What Kohl’s Does When It Ships An Extra Item: Charges Me For It, Denies A Refund

Consumerist reader Rebecca sounds like a reasonable person. Sure, she’s jealous of the people (this reader and then this reader, too)who get extra iPads sent to them by Best Buy, but she’s not expecting any kind of freebies from Kohl’s in the same situation with a different product. But instead of even a simple “Thanks for noticing we messed up!” she got punished for trying to do the right thing and return the extra item.

She writes in that she ordered a Keurig B70 Platinum Brewer, and a few days later, another one arrived on her doorstep with an identical invoice to the first one.

Being the good consumer that she is, she called Kohl’s and explained the situation.

I was told that I could either schedule a pick-up to send the item back or return it to the store. If I didn’t, I my Kohls’ card would be charged. Three days after the unordered package came, my Kohl’s card was charged for the price of the extra item.

Okay, fine, she thought — although we doubt Kohl’s is even in its rights to charge her for something she didn’t order, and without her authorization — she’d return the dang thing.

She didn’t notice the charge right away and wasn’t able to return the coffee maker until the following week. She brought it into the store and asked customer service to reassure her that her card had not been charged, and was told it had not been. However a few days later she checked her Kohl’s charge and saw, surprise! A charge for the brewer in question.

I figured the return might take a couple days to process, but I called the 800 number anyway just to be sure that I would get the refund I was due. The customer service representative said she would look into the issue. The next day, I received an e-mail stating that I was NOT charged for the item and would NOT be receiving a refund. After nearly an hour and a half of my time on the phone trying to straighten out the mess, a refund finally showed up on my statement a week or two later.

Rebecca feels a bit slighted — she was just trying to do the right thing and went out of her way to give back something that didn’t belong to her, and instead of a gift card or a credit, much less a simple “thank you,” she was made to feel like she’d done something wrong. She says wishes she’d known at the time about the FTC law that says anything shipped to you on accident, you can consider a gift.

Best Buy may have its (many) faults but allowing customers to keep four extra iPads goes a long way toward customer loyalty, unlike punishing customers for your own shipping mistake, like Kohl’s. Let’s learn from each other, retailers. Free iPads and thank yous for everyone!