Find Out What Info Retailers Have Been Tracking On Your Returned Purchases

A growing number of retailers have been requiring customers not only show a photo ID when returning a purchase, they have also been scanning those IDs into a database that other retailers will use to determine whether or not you’re a problem returner.

If you’ve had your ID scanned while returning a purchase, it more than likely went into a system run by the folks at The Retail Equation, a company we’ve been writing about for more than three years.

The Newark Star-Ledger’s Bamboozled column has the story of a man who just recently learned about the TRE database while trying to make a return at his local Home Depot.

“The worst part is that they won’t just deny returns to Home Depot, but to any retailer that participates in The Retail Equation,” says the shopper.

According to TRE, the information captured when a store scans your ID varies from state to state, but typically includes identification number, name, address, date of birth and expiration date.

The information available from the TRE database allows stores to decide whether or not you’re a habitual returner, i.e., someone who “rents” items by purchasing them and returning for full credit within a short time period.

If you want to find out what info TRE has on your Return Activity Report, it’s not that complicated a process. E-mail ReturnActivityReport@TheRetailEquation.com (or write to The Retail Equation, P.O. Box 51373, Irvine, CA 92619-1373) and be sure to include your name and a phone number, because a TRE rep will then call you to verify information. Thus, you’ll need to provide your license number to confirm that you are the person you’re calling about.

Contacting TRE is just one of the many steps in doing a complete background search on yourself.