(Geoff Fox)

Can Retailers Make Us Stop Returning So Much Stuff?

After the holiday shopping frenzy is over, frenzy season isn’t yet complete: in malls and in post offices alike, shoppers then go into an item-returning and gift-card-spending frenzy. Unfortunately, this costs retailers a lot of money. Instead of accepting the cost of returns as a recurring annual thing, can they find a way to reduce them? [More]

Best Buy Doesn’t Want You To Know They Take Returns Without A Receipt

Best Buy Doesn’t Want You To Know They Take Returns Without A Receipt

Every store has two sets of policies: the official ones distributed to customers, and the policies from the other end that employees learn in training. A source inside Best Buy contacted us recently to explain how it’s possible to return items to Best Buy without a receipt. Yes, it is possible. No, customers aren’t supposed to know that. [More]

Google’s Defective Phone Policy Is Tough If You’re On A Fixed Income

Google’s Defective Phone Policy Is Tough If You’re On A Fixed Income

We hear that the newest version of Google’s Nexus smartphone, the Nexus 5, is a fine device. Reader Michael has heard that, too. He wouldn’t know: The phone that he ordered a few weeks ago didn’t work right out of the box. He was stuck. He had ordered the $350 Nexus because his previous phone broke, but couldn’t afford put the total on hold on a credit or debit card so Google could ship him a new phone right away. [More]


Amazon Now Using Lockers For Return Shipping

Do you know what’s an even worse problem for online retailers than customers who never get their packages? Shipping back the items that customers did receive, but don’t want. Fortunately, Amazon has found a way around this problem: since late last year, they’ve using their lockers designed for deliveries to send products in the other direction. [More]

The Defective Xbox, The Defective Kmart, And The Defective Exchange Process

The Defective Xbox, The Defective Kmart, And The Defective Exchange Process

Evan had a problem. Well, first, he had an Xbox One, which was a pretty great thing. He had picked it up at a Kmart in a different city while visiting friends, because they had it in stock. When it began to make can opener noises a few weeks later, it would have been simplest to exchange it for a new Xbox at Kmart. Naturally, that was impossible. [More]

If Walmart Won’t Take Your Printer Back, Don’t Throw It At The Customer Service Rep

If Walmart Won’t Take Your Printer Back, Don’t Throw It At The Customer Service Rep

When we advise unhappy consumers to escalate their customer service complaints, we mean to take your issue to a store manager or someone at corporate HQ. We don’t suggest that you ramp up your anger by smashing things and tossing printers at store employees. [More]

How Does An Unlimited Return Policy Help L.L. Bean?

How Does An Unlimited Return Policy Help L.L. Bean?

This summer, outdoors equipment co-op REI made a change: they cut back on their return policy. They no longer accept any item back for any reason indefinitely. Other companies continue the practice, most notably L.L. Bean and Costco. It must be expensive and there must be customers who abuse it. So why do they do it? [More]

Simple Human Replaces Self-Destructing Trash Can In Simple, Easy Transaction

Simple Human Replaces Self-Destructing Trash Can In Simple, Easy Transaction

Sure, a foot pedal lid trash can is a pretty mundane household item, but try going without it after you get used to having one. Annemarie’s Simple Human trash can jettisoned a part when she stepped on its pedal one day. It had a year left on the five-year warranty, so she called up the company. Maybe they could replace the lid? [More]


Where Is The Item I Sent Back To Sears? Don’t Ask Sears Or UPS, They Don’t Know

What ring? Victoria ordered a ring from Sears, but wasn’t happy with it and sent it back. That’s the whole point of the return process, right? Only the point isn’t supposed to be that the item disappears into the ether and the retailer shrugs. At least we’d like to think so. [More]


Sam’s Club Takes Back Ancient Desk Chair, Delights Customer

People come in different shapes and sizes, and companies make products to fit us. Well, the products are supposed to. Reader Chris got a wonderful desk chair designed for people who are, as he puts it, “big and tall” for Christmas. Christmas 2011. When it broke, he was stuck: surely the warranty was up and the retailer wouldn’t take it back. Right? [More]

(Chris Rief aka Spodie Odie)

REI Revises Return Policy: Must Be Within 1 Year Of Purchase

REI is a retailer of outdoor equipment and claims to be the world’s largest consumer co-op. They’re also famous for their generous return policy, similar to that of Consumerist favorites like L.L. Bean and Costco: they’ll take anything back for just about any reason, indefinitely. At least, they used to. That policy changes, as of today. [More]

(The Joy Of The Mundane)

Between Microsoft And PayPal, Somewhere I Have A Refund

Steve bought a digital download of Windows 8, but decided that it wasn’t for him. He downgraded to Windows 7, got rid of all traces of the upgrade, and got a refund of the purchase price. At least that’s what Microsoft says. The refund is trapped in some kind of terrifying digital underworld between Microsoft and PayPal, serving as a warning. [More]

Victoria’s Secret Sends $50 Apology Gift Card, Still Doesn’t Make Any Sense

(Mary T.)

Last week, we shared the story of Debra, who returned $114 worth of merchandise to Victoria’s Secret, but only received $97 back. When she complained, Vicky’s response was that sending items back meant that her purchase was under the $100 threshold to get a $15 off discount. Except, um, her purchase was well over the limit, and she sent everything back. She complained again, and the refunded her $15. After our post ran, the chain tracked her down and sent an apology and a $50 gift certificate, along with a second explanation that doesn’t make any sense either. [More]

(Mary T.)

Victoria’s Secret Charges Me $15 For The Privilege Of Returning Stuff

When Debra placed an online order from Victoria’s Secret and then returned everything unworn, she didn’t know that she would have to pay an underpants rental fee. She returned merchandise that she had paid $114.16 for, and received $96.69 back. Was that a shipping charge? No, Debra paid to ship the items back herself. Did the items go on sale and she didn’t have a receipt? No, that wasn’t it either. She bought them during a “$15 off a $100 purchase” promotion, and Vicky’s kept the $15 discount that they had given her. Huh? [More]

(Mike Rollerson)

Zombie Amazon Returns More Common Than You Might Think

Earlier this week, we asked whether our readers had any experience with zombie refunds: items that you sent back to a retailer, only to have your refund later reversed for no clear reason. We heard from a surprising number of people whose transactions have risen from the archives and devoured their bank accounts. [More]

Sam’s Club Manager Makes Up Own Return Policy, Won’t Take Back Cracked TV

Sam’s Club Manager Makes Up Own Return Policy, Won’t Take Back Cracked TV

What kind of difference can a local store’s management make? A bigger one than you might think. Shanna ordered a new television online from Sam’s Club that arrived broken. For the sake of convenience, she went to exchange it at the local store after figuring out that it fit in her car after all. The problem was that that store’s management made up its own return policy that has no basis in the actual policies of Sam’s Club. [More]


Lenovo Is Confused About How Buying And Selling Works Again

After Alex ordered his laptop from Lenovo, he received an e-mail telling him that, oh yeah, there was a delay and it would ship out within a month. He bought another laptop instead. Because that’s the way the world works, Lenovo shipped out his new computer later that same day. He and Lenovo arranged things so that UPS just “sent the package back,” even though their tracking system said that it had never left the dock at Lenovo. A few days after that, they charged his credit card. Then things really got annoying. [More]


How I Turned A Walmart Gift Card Into An EA Game Preorder By Way Of A Kitchen Appliance

Reader O. wanted to preorder a new game from 2012 Worst Company in America champ EA, and he wanted to use some money that he had on a Walmart gift card. Fair enough. What he did have was a $50 Walmart gift card and some cash. Walmart theoretically carries EA gift cards, so he should have been able to visit his nearest Wally World, pick up a card, take it home, and pre-order a delicious Crysis 3 download. Indeed, he was able to do that, but only after he took a pocketful of cash across the street and bought his desired EA gift card at GameStop. You can use a Walmart gift card for anything that the store sells…except prepaid debit cards. [More]