Target Employee Lies To Me About Refund Policy, Short-Changes Me 25% Of Purchase Price

If you buy something for $10 and have to return it a couple weeks later because it’s defective, you should get the full $10 back, even if it’s since gone on sale, right? This is a lesson that never made it to the employees of one Target in Tennessee.

Consumerist reader J.J. had to return some recently purchased, battery-powered toys that whose battery casings had rusted prematurely. So J.J. took the toys and the receipt back to Target, with the intent of merely exchanging for toys that weren’t defective.

Problem was, not every item J.J. was looking to exchange was still available:

“The ones they did not have, I would need to return since I could not exchange. When they went to return them, they gave me the current price which was about 25% off.

“I showed them the price on the receipt and clearly marked my full price purchase, but they said that was policy. I escalated it to a manager and she confirmed it.

“I was shocked. I had a receipt that showed my loss. A toy that was clearly a store/manufacture defect and I was going to take a loss. I told her that I would wait until the sale went off to return the rest and she explained about the return being at the lowest recent price and said it wouldn’t matter.”

J.J. ultimately just gave in an took the loss on the returned items, but this story seemed odd to us. Our understanding of Target’s policy was that you got a refund on what you paid, not what the store is currently charging.

So we asked Target HQ, where a rep confirmed:

“As long as the guest brings in his or her receipt and the item is within the timeframe as specified by the return policy, the guest will receive the full value they paid.”

This is certainly not the first time we’ve heard of this happening at a major retailer. For example, Walmarts in various parts of the country were short-changing customers who came in with gift receipts when those gifts had been reduced in price since originally being sold.

The Target rep says that customers who feel they are being short-changed on returns, or who think that store staff may not be following company policy, should contact Guest Relations at 1-800-440-0680.