In early 2011, Best Buy began requiring a photo ID with all product returns, even if you had the receipt. As we noted at the time, it wasn’t just to make sure that you were the person who made the purchase; it was also intended to identify people who had a history of returning items. Now a man in Connecticut is finding out just what it takes to end up on the retailer’s bad side.
According to the Hartford Courant, an area man recently attempted to exchange a defective DVD he’d bought at Best Buy only a few days earlier. But when a store employee swiped his ID, he was told that this return would be his last for 90 days.
“I was told that I could not return or exchange any other items, even with a valid receipt,” he tells the Courant’s Bottom Line column, “because of some third-party return activity company. How can this be legal when a consumer clearly has a valid receipt?”
The customer admits that he did have a number of post-Christmas returns, along with a few subsequent returns and exchanges at Best Buy.
“Our system is compliant with all state and federal laws regarding the security and privacy of the information,” says Best Buy rep tells the Courant, “and provides far greater security than more traditional retail return practices, such as collecting consumer information on hard-copy return slips or saving consumer information on paper logs.”
While we understand Best Buy’s need to curb rampant returns, wouldn’t it be helpful if the company were to communicate what level of returns and exchanges (ex.: “X returns in 60 days” or “$XXX worth of returns within 30 days”) would flag you as a nuisance customer?
As the Courant article points out, if you’re being required to swipe your ID for returns, it’s likely that the retailer is using the same third-party system as Best Buy. So if you’re returning a bunch of items in short period of time, be aware that you might be flagged.
Thanks to Michael for the tip!