Costco's Return Policy In Action

Costco's Return Policy In Action

This weekend Costco really justified its annual membership fee to me with its amazing return policy. Eight weeks ago my wife bought two four-packs of printer cartridges that cost $146. She didn’t realize they weren’t the type of cartridges for our printer before she’d not only opened the plastic clamshell prison in which they were encased, but a cartridge from each package.

Retail Return Databases: Fraud Deterrent Or Privacy Nightmare?

Retail Return Databases: Fraud Deterrent Or Privacy Nightmare?

No shopper wants higher prices because of excessive return fraud, but many people aren’t comfortable having their driver’s license scanned when making a return at the store, either. We’ve covered the reasons for this before, but Retail Customer Experience took a closer look.

CircuitCity.com Now Allows Returns From HP, IBM and Toshiba

CircuitCity.com Now Allows Returns From HP, IBM and Toshiba

CircuitCity.com, newly reincarnated as a Systemax subsidiary, has changed the return policy language that forbid returns from HP, IBM and Toshiba, ZDnet reports. Hooray.

CircuitCity.com Reborn As… Circuit City!

CircuitCity.com Reborn As… Circuit City!

CircuitCity.com is back, and it looks eerily familiar. The zombie website is now controlled by Systemax, the same folks who own Tiger Direct. Though the new site may look similar to the old, no doubt part of Systemax’s goal to keep alive a “proud brand that America has grown to count on,” it isn’t nearly as consumer-friendly as we would like…

HealthyBack Forces Free Pillows On Customer, Then Charges Him $120

HealthyBack Forces Free Pillows On Customer, Then Charges Him $120

Tony bought a Tempur-Pedic mattress from healthyback.com last December, and they sent him two pillows as a “free gift.” Tony didn’t want the pillows, but HealthyBack refused to take them back, and assured him they were part of a promotion.

No More Free Online Returns From Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Atheleta

No More Free Online Returns From Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Atheleta

Reader Joe sent us a tip that Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, and Atheleta have changed their online return policy. “They now deduct 6$ from the return refund, no questions asked… ” he wrote. Well, that’s not exactly it. Here’s the official word from Gap Inc.

Walmart Violates Company Policy, Pretends Not To Accept Bike Returns

Walmart Violates Company Policy, Pretends Not To Accept Bike Returns

The Walmart in Norman, Oklahoma refused to accept bike returns until a district manager, acting on a reader tip, reminded the store that they were violating company policy. Reader Keia tried to return the “shoddily constructed,” “dangerous piece of garbage” for a bike that Walmart sold him, but an employee, backed by the store manager, explained that since Walmart could repair the bike, their return policy didn’t apply. That didn’t sound right, so Keia went over their heads…

Guitar Center Ships Broken Guitar From Another Store's Inventory, Says Too Bad, Now It's Yours

Guitar Center Ships Broken Guitar From Another Store's Inventory, Says Too Bad, Now It's Yours

Did you know Guitar Center, Musician’s Friend, and “a few other online music retailers” all share the same centralized distribution center? That’s the explanation a Musician’s Friend CSR gave Mitch when he tried to solve the mystery of the dented, twisted-neck, not-even-from-the-right-store Fender Telecaster. It looks like Guitar Center shipped him another company’s returned item. That’s bad enough, but now Guitar Center says they won’t make good on his order because it’s beyond the 30 day return period. Hey, Guitar Center: What return period? Mitch never got the product he ordered in the first place.
Update: Musician’s Friend has responded with an apology.

When Fighting Back Goes Wrong, and When The Wrong Fight Back

When Fighting Back Goes Wrong, and When The Wrong Fight Back

I always love to see a fellow Consumer fight back against large corporations. However, when that consumer is trying to return stolen goods – stolen from me, that is – it’s harder to get excited.

Every Christmas Target Execs Fight Over Auto-Printing Guest Receipts

Every Christmas Target Execs Fight Over Auto-Printing Guest Receipts

Regarding this story, turns out, every year at this time, Target has an internal clash of the titans over whether or not to automatically print guest receipts, according to a former employee.

Target No Longer Automatically Prints Gift Receipts?

Target No Longer Automatically Prints Gift Receipts?

Reader Jennifer reports that Target doesn’t seem to be automatically printing gift receipts at the bottom of the receipts. Clever way of discouraging holiday returns? Target’s official policy is no returns without a receipt

What's New For 2008 Return Policies

What's New For 2008 Return Policies

Some retailers are tightening their returning policies this year, while others are loosening them. ConsumerWorld tells you who’s naughty and nice this year.

Which Store Has The Worst Return Policy?

Which Store Has The Worst Return Policy?

As part of their multi-pronged effort to fight the financial Godzilla besieging the world economy, the European Commission today proposed a 14-day no-questions-asked return period for any online purchases made within the European Union. The “two-week cooling-off period” is designed to give consumers a chance to shop across borders for the best prices without worrying about return policies. The practically adorable European decision to respond to a financial crisis with consumer protections made us want to look inwards at some of the onerous return policies Americans face.

Walmart Refuses To Take Back Air Mattress, Makes Up New Return Policy On The Spot

Walmart Refuses To Take Back Air Mattress, Makes Up New Return Policy On The Spot

Jacob writes, “I have been trying to make Walmart take back an air mattress for two months now, and they refuse.” The store manager at the Walmart on South Duff Avenue in Ames, Iowa (shout out to Leslie Hall!) has started making up new rules on when an air mattress can be returned—including that the federal government limits returns to 15 days “because of the bed bugs, you know.” No, we didn’t know that, Walmart manager. In fact, after thinking about it, we’re still not sure we know it. Because it sounds like you made it up.

Barnes & Noble Limited Receipt Policy Won't Go National Until October?

Barnes & Noble Limited Receipt Policy Won't Go National Until October?

A Barnes & Noble insider tell us the new policy limiting returns to 14 days with receipts won’t go in effect nationally until October, according to CEO Steve Riggio’s internal blog.. The policy is currently in testing in New York, New Jersey, California, and Virginia. “The point is to eliminate “customers” who empty their bookshelves of books they’ve owned for years and get store credit. The company line is “to bring our policy in line with other national retailers,” the insider tells The Consumerist. However, “the ability to “extend” the policy beyond the 14 days will be up to the compassion of the store/manager you encounter.” Looks like all you non-VA-CA-NY-NJ shysters have until October to ply your fiendish book return schemes.

Barnes & Noble To Downgrade Return Policy: Receipts Always Required

Barnes & Noble To Downgrade Return Policy: Receipts Always Required

UPDATE: Barnes & Noble Limited Receipt Policy Won’t Go National Until October

WSJ: Returning Things Is Hard

WSJ: Returning Things Is Hard

Working mom/WSJ reporter Suzanne Barlyn discovered it wasn’t easy to return a busted Tamagotchi. The Journal also tried to return a Target shirt that didn’t make it through the wash, a $13 camera from Toys “R” Us that broke after one use, a broken flat-panel TV from Amazon, a coat that didn’t fit from BabyGap, and an oversize duffel from L.L. Bean. At each turn, they discovered retailers tossing road-blocks in their way.

Who can blame them? Return fraud soaked retailers for an estimated $9.6 billion in 2006, according to the National Retail Federation. Returning stolen merchandise for a refund is the most flagrant offense, affecting 95% of retailers last year. Computer-generated, counterfeit receipts make the practice easier. So-called wardrobing — the unethical practice of returning nondefective, used merchandise — affected 56% of companies. About 69% of retailers have modified their return policies in response to fraud, according to NRF. Changes include shorter time limits, restocking fees and requirements for original packaging.

The Journal recommends making purchases with a credit card (paid in full each month,) since retailers look up purchases electronically. We agree, but for a different reason: credit cards allow you to dispute charges. Tell us about your fun experiences returning products in the comments. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER

EXCLUSIVE: Costco To Make Return Policy Stricter?

Costco is making its liberal return policies stricter, according to a little birdy. Previously, you could return anything, except computers, at anytime, with or without a receipt.