Why Did Walmart Add A $3 Warranty To This DVD Purchase Without Asking?

Would you buy an extended warranty for a DVD? We can’t imagine that most people would…and if they did, it would last longer than a year. John, however, sent in this receipt from a Texas Walmart store. He writes that the store tried to sneak a $3 “protection” plan along with his ex’s purchase of a $15 DVD. And not just any old warranty: it’s an extended warranty that, as far as we can determine, Walmart doesn’t even sell for DVDs.

John writes:

My ex went to Wally World today and bought a new DVD, noticing that the ticket total was a few bucks more than she expected. Looking at the receipt, she noticed a “1 YR Disc Plan” for $3 had been added without her input. When she inquired, she was told that they were now automatically added to every DVD purchased! Not once was she asked if she wanted it, it was just tacked on.

Curiously, though adding it was instantaneous and secretive, it took a couple of minutes and a supervisor to take it off.

A 1 year DVD warranty? Exactly how does an aluminum-coated piece of plastic go bad? Defective exchanges are already free (and SHOULD be), and somehow I suspect that scratches & scuffs due to careless handling void the warranty.

John is right: this product doesn’t make any sense. And, as far as we can figure out, Walmart doesn’t even sell such a product. You can buy a protection plan for video game discs or cartridges, but not for movie discs.

So what the heck happened here? We contacted Walmart, but haven’t heard back yet.

Comments

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  1. wcnghj says:

    I am pretty sure they do sell it.. It’s like a scratch protection plan.

    However, it can sound like a pretty standard question where people just answer yes, so she could have agreed to it.

    • Caged Wisdom says:

      Yeah, they do sell a warranty for DVDs now. I had the cashier offer it to me when I went to buy a DVD a few weeks ago. My response was a completely reflexive, barely concealed snort of derision followed by a “No thank you.”

      Coincidentally enough I also was buying Toy Story.

  2. nbs2 says:

    I wonder if it was the store or if it was just a lazy worker who had just been “trained” on the extended warranties for video game discs and: a) was so excited he/she assumed everybody would want it, or b) felt like he/she needed to make numbers and that trying to slide it in wouldn’t get noticed. $3 on $15 is a lot. $3 on $60 is less than sales tax here in MD.

  3. ColHapablap says:

    What kind of cat litter only costs $1.77?

    • rpm773 says:

      Gently used.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      Hartz PH5? It’s what I use in my litter boxes. I use a 10lb bag and cedar shavings in my 2 litter boxes, and even with a 3 cat household, only change about every 2-3 weeks w/no scooping.

      • eccsame says:

        you’re lucky, or your house smells – I’m guessing the former. Wait until your cats get elderly and gross. I have two cats and two litter boxes and have to change them every two days.

      • Big Mama Pain says:

        I think I need to try this! I have three cats, and I don’t even bother to scoop-I buy the 100% clay litter and pitch the whole thing every couple of days.

    • Big Mama Pain says:

      Special Kitty clay litter

  4. Neela says:

    They do sell a “warranty” for dvds, cds, games, electronics, etc.

    When the cashier scans one of the items, it beeps and pops up with a “1 year disc plan” yes=enter no=total. I’m sure the cashier just hit enter without looking, thinking it was an over 17 check, where over 17 is enter, and no is total.

    (current Walmart slave here, Cpht that occasionally rings up people’s purchases in the pharmacy)

  5. seanjustinpenn says:

    The receipt in the picture shows that the warranty was voided.

    • fatediesel says:

      Yeah, the story explains that she had to get a supervisor to remove the extended warranty.

      • seanjustinpenn says:

        The story also says that she took a look at the receipt and it charged her more than she expected.
        Not true … according to the receipt Consumerist posted anyways.

        • seanjustinpenn says:

          I guess what could have happened is she took a look at the cash register (and not the receipt) where she noticed the $3 charge (and not that the total was more than she expected).

          • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

            It doesn’t say much for the OP’s third hand account when many of the facts represented were out and out wrong, especially when proven wrong my evidence FROM the OP.

            • Hoss says:

              Would whoever took the receipt put it back — I don’t see any receipt

            • craptastico says:

              oviusly after they had it voided, Walmart gave them another receipt. does everything really need to be spelled out? whenever you return something (like a warranty you didnt want) they’ll generally give you another receipt reflecting that and they’ll usually keep the original. how is it the OPs fault you can’t use some common sense?

              • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

                Use common sense? What? Every time I have returned something, they circle the offending item on the original(and sometimes initial), and the new receipt issued lists just the returned items and the financial transaction. There are two copies of that that spit out, and one of those is attached to the item returned or kept by the store, and the other goes to the customer. I say that as someone who did a metric crapton of returns at the supermarket I worked at. Also, the receipt says “VOIDED ENTRY”. A void happens during the transaction, not after. After wards, it’s a return. In addition, the DVD is voided and re-rung. You don’t do that for a return. If anyone needs to use common sense, it’s not me.

    • Griking says:

      What picture?

  6. DoubleBaconVeggieBurger says:

    I think the real question here is, why is John still checking his ex’s receipts?

    • JoeDawson says:

      maybe it was amicable? who knows, I only am still friends with one person i “dated” but we don’t talk much.

  7. jerrycomo says:

    W-M pulling a fast one here.

  8. ConsumerDollars says:

    Kitty Litter: $1.77, Toy Story DVD: $15.00, Newspaper: $2 = $18.77+TAX=20.15, where is the extra charge for $30?

    • seanjustinpenn says:

      N nws hr. Th cshr ht th wrng bttn nd thn rmvd th chrg. Jst nthr Cnsmrst rtcl wtht n fct-chckng.

      • KianteWench says:

        Why dont you type like a real person. WHo the hell has time to try and cipher your makeshift shorthand.

        • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

          Hi, welcome to Consumerist: http://consumerist.com/2008/08/consumerist-site-design-tweaked.html Here is a link that explains what Disemvowling is. The comment above is what happens when one gets disemvoweled.

          • DoubleBaconVeggieBurger says:

            There used to be a helpful icon next to a disemvowelled comment explaining the concept. I wonder why they stopped doing that?

            • Timbojones says:

              They changed the backend software a while back. The new one is nice but it has a bunch of problems that aren’t being addressed, like this and linking to nested comments. I don’t think there’s anyone on Consumerist staff savvy in web programming since they moved from Gawker to Consumer Reports.

        • lanigan911 says:

          The comment was disenvowelled.

    • tmitch says:

      In the article, it says she was charged the $3 (she was, it was on the receipt), noticed it, and had to have a superviser come and remove it (again, it was on the receipt).

      The point of the article is that she was initially charged this fee without being asked if she even wanted it in the first place.

  9. Link_Shinigami says:

    Isn’t it illegal to sell someone something without their approval or consent? Like, whats to stop them from selling you a lawn mower when you buy a DVD because it’s now policy to just bundle the two together?

    • ludwigk says:

      It is in California, pursuant to Cal. Bus. Prof. Code § 17200. I’m sure every other state has a similar statute.

    • Martha Gail says:

      It really looks to me like it was a register prompt after the dvd was scanned and the cashier hit “yes” without thinking. Maybe he thought it was an age restriction prompt. I don’t understand why this letter made it on here. They fixed it before they left. Things like that happen.

  10. JustLurking says:

    My mother got snookered into an extended warranty on a video she bought for the kids from Best Buy. Yeah, I gave the speech about getting suckered into such things in the future. Not sure if that lesson will stick.

    I am half tempted to put the disc in the blender and seeing if I can get it replaced for accidental damage.

  11. JackieEggs says:

    No receipt image here… shows a bunch of register/check-out areas.. *shrugs*

  12. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    There must be something about people named John who still want to talk to their Ex and ex’s, and even help them. I bet he also still loves almost all of them too.

  13. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    Being offered an extended warranty for everything is so common today, I’ve always wondered why people insure $10 or $15 purchases and if they do, do they only buy some extended warranties or do they just agree to absolutely everything? If they always buy extended warranties for DVDs, alarm clocks, pens, etc. do they actually file away all of the receipts and log expiration dates, etc.? It seems like a lot of work and record keeping.

    • vastrightwing says:

      I self insure everything below $10,000. So when best buy asks me if I want to buy an extended warranty, I say, “I already have my own extended warranty on everything.” When I loose it, break it or it gets stolen, I either replace it or I don’t. It works out pretty well and is much less expensive than what they offer at best buy. The best part, is that when I want to replace it, it’s never any hassle. It gets better.. I will often save money on the replacement because some items get cheaper. Other times, I won’t replace it at all.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        That’s essentially what I do with a series of dedicated ING saving accounts.

        Many years ago, I read financial advise in a magazine that was essentially “it’s better to have great insurance and a high deductible than poor insurance with a low deductible”. I’ve always interpreted the advice as “don’t worry about the little stuff” — it’s silly insure ourselves for $15 DVD’s, $60 dental cleanings, $100 fender benders, etc.

  14. NarcolepticGirl says:

    Well, I’m glad the OP’s ex (weird) checked the receipt and had someone take it off instead of doing nothing and just complaining about it.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      Except it was voided/removed before the receipt was printed.

      And I recently gave a laptop to one of my ex’s who fried hers with Diet Coke for the price of $50(the cost of the AC adapter and shipping). I may be bitter, but eventually you get used to that bitter taste, and can become civil. Hell, I even ripped 1 gig of RAM from the laptop on my bed and stuck it into the one I gave her because I told her it would have 2gigs, and it only had 1.5.

      • NarcolepticGirl says:

        I’m so confused about this Consumerist post.

        Also, I’m friends with a lot of my exes (well, my current boyfriend doesn’t feel comfortable with that – but they’re all out of state, anyway). It’s just weird he didn’t just say “friend”. I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me.

        • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

          I call my last GF, Kari, my Ex, and all the ones before her ex’s. They usually get names, though, like my ex, Molly. The only exception is The Psycho. She has her own moniker.

        • DoubleBaconVeggieBurger says:

          I’m with you, I think he should have said friend. He’s sharing more information with us than necessary.

  15. COBBCITY says:

    I could hope a copy of that receipt and a letter was sent to the Texas Attorney General and Consumer Protection Department.

    However, that said, I wonder why people shop Walmart. Employees underpaid to create the low prices, higher paying competitors downsized or put out of business, etc.

  16. JordanC says:

    Looks like they accidentally added the warranty, and then it was removed. What’s the big deal? Cashiers make mistakes…looks like this time they caught the mistake before finishing the sale.

  17. AvWuff says:

    Yeah, the receipt clearly shows that the warranty was added and then removed. The customer wasn’t charged anything extra.

  18. DarkPsion says:

    That’s nothing, last time I picked up game guide, they asked if I wanted the protection plan,….for a magazine.

  19. elangomatt says:

    That is pretty strange, I see the receipt graphic on google reader, but not on the actual consumerist site at all.

    Here is what probably happened. The cashier more than likely did one of two things. They accidentally hit the “yes” button when the register prompted them to ask the customer if they wanted the warranty. Or two, the cashier is being pressured by management to increase their percentage of warranties sold so they just said yes for the warranty hoping the customer didn’t notice. The store could also be running a competition too that gives a reward to the cashier that has the highest percentage of warranty sales.

    I used to work at a store similar to Walmart, and the store manager constantly complained about the store’s poor percentage of warranty sales. Sometimes it seemed like he cared about that percentage than the sales numbers for the store.

  20. JANSCHOLL says:

    Circuit City had the same warranty. They actually badgered me once, saying what if your kid scratches this? On and on. I told them my “kid” is 30 and lives 5 states away and I don’t buy videos or cds for him. He can pay for his own crap now. This was also the same CC that tried to card me when buying an R rated film, asking me if my kids were gonna be watching this. Son was with me that day, and I said As a matter of fact, yeah, my son is gonna watch this. (son was a cop in uniform). Stupid people. How many warranties get sold every day like this? I bet they would try and get you one for a Popsicle.

  21. devilsadvocate says:

    I wonder if gamestop will make extended warrantees mandatory on all disk purchases. People would probably still buy there.

  22. IntheKnow says:

    Walmart does sell a one year warranty on DVDs, game, cartridges for any kind of physical damage. This program was initiated NOT by any sophisticated research showing a demand for a program like this, but just a proposal to Walmart about making more money. Some people just say yes for the wrong reason and that is what Walmart and its plan administrator counts on. With all the noise at the registers, things could have been misinterpreted, but, there is some PRESSURE now on the Walmart teams to sell these. Sadly, retail clerks become robots, spitting things out of their mouths regarding extended plans without any true knowledge of what they are really selling.

  23. Destron says:

    From that receipt though they never paid for the protection plan. That was all a single transactions showing it was added and removed before the person ever paid, so I don’t see the problem here?

    That being said- although they are stupid for movies and the such those plans are definitely worth it on big ticket items. I bought one from Best Buy on my 55″ Samsung LCD TV and it went out on me about 7 months after the manufacturer warranty was up, they sent a tech to look at the TV who determined it could not be repaired for a reasonable cost so he went and bought me a comparable TV right then and there (they did not have my model anymore).

  24. HappyNekkidPaul says:

    That cashier lied to her. I work for Walmart and the customer is suppose to be asked if they want the warranty. As for why Walmart offers it now, Copyright law prohibits the return of opened CDs, DVDs, VHS and games. With the warranty if the game has been opened and you are not satisfied you can call the number on the information card they give you and the card that is attached will be loaded with the price of your purchase so you can get something else.