Walmart Employee Claims Returning Books To Store Is Illegal

Have you ever purchased a book and then returned it, unread, to the store that it came from? If so, you’re a criminal. According to an employee at Myra’s local Walmart store, it’s illegal to return books to a store. It just can’t be done. Except that when the employee tried putting the return though, it worked just fine.

I purchased two bibles at a Walmart located in [New York State] last week. I went back to return them on Saturday and was quickly informed by the clerk at the return counter that books are not returnable. I told her that they were unused and that I would gladly accept a credit for future use. She said it wasn’t just a store policy but it was against the law to return books. I asked why that policy isn’t posted anywhere and she said that all their policies aren’t posted. I said I’d be happy to comply if she can show me the policy and she promptly pulled out and looked through some tattered photocopies.

When she couldn’t find it, she paged a manager and then went to the computer to try to find it online. After what seemed to be about 10 minutes, she said no one was coming so she’d try to put the refund through but wasn’t sure the computer (cash register) would accept it. It went through without a glitch and she gave me a cash refund. When I got home, I went online to Walmart’s website and found nothing about books being non-returnable.

Do you know if there really is a law that books cannot be returned? I can understand stores not allowing novels, biographies and such books to be returned but a bible isn’t something that someone would typically read and return. And I really resented the fact that the clerk made me feel like I was doing some wrong or, even worse, illegal. What’s happening to customer service nowadays? Should we assume that clerks are being paid minimum wage so there shouldn’t be any expectation of professionalism or politeness? Do brick & mortar stores understand that this type of experience helps to drive customers to shop online?

Thanks for listening to my gripe and I would be very interested to hear your thoughts.

There are other consumer accounts online of Walmart employees claiming that copyright law forbids returning books and magazines to stores. There is no such law, so why is this a persistent myth among Walmart employees?