, turn it on, and be sure it hadn’t been stripped in the meantime.

    I guess it would be reasonable to unbox and turn on any computer you buy from them before you leave the store too…..

  24. UnicornMaster says:

    @Meg Marco: Are you seriously suggesting we open everything before we leave the store? I’d hate to be behind you at the exit of an IKEA.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      @DeanOfAllTrades: I think you can trust IKEA though. After all, most of their boxes are pretty obviously the object you are intending to purchase.

    • Landru says:

      @DeanOfAllTrades: You obviously haven’t bought a cabinet at Ikea and come up short on parts.

    • Mephron says:

      I bought a lamp at Ikea. When I got to the car, I checked it; the glass lampshade was broken into dozens of pieces. I took it back in, and they checked before letting me take the replacement out.

      So yeah, there are times I would check before departing an Ikea.

  25. Panamapeter says:

    In Panama most stores open boxes and check the contents, If it is electric they turn it on to make sure it works. It is hard to buy light bulbs, they check to make sure each one works. Time consuming, but never a box of rocks.

    • Parapraxis says:

      @revmatty:

      I don’t think anyone would complain…

      “God Damn, Kenny’s new song ‘Notorious’ fucking ROCKS!”

      “Where’s the soprano sax solo?”

  26. marsneedsrabbits says:

    Because of stories here, we started implementing this several months ago. The first major purchase after the spate “rocks in the box” stories we made was a Wii. We asked to open the box before purchase to match serial numbers and the clerk (at Wal*Mart) said he understood and was completely happy to do it.

    Since then, we’ve bought a digital SLR and several other things, and have always asked to have the box opened before purchase and have always been accommodated.

    So far, it hasn’t been a problem, but we have an agreement that if we can’t see the item, we don’t buy it.

  27. temporaryerror says:

    Another thing that I just thought of…even back in the early 90’s there was a site that talked about how to upgrade a slow modem to a fast one for free. (back when even a 28.8 was REALLY expensive). Buy a fast one, swap the board with your slow one and return it.

    So, this kinda thing has been advocated on the net for at least 10-15 years…

  28. mrm514 says:

    When I worked at Best Buy, I exchanged a GPS unit for a customer that was actually a bar of soap for a brand new unit, with no hassle.

  29. highmodulus says:

    4) Never ever, ever buy anything from Best Buy, Circuit City or WalMart; or games/systems from Gamestop.

    Remember, Newegg and Amazon for the win.

    If you are posting here, and still buying products from them- the problem may be in the mirror.

    • IAmMarchHare says:

      @highmodulus: Am I really the only one here that hasn’t had problems with Circuit City? OK, maybe not the best prices in town, but I’ve always gotten good service. And, yes, I have returned stuff before.

      • Aladdyn says:

        @IAmMarchHare: If im going to buy something at the big box I always go with circuit city if possible, where i live they are far better than best buy. I would assume they just got lucky and have a good manager.

      • HogwartsAlum says:

        @IAmMarchHare:
        No, you’re not the only one. I’ve not had to return anything (so far) and I’ve always gotten stellar service from our CC.

    • Brunette Bookworm says:

      @highmodulus: Honestly, I have never had a problem at any of these stores when buying any electronics. It just depends on the store. If I want something and don’t want to deal with waiting for it to ship/trying to ship it somewhere I can get it that’s secure, I’ll buy from these stores. (Well, not Wal-mart, but that’s for other reasons.)

      Of course, I’m also a pack-rat and keep receipts forever so I never really have any issues returning anything.

  30. Xerloq says:

    I would recommend opening the boxes BEFORE purchasing it especially on non-returnable items like software, music, and movies.

    I do this in any store that keeps inventory on the floor. (I even did it with some shrink wrapped stuff). I’ve been confronted by the drones at the stores asking what I was doing “ruining” their merchandise. I explain I want to see what it looks like and see what’s included.

    On the flipside, I remember working at Sears (12 years ago, when sales people wore suits to work) and would take back stuff like this all the time. Our manager thought it better to take the hit and keep customers happy rather than piss them off. We’d take back the merchandise, write it off or RTV it.

    Besides, that is why stores ask for addresses and phone at POS and ID on returns. We actually caught some people who liked to slip bags of rice into car-stereo head unit boxes – they had a good scam going doing so – until LP cross referenced the returns and caught them.

  31. Eoghann says:

    I feel a little bad about it now, but I was a poor college student then.

    And you wonder why nobody trusts poor college students.

  32. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    When I worked at a retail videogame/software store, we usually gave the customer the benefit of the doubt for switch-a-roo situations. Unless it was an obvious scam, or repeat offender.

    But yeah, as a consumer, I’ve learned to inspect the packaging carefully for any tampering. And I compare the weight/feel of a box with other boxes on the shelves. And if I’m still not sure, then I open the box before leaving the store.

  33. mike says:

    I’m a huge believer in opening the box before leaving.

  34. mariospants says:

    I think you should include an additional tip: CHECK THE DAMN BOX FOR THESE SYMPTOMS:

    - finger prints on the box UNDER the shrink-wrap
    - tape of any kind is a dead give-away (just this weekend, I got screwed over because one of the foundation joists my dad bought for me at Home Depot was missing several parts – and of course it was the ONLY box with tape holding it closed).
    - dented or frayed edges of the box tabs are also dead giveaways
    - the quality of non-factory shrink wrapping is usually not the same as home-made

    Anyway, whatever happened to the tamper-proof seal? We need some of those on electronics boxes…

  35. dveight says:

    I recalled once when I bought a pci-e to esata card from MicroCenter. Picked it up at the store. The CSR brought it from the back and started to ring up the order. I noticed the box wasn’t what it was suppose to be, so I opened the box AT THE COUNTER IN FRONT OF THE CSR. Not only was the box the wrong box, but the item in the box wasn’t what I had ordered and it wasn’t even what the box said it was.

    Informed the CSR who looked at me like a deer caught in some headlights, and then had to call a manager to refund the sale. It was a joke that he couldn’t refund that order himself when it was blatant that it was the wrong item.

    So, yeah, I try to open items up at the stores now before I leave.

  36. Trai_Dep says:

    Part III 1b)
    Photocopy or scan your receipt, in case, while arguing your virtuous righteousness with the store’s staff, they “misplace” your receipt.

  37. 4ster says:

    I bought a camera from Staples on Labor Day, and not only did the manager get the camera out of lock-up, he inspected himself before handing it to the cashier.

    It was weird for me to get an unsealed box, but no rocks. It looked like the manufacturer had intentionally done this, expecting for it to be inspected in the store.

  38. CountryJustice says:

    A quick tip about keeping receipts:

    A lot of stores print receipts on slick, glossy paper. Sometimes it’s thermal paper (so no ink is used…the print is actually burned in) and sometimes it’s just cheap crappy paper. Either way, the print on these receipts rarely lasts very long. If you’re interested in keeping these records for any length of time beyond the return period, you should scan/photocopy them immediately. Photocopies/digital files will last exponentially longer should you ever need to refer to them in the future.

  39. mariospants says:

    0h, snd shake the box and listen to it. That *might* give away a re-pack.

  40. scienceclub says:

    I recently returned some unopened software to Wal-mart (BC), and had a very satisfactory experience.

    The gal behind the counter carefully eyed the transparent wafer seals on the box. The box was a little beat up, but the seals were still in place.

    She announced “this has been opened”.

    I countered with “no, it hasn’t been opened. It is sealed. I bought it as a gift for my dad, and he already had it”.

    It was very tough to tell. The transparent dot ran across a flap seam, and she was trying to spot a little cut line. She was determined to find it.

    I stood my ground. Eventually she gave up and wordlessly delivered my cash refund.

  41. biikman says:

    Bought a new canon digital camera at walmart the other day. The sales clerk (who was actually very nice and well informed..a rarity?!?!) opened the box in front of me, showed me each item to verify they were there and still sealed in plastic, and then initialed the inside of the box. I assumed it was because of the pretty lenient return policy on cameras, 30 days with receipt with no restock fee.

  42. TrevorYYC says:

    I recently had this experience at a Canadian Future Shop, the first manager I talked to was just an asshole about it and treated me like a criminal, said there was nothing they could do and that I should consider taking my business elsewhere.

    I took it to a different store and it was replaced on the spot.

    It was explained to me that there is so much pressure on managers to reduce theft and fraud that they have just taken to ignoring it because they will be potentially hauled on the carpet for anything they report.

    The manager would have to report on why my return was unsalable and couldn’t be returned to the manufacture and if they had approved the original return in the first place they were basically turning themselves in for fucking up.

    So I now too insist on opening the package in the store, which got me some serious attitude from a manager at Staples

  43. bitgod says:

    Yeah, the one time I ran into this, bought a 2nd Xbox 1 from BB, got home, looked mostly ok, but I noticed a smudge here and there, didn’t really think anything of it. Until I popped in Halo and found user data already on the HD. Looking at it closer, it looks like they swapped the serial number label on the bottom of the unit, one corner was peeling up a little. I took it back, wasn’t a hassle to return it. Was just a little pissed that BB just restocks returns and puts them on the floor. At least with Fry’s, there’s a label on it so you know what’s been returned.

  44. Costermonger says:

    @RenRen, great post

    That’s the only tactic that ever seems to win, make a big hairy deal about it, these big faceless companies with poorly trained staff never seem to give two cents about how a loyal repeat customers have suddenly come across, if they can cheat you over with their store policy: they will.

    The only way to act is like a pissed off… severely dissatisfied customer. If other people in the store notice you, see how upset you are, then they either think you are just a rude jerk or they think something is really wrong and will likely go into an gentler environment where people don’t seem to be as upset.

    Don’t swear, don’t insult, but take a couple steps back and yell “is there anyone in this store who ‘can’ help me” chances are they will give you a number to call… don’t leave the store, ask for a phone… stay there for as long as it takes (or as long as you think it is worth it) until you get what’s yours.

    You cost them business, then they take notice.

  45. pixelslave says:

    >> Shouldn’t we reward companies with good customer service records by shopping with them instead?

    Why, because in these days, companies with good customer service won’t survive for too long. Let’s just break these cases down. There’s no reason to believe that it’s Best Buy’s corporate policy to systematically pack sh*t into a box and sell to its customer. Therefore junks like these must be:

    a) Done by an employee
    b) Done by a customer, return the item to the company, but the staff doesn’t spot them

    In any case, if you lose the battle at last, then you lose your money. But if you end up getting your money back, the company lose money. So, in your perspective, a “GOOD SERVICE” company will favor the customer every time. What’s the result of its “GOOD SERVICE” — it has higher cost. One way or another, it will have to cut its cost, or raise prices. If it cut its cost, it may (a) lower its employee’s salary, ie, higher less skillful employee; (b) follow the policy of those “BAD SERVICE” company, etc. If it raises prices of its good, it will lose out customers to its competitor. Whatever it chooses, this company will end up being a loser.

    So, where are those “GOOD SERVICE” companies go? Yes, they go broke.

    If you want to curse someone, curse people like Jesse’s friend first. It’s people like him who drives the good guys out from the market, and turns some potentially good guys into bad guys.

    • corkdork says:

      @pixelslave: Actually, I work for a major wine and liquor retailer who has pretty much the most liberal return policy you’ll ever find (if someone returns an item we sell, we’ll take it back, even if we can’t possibly resell it).

      In the past year, we had a problem with some returns (1 person returned water in a vodka bottle, for example, and 1 person returned a bottle that smelled like it was filled with cider vinegar, not wine, despite claiming to have opened it that night). Did we take a hit in those two instances? Yep, to the tune of about $30 ($20-ish for the vodka, $10-ish for the wine; of course, that’s the retail price, our actual loss was about 2/3 that). However, there’s the good press generated by being the store that is willing to take returns and not fuss about it (our two main competitors are asses about returns, even in cases where there’s an obvious problem — a corked bottle, for example). So, we figure we get more profit from the policy than it costs; the extra sales make up for the occasional return.

      Gotta remember the benefit of a consumer-friendly policy; a company can shortsightedly improve their bottom line by being a pain in the butt to their customers, but where there’s options, customers will tend to go to the company that treats them best. And that means profit for the retailer.

  46. Micromegas says:

    I once purchased a Gameboy Advance game from Circuit City, and unfortunately for me I decided to open it once I got to my car rather than in the store. The box was still sealed in its original factory packaging, but there was no game cartridge inside. I suspect someone from the store took the cartridge and then used the store’s shrinkwrap machine to reseal the package.

    Anyway, believe it or not I actually managed to get a refund. I was expecting the customer service worker to call me a thief (it’s what I would have done if I was in her position) but she let me get a refund with almost no hassle.

  47. sjkang says:

    I opened a box for a DVD player once at the counter to ensure that there was a DVD player inside. The kid at the counter flipped out and called his manager over. It turned out, they didn’t have problem with me opening the box up to verify it’s contents. They just had issues with the fact I used my four inch tactical folding knife and that I opened it in a “threatening manner.”

  48. TheGreenMnM says:

    I don’t see how anything mdoublej said could be construed as encouraging theft or trying to start a fight. Isn’t there a show on TV now about former burglars that break into people’s houses and then show the owners how they did it? None of us are saints… sorry to inform if you thought otherwise. It’s just a fact. We’ve all done things we aren’t proud of, but we have to LEARN from those experiences and SHARE them in order for others to learn.

    mdoublej, I respect your honesty and trying to help those who may not be in “the know” about what people are capable of.

  49. orielbean says:

    The game consoles, at least xbox and I think ps3, will have the actual SN exposed through a box window, so you can match them up with the outside of the box to prevent this issue. Always open in the store!

  50. thekingb says:

    A lot of this might not be the retailer or their employees. Quite a bit of package handling happens from the time it leaves the retailer’s dock to when it arrives on your front door. or from their warehouse to their loading docks. A lot of handlers and supervisors at UPS and FedEx and DHL aren’t really the cream of the crop – a couple handlers and supervisors at a major UPS hub can easily run a scam.

  51. Charles McPhate says:

    I was in the market for a mini stepper recently. I went to the local target and liked the one they displayed, but they only had one in stock. I opened the box and could tell it was obviously a return – didn’t even have the plastic wrap the items comes in. I refused to buy it and instead bought one online.

    I don’t mind buying a used item – as long as I know I’m buying a used item. On major purchases at the big-box retailers, I always check the box before I buy to make sure I’m not paying the new price for a used item.

  52. YashwantOpossum says:

    It may not get your money back, but contact the manufacturer of the
    swapped product (the name/address/phone) on the box. Try and get
    someone in Accounts Receivable, Quality or Senior Management of
    Customer Service via phone or better mail. Let the know what you
    thought you purchased (include UPC code/model number), where you
    purchased it, and when you purchased it.

    When Target or Best Buy or Wal Mart get the return the first time,
    they charge their supplier with a return and then often put it back on
    the shelf. They profit from it twice – once from the supplier with
    the return charge (at cost) and once from the person who buys it a
    second time with junk in the box (at full price).

    If nothing else you may trigger an audit by the supplier that will put
    pressure on the retailer.

  53. flipx says:

    I get my 82 year old granny to return items She loves fighting for an injustice and can out curse and swear the best sailor in the navy. She just gets plan pis*ed at store managers that come across as idiots.Comes down to Don’t Fu*K with an old person as they will rip out your guts and stomp on them and that is before lunch, she could be Dirty Harries side kick God do I love that woman.

  54. travisbean says:

    @ DarrenO and a few others… While I agree we should all take the steps to protect ourselves, as a consumer I have the right to assume what is on the outside of the box is what’s inside.

    Lets not forget the onus is on the company to ensure they have a rock solid return process. The should never put anything out on the floor without confirming the contents, and they should never take a return without examining the contents with the returnee present!

  55. fonetek says:

    And you thought bricks in boxes was only found on 42nd street in Manhattan. Here tourist.. Here’s a $1000.00 camcorder for $200.00. How many tourists actually fell for it. You are now the proud owner of a $200.00 brick. Apparently sounds like the Best Buy business model.

    • econobiker says:

      @fonetek: That is a good one! That is the old “new stereo speakers” in a box being sold out of a white van at the gas station/rest stop by someone desperately needing the money or claiming to have made a five finger deal on the speaker set. This is the best way to spend $50, $100, etc on a couple of concrete blocks.

      I do wonder if this is less now that people use debit cards more often and have less cash on them.

  56. Kounji says:

    Cool. I know now what to do. Thanks Consumerist ( I am not the op just someone who is worried about this)

  57. SpoiledGirlieGirl says:

    My friends are sometimes amazed at what I am able to get for free from places like AT&T and Directv by just asking for things. Especially when they screw up. But one thing I have learned and one thing I do every time I call anywhere is write everything they say down. I have a notebook (replace when filled) that I grab when I call anywhere. I write down everything. Who I talked to, how they are going to fix it, what they are going to give me, time, dates…everything. Even things we joke about during the call. If I haven’t gotten what I wanted or I don’t notice a fix on the next bill I have that handy dandy notebook.

    You’ll be amazed at the power you have when you say I spoke with so and so at this time and they said this and this and this. They don’t expect people to be prepared or remember who they talked to.

  58. Xavoc says:

    I purchased a hard drive @ Best Buy one time, and even though I had been an employee in good standing w/ the company for years prior to the purchase, the manager called me a thief to my face. I contacted the manufacturer and they took care of it… Including billing Best Buy for their loss.

  59. Degolicious says:

    Just a little FYI about returning video games/DVD’s/CD’s or other software titles that most stores won’t accept once they have been opened. This happened to my roomate in college and we found an easy loop hole that doesn’t screw the consumer or the retailer (this is assuming the consumer isn’t making illegal copies of the media before it’s returned)

    Anyway, my roomate purchased a crappy PC game at BB and took it home and tried to install it, but the game wouldn’t work on his computer (may have been a video card issue, i don’t know). He took the game back to BB and tried to return it, but they told him they don’t accept returns on opened media. He tried explaining to them his situation but to no avail. He came home and told me about his problem because he was pretty upset (college students have no money, so every little bit counts).

    After a minute or so of talking to him, I glanced at the game box and suddenly figured out an easy solution. We went back to BB the next day and walked in. Every time you enter BB or any other big name retailer with a return item, they slap a little return price tag on it. Instead of walking over to the returns counter, we just headed over to the software area and casually switched the return price tag with the new price tag on an unopened copy of the game sitting on the shelf. Then we took the new, unopened game with the return price tag on it over to returns and my roomate got his $40 back just like that.

  60. Mecki says:

    It’s always interesting to see how consumer laws are different across the world. Though these tips probably apply more or less to all countries in the world. To protect online shoppers of such an experience, there exists a law in Germany, that allows you turn back any item you bought online 14 days after the purchase for any reason you like or for no reason at all. Every online store must take it back. The big controversial subject is who pays the shipping fees for returning the item. The law originally stated that the consumer pays for items below 40 Euro and the store for all items more expensive than 40 Euro.

    When you buy things offline in Germany, you can’t automatically turn them back, e.g. in case you don’t like them, though most stores will take them back within 14 days anyway (on a goodwill basis). However, if the product is broken, not as advertised or not the product you wanted to buy, you can always turn it back, the consumer laws demand so and no store policy can do anything about that. It’s up to the store to give you the money back or make sure you get a product that is working, exactly as advertised and exactly the product you wanted to buy (you can’t demand to get the money back – only if they can’t provide you with such an item). Still, good tips, even for German shoppers, as if the store refuses to take it back, you may have to sue them and if you bought offline, the burden of proof is usually at the customer (for online shopping, the burden of proof is usually always at the store).

  61. Bgrngod says:

    I am getting the run around right now with Capcom and Fry’s Electronics because the Resident Evil 4 Wii Edition game I bought had no disk in it. The part that is going to screw me over is that I bought the game several months ago (over 90 days) and didn’t actually take the plastic off and open it until last sunday. So naturally they are assuming I am scamming them.

    It’s now a $20 game. Why the hell would I risk getting arrested over a $20? They haven’t even taken into consideration the fact that I buy stuff there on almost a weekly basis.

    Good times.

  62. TheUncleBob says:

    So… what does a store do when a customer comes in claiming they purchased a PS3 box full of bathroom tiles when the store knows there’s absolutely, positively no way it happened?

    When I sold photo equipment, I used to open up the box so the customer could check out the exact item they were about to purchase (after they played with the demo, of course). I had one guy throw a fit that he didn’t want an item with a broken seal.

    Interestingly enough, that particular model didn’t have a seal. ;)

  63. rellog says:

    A few months back, I bought UPS for my computer at Staples. Since I had a $25 gift card that I was unable to use (there are no stores within my area, and Staples won’t take the GC online) I waited until I visited friends in a city about 60 minutes away. I bought the UPS from the clearance self, but it looked sealed. Well, a few weeks later, I decided to install it. I opened it up and it was not only not the correct UPS, but it was non-functioning as well. Since some time had elapsed and I couldn’t find my receipt… and I wasn’t going to drive a minimum of 45 minutes one way to the closest store, I figured I was just SOL. I finally found the receipt and plan an EECB to see if I can get my money back…

  64. galactus5000 says:

    Many a year ago, I bought a Toad the Wet Sproket CD while I was in Canada. It took 6 weeks to travel back to Aus with a CD that I couldn’t play (my CD walkman decided to crap out that morning), and when I got home, I found out it was a mislabeled Foreigner CD. I wrote WB Music, and lo and behold I got a new CD within a week – not quite a box of rocks, but still proof that speaking up works.

  65. Nyle says:

    Really great article and information.

    One last thing that I’ve found that helps is to compare the shrink wrap on the items on the shelf. If one has different shrink wrap, it’s likely a return at best or “crap in a box” at worst.

    It’s still a good idea to check the contents but checking this can reduce the chance that you’ll have to even deal with a “box of crap”. ;^)

  66. Segador says:

    btw, attempting to pry open a product in the store BEFORE you purchase it is a great way to meet store security and/or get kickbanned from coming in. Not a great idea.

  67. Atriel says:

    Well, in the case of a company losing money, it would be cheaper in the long run to just inspect returns when returned and take down personal information (preferably from a driver’s license or I.D.) at the time or return. Also, spot checks are something a lot of companies are supposed to perform, where a stock manager goes and opens a select number of products upon receipt of merchandise from a supplier and insures that the products are in working order. This doesn’t insure that every product received works, but it at least cuts down on fraud by employee’s.

    Spot checks should be performed more than once, but trying to get a company like Best Buy or Target who get’s such large orders to do that is kind of hard, especially considering that mos t of them are connected to warehouses where they store things, and merchandise is moved around by fork-lift.

    I want to point out, I have never stolen anything from a store in my life, and it’s rather insulting to be called a thief for returning something that I did not tamper with/break. I’ve had a couple of companies (Creative comes to mind) who wanted me to pay a replacement fee, even though the product I bought from Walmart was faulty, and had a mass recall because it was defective. I’ve since then decided that if I buy something and it’s faulty, I’ll take it to a repair shop and have someone certified verify that it’s the companies mistake, not mine. Also very good advice when buying electronics.

    And as far as UPS, FedEx, and DHL are concerned, I’d always make them wait while I open what i bought. I’ve known some people who worked for these companies and admit to stealing merchandise, so if something valuable is being delivered, you had better check it out before you sign.

    As for Customer Service at Circuit City, I bought a laptop from them, and purchased the extended four year warranty. The laptop crapped out after a year. I sent it in, they couldn’t fix it, or replace the parts that failed, so they sent me a return of the full price of the laptop on a gift card. I went to the store, and the card they sent me through the mail didn’t work. They refused to call customer service at the store. They claimed it was too late in the day. I called on my cell. I spoke to an English speaking person of the Hindu persuasion, who basically told me the card had the full amount, and either their reader was broken, or they were completely BSing because they could enter the digits on the back of the card, and charge the card that way. They told me they couldn’t. I asked to speak to a manager. Turned out I was already speaking to him. I complained. I called customer service again, and spoke to a corporate service representative. I’m absolutely positive the guy got fired, ’cause I’ve been back and he has never even shown his face again. I went to another Circuit City and bought my new computer without any problems. I only wish they’d reimburse me for gas.

    I’ve also had F.Y.E. tell me to my face that I must have stolen a PSP game because I made the mistake of not checking, and they didn’t put the game in the box. I didn’t ever get it resolved, mainly because the game was used, and I didn’t feel like arguing over 15 bucks. I argued as long as I did because I was being accused of a crime I hadn’t committed.

    And in all actuality, they can’t arrest or ban you for opening a product to inspect the contents, so long as it’s not a perishable product. So, opening a CD, or electronics box is alright so long as you don’t steal anything. The best thing to do in any case is find the nearest video camera, stand in front of it, and open what you plan to purchase. Then they can’t say you were stealing.

  68. Nerys says:

    “Besides, that is why stores ask for addresses and phone at POS and ID on returns.”

    One problem I do not give my address or phone number ever for normal purchases and I will not even give my name (none of there business)

    I also NEVER carry and will NEVER show “ID” in any form. I do not even have any form of ID. While I do have a Driver’s License thats not ID. thats a License to drive and it is used ONLY for that purpose and banking purposes and its LEFT in the car where it belongs. I never ever carry it on me.

    I always buy anything I am not willing to eat on a credit card and if I have a problem I just dispute the charge. Its that simple. I will win. Period.

    • Atriel says:

      @Nerys: What happens when you get murdered and dumped in a ditch? How are they even going to know who you are? Don’t you watch CSI, or Law & Order, or… anything?

  69. jevonreese says:

    This happens mostly by people working in the Distribution Center I have apprehend people doing this type of thing, they switch the merchandise out and take home the goods and when it gets to the store no one checks. I have also found a person in our undercover security doing the same thing in the stores.

    The Stores usually know that it happened in the store but don’t want to take the loss.

  70. robgbrown says:

    A million years ago, I bought a tape (you know…music before CDs…) at a place in Canada. When I got out to my car to listen to it, there was no ‘tape’ in the cassette. The casing was there, but no ‘musical tape’ inside the casing. I took it back in, and what a hastle! Did they really think in 5 minutes I took the tape apart, put it in another casing, put it back together again, and retured it? Needless to say, this music chain no longer exists.

  71. kelseymonster says:

    I worked at Ritz Camera for over 5 years… and I totally agree with everything here.

    1.) If you are buying a camera and are not familiar with cameras, have the sales person open the box and set the camera up for you. That way you know what is in the box and what it all does. And the salesman knows that you won’t be coming back saying that something is missing or not working.

    2.) Check the serial numbers. I agree with this so much. When a customer returns a camera (or anything else) the salesman is supposed to check the serial just to protect the store from fraud. They rarely do this, especially at busy stores. Check the serial for yourself just in case no one else did. Otherwise you may end up with a damaged or DOA device.

    3.) USE A CREDIT OR DEBIT CARD!!!!! Look, I prefer to use cash. I can keep up with the money I spend better and I don’t owe anyone anything. The problem is that stores often don’t give cash refunds. They may not even have that much cash in the store. You may get stuck with a gift card or having to wait for a corporate refund check to come in the mail. If you pay with plastic, your money refunded right then or that night when the computers post. Same thing goes with paying by check. (Who the hell still uses checks?)

    4.) Protect yourself first. Ask a ton of questions about the return policy. Know what you may come up against in the case of a problem.

    5.) Trust your gut. If you don’t trust the guy, don’t buy from him.

  72. zolar16 says:

    I bought a spiffy new Sony CyberShot at Best Buy a few years ago the night before I left on a week-long trip to Yellowstone. I also purchased an SD card so I could store lots and lots of pictures of deer and bison on it. Much to my chagrin, I got home and realized that someone had very carefully cut open the blister pack, taken the chip, and put it back on the rack. Since the store was closed, and my flight was at 6am, I decided to return it when I got home.

    Well, the people at customer service told me point blank that since I had waited a week after my purchase to come in, there was no way they could prove it was their fault and nothing they could do. I had to pitch a huge fit and point out to the manager that since I had been hundreds of miles from a Best Buy the entire time, there was no way I could have attempted to fix the situation sooner. I hate being *that* customer, since I worked as a cashier/customer service rep all through college, but I know managers can do whatever they want, despite what they may tell you. Eventually, a more sympathetic manager came by and gave me my money back.

  73. Anonymous says:

    I purchased an electric heated blanket from walmart (howell mill rd, Atlanta, ga). I bought a King size mattress.
    went home, opened the transparent zippered bag to find a Twin sized used, dirty blanket.
    took it back to the store the next day and asked for a replacement. Not return, i just wanted a blanket i had paid for.
    the cashier called a manager (Billy) who informed me that Walmart does not return blankets (LIE). then went on to say that I had replaced the balnket and hence accusing me of theft and fraud. I asked to see his superior. he went into his “office” and didnt come out again.
    Another manager came and when she heard my story, asked the cashier to give me the cash refund. and politely asked me to go and select another item. I told her that i didint wish to shop at the store any more until Billy apologized to me for humiliating me and calling me a thief in front of other employees and customers waiting in line at the Cust. Serv. center. He never came out but did peek out so check if i had left already… I jotted down the name and phone number of the store manager with full intent of reporting him. I even called the store later to check if the store manager and billy were both present, but i didn’t do it. I figured he may have just had a bad day, and didnt want to get him fired over this. I work in a large retail store, and such an offense would have resulted in immediate termination of the said Billy.
    My understanding of my store’s policy is that even if I am a 101% sure that he/she is a thief, I may not call him that.

  74. Deb Shaffer says:

    This is where stores get screwed by having lazy customer service employees. All high end merchandise returns should opened and checked-I can’t tell you how many times I opened a box and saw a beat up old game system in a brand new box. And I’ll never understand why stores prefer to sacrifice store security just so a customer can walk up and grab a product that costs hundreds of dollars. It’s ridiculous.

  75. Boffo1 says:

    get it fingerprinted

  76. Anonymous says:

    While I was unemployed, I would hit flea markets, garage sales and craigslist for items that were sold at Costco. It was better if they were broken as they would be cheaper and much easier to return. I was making an extra $2K a month doing this.

  77. Anonymous says:

    How about this one, don’t purchase items in retail stores! Best buy sucks! Anything you can find in a retail store for “cheap” can be found online for the same price or even cheaper.