I, Too, Was Livestronged At Radio Shack

Although Radio Shack employees insist they can’t make a customer donate a dollar to Livestrong at checkout, Cheryl’s tale is disturbingly similar to that of Ryan, who says Radio Shack swiped a buck for him in the name of cancer research.

She writes:

This happened to me today as well. I am just furious. I only went into radioshack to buy a crummy battery and told the clerk I did NOT want to give to the Livestrong Campaign. When I looked at my receipt when returned home, I see he did charge me. When I called, he told me I would have to drive back to that store to refund. I am not driving and wasting the gas and an hour for their scam.
I was then sent to various district and regional managers who also told me to drive back. I have left a voice mail for the CEO of the company and e-mails to Media and Investor Relations.

The company sent us this statement to address the problem and solution:

Tens of thousands of customers have eagerly contributed to our point-of-sale collection for LIVESTRONG in just the first few weeks. As 100% of every $1 point-of-sale donation goes directly to LIVESTRONG, we believe it’s been tremendously successful so far. But RadioShack doesn’t intend for any customer to feel compelled to support the fight against cancer. It is a personal choice. We believe the directions are clear on the point-of-sale device, but we regret the few errors that apparently have occurred among the tens of thousands of contributions received so far. Customers who believe they’ve made the donation in error should simply contact us at customercare@radioshack.com or 1-800-THE-SHACK so that we can facilitate the refund process. And in the days ahead, we will use your feedback to remind our employees again about how to manage this process carefully and correctly. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.


Edit Your Comment

  1. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    Did Cheryl say if she just tapped on their POS terminal until the signature screen came up, or actively pressed “no” when the prompt came up?

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I wonder if Cheryl even paid with a credit card. If she did, regardless of telling the cashier she didn’t want to donate to the Livestrong campaign, she may have made the mistake of hitting “yes” when the prompt came up on the POS terminal.

  2. 2Legit2Quit says:

    There’s no way for him to have charged you for the Livestrong organization. You tap Yes/No on the keyboard. He can simply just bypass the prompt, therefore signaling No. You wold have had to select Yes on the keyboard for it to have gone through. Not to mention, the employees are not making anything off of bringing in donations, so unless some sale associate is going rogue for cancer research, there’s no motivation to tack it on.

    • idip says:

      I’d also wonder. If she didn’t even bother to check the reciept until she got home, could it be possible that she overlooked the prompt and accidentally made the donation because she wasn’t paying attention?

    • kcvaliant says:

      Our radioshack before it went out of business did not have a signature pad, it was old school.. I am sure not 100% of all radioshacks have the pad for you to click on yes/no..

    • aka_mich says:

      You’re assuming every Radioshack in the country has the same exact POS systems with the same exact credit card keypads. I think it’s in the realm of possibility that the stores in question may not have a touch keypad for credit card transactions. There are still a lot of business’s out there that you have to give them your card for the retailer to swipe and you don’t see anything other than the total before the transaction goes through.

      • Mr. TheShack says:

        They do.

        • aka_mich says:

          So you can personally vouch for EVERY Radioshack in the country that they all have the same exact POS systems all with touchscreen card readers?

          • mac-phisto says:

            an upgrade on POS technology at RS was rolled out almost 3 years ago. part of this roll-out was touchscreen PIN pads & every store has them. 3 or more of them actually. have i personally seen them in every store in america? no. but i did go thru the COMPANY-WIDE training on how the new POS PIN pads worked. & i’ve been in enough RS stores throughout the US to know that you’d be hard-pressed to find one that doesn’t have them.

    • morganlh85 says:

      That may not be true that the employees don’t benefit…having worked in retail for many years, corporate often holds “contests” between stores or districts — who can sell the most Beanie Babies, who can sell the most extended warranties, who can sell the most gift cards, etc. — offering something dumb like a pizza party or a gift certificate or a small bonus or a dumb plaque to the store/employee/district/ that wins.

    • ChuckECheese says:

      If a cashier can override with a “no” response, can they also override with a “yes” response? Seems likely. And employees are often sanctioned for not getting enough credit card apps / Livestrong donations / whatever. So cashiers do have an impetus to get people to donate, even if they don’t benefit directly from it.

      • Bunnyhat says:

        There was a Radioshack employ that posted in the last topic that they can not say yes themselves.

        They get a prompt that only let’s them say No to donating and no way for them to donate for you.

        The only way to donate is saying yes on the keypad. So once again someone didn’t bother reading the keypad while paying, said yes to that donation, and then didn’t check their receipt until getting home.

  3. idip says:

    Some days I feel like I’m the only person who checks the reciept before leaving the store.

    • barb95 says:

      My mom ALWAYS checks her receipts. And always thinks they charged her too much.

    • tkmluv says:

      I know how you feel. Just last week I was overcharged $25 for an item at Lowe’s and noticed it as I was checking the receipt on my way out the door. Thank goodness that the display was right there next to the checkout or else it would have taken more then the 2 min to get me my money back :)

  4. Fabuloso says:

    I hope that Cheryl is not blind since she obviously knew about the $1 thing “This happened to me today as well…(I) told the clerk I did NOT want to give to the Livestrong Campaign”

    why not bother to take the 5 seconds and look at your receipt when they hand it to you?

    • JulesNoctambule says:

      I would think that if I told someone flat-out ‘No, I do not want [whatever]’, they wouldn’t decide that really means ‘Yes, I do want [whatever]’ and charge me for it, so I might not check my receipt. Of course, expecting people to be honest is a rather generous gesture these days.

      • Kitamura says:

        The problem there lies in assuming the cashier has any interaction with the process in question in the first place. You can tell the cashier whatever you want, but if they have it set up so that you MUST say no at the pin pad, the best the cashier can do is remind you to hit no at the prompt.

        I can’t say that this RS is set up that way or not, or what the cashier did or did not say, but you have to consider the possibility.

    • coren says:

      It may have been a “I saw this on the site and had to write in” and she may have known about it sans the Consumerist…but I agree, if she knew, why wasn’t she looking?

  5. Dwight says:

    i used to work at RadioShack as a Store Manager for many stores. There is a way that an associate can add on the LiveStrong donation without the customer’s knowledge, if they have not changed things since the last time I worked there which was in July. Anyways, everything that RadioShack carries is assigned a SKU, even the livestrong donation has a sku. All the associate has to do is type in the sku and the item is added to the ticket. When the electronic signature pad does not work, the menu prompting for the donation will appear in front of the associate. They in turn have to ASK the customer if they want to donate a dollar. If they don’t ask and hit the enter key, then they are in the wrong and could be fired for that offense. Usually this sort of thing happens with new employees, since it takes awhile to learn the register system.
    The LIVESTRONG donation is refundable, though most people do not refund donations. If the customer put their purchase on a credit card, the card has to be in store in order to do a refund, this is company policy. Although stores have the ability to refund to a credit card via manually punching it in, the receipt does not give the full credit card number, it only gives the last four digits.

    • floraposte says:

      So you’re saying that the system is supposed to preclude the kind of accidental donation that some are theorizing? I certainly agree that it should; sounds like not everybody’s following that procedure, though.

    • Mr. TheShack says:

      If you enter in the sku, it brings the prompt back up on the PIN pad. I’m making this post from work, and I just tried it out. None of these stories check out. This is simply a customer outraged because they didn’t pay attention and weren’t responsible enough to handle it themselves.

      • GMFish says:

        We do not living in a dog-eat-dog society where you can screw anyone you want, and if you get caught, it’s their fault for not catching you sooner.

        They offered it to her, and she said no. That was absolutely no confusion about that.

        If there was any confusion on the buyer’s part it was the clerk’s fault for not making it clear. How is she supposed to intuit, a priori, that she was supposed to take some action on the screen?!

        • pop top says:

          You’d think she’d notice if she actually bothered to read what she was agreeing to when she clicked “Yes”. It’s very rare to have to hit the “Yes” button twice after you enter your PIN. Some places allow you to get cash back, but if you wanted that, you’d actually be reading the screen and waiting for the prompt. If Cheryl was as informed as she claims, she would’ve read everything before agreeing to it.

        • Hogan1 says:

          Are you suggesting people essentially need to have their hand held their entire life? Seriously? People need to take responsibility for their actions and the decisions to make. If you can’t comprehend a Yes/No question asking if you want to donate $1 that’s unfortunate.

      • lukesdad says:

        Yeah, I worked for RS awhile back and — while you can manually enter any SKU — they don’t always just add to the ticket. I was out long before Livestrong donations, but this was true of SKUs for things like cell phones, satellite systems, etc. where entering the SKU does not just add the item to the ticket, but instead brings up other prompts for the cashier having to do with activation or whatever. I’m sure this is how the donations are set up.

        Lots of retailers are doing this now (just about every major grocery store in my area, plus PetSmart and Petco, and I’m sure there are many others). Whether one agrees with the practice or not can be taken up through calls or emails to the appropriate retailers, but all people really have to do is pay the teeny tiniest bit of attention to which button they are pressing and the problem does not exist.

      • mac-phisto says:

        having worked their myself for a time, i know you’re correct. however, i have noticed associates “prepping” PIN pads for people. “prepping” meant as pressing whatever is necessary to get to the “enter your PIN” or “sign here” part. i used to “prep” the pads when they first rolled out b/c they defaulted to “select language” & people would stare at the buttons like it was written in chinese, so i found it easier to just select english for them. i could see an associate adding the SKU & selecting “yes” for the customer to speed the transaction – i’ve witnessed similar transactions take place before.

  6. Nakko says:

    Heh, cool. I used to live in San Diego, right by that Radio Shack / Tweeter store. Man, I hate Radio Shack. A family member told me that back in the good ol’ days they would re-paper speaker cones for free! Nowadays I bet you can’t buy decent stereo speakers there to begin with. My advice, just don’t even go to Radio Shack.

  7. TheJinManCan says:

    Really? All this hate mongering and “omg let me talk to your district/regional manager” for a freaking dollar? A freaking dollar in which you hit “YES” to and in turn is your freaking fault for ignoring the question on the pin pad?

    Consumerist isn’t helping either in fueling the “hate” for this idiocy. Go back and get your dollar.

    • idip says:

      Funny thing is they want to give her money back. She just doesn’t want to go get it.

      I think it’s a justified reason to call the CEO… “Yes… you’re store over charged me and has offered to give me a refund if I go back. This is UNACCEPTABLE, I do not want to drive back to get my one dollar.”

      I fully expect the outcome to be Radioshack sending an armored car to this lady’s doorstep to deliver her the grand total of one dollar.

    • Preyfar says:

      It does seem strange they knew about the Livestrong donation up front, about the receipt issue… but still didn’t check the receipt afterward just to be sure. I don’t want to blame the OP, but it’s… well, it’s weird.

    • ChuckECheese says:

      Yeah, for a freaking dollar. Ever heard of “it’s the principle of the thing?” It’s not because it’s a dollar; it’s because a corporation is scamming its customers, one dollar at a time. My local Dunkin’ Donuts has overcharged me twice now in the same manner, for about a dollar each time. I gave them hell today. I’d hate living in your world, where fraud is okay so long as it stays under the minimum.

    • That's Consumer007 to you says:

      And people with mindsets like yours are exactly why consumers in general are attacked and violated in nickel and dime ways 24/7 in perpetuity by corporations. Have you ever heard of the phrase “the principle of the matter”?

      Let me ask you something. If you got punched on the subway or on the street, and the dollar knocked out of your hand and stolen, how would you feel? How would you further feel if after yelling at the thief, everyone on the subway or the street (you in the analogy here) started yelling at you to get over it, sit down and shut up, it’s only a dollar and the guy looked homeless anyway.

      A further analogy comes from the rationalization presented regarding an ATM theft operation in the movie “Office Space”. If you just steal fractions of a cent from each ATM transaction over time, you make millions, but it’s not really stealing because nobody notices, right?

      Whether you think fussing over a dollar is or isn’t important for your personal stress level, or whether you personally would say something is immaterial. CHARITIES are not entitled to commit FRAUD by highjacking customers of a store during their transactions, nor are store peons entitled to the same on a smaller scale to get bonus points for some stupid internal performance rating in their “career”.

      The consumer victims profiled are rightfully pissed and don’t tell them they shouldn’t be.

      • Terek Kincaid says:

        A better analogy is that a person is talking on their cell phone, distracted, and a homeless person asks for some money. This person give the homeless guy a dollar. Later, she hangs up the phone and realizes she didn’t want to give the homeless guy a dollar, so she goes back and starts yelling at him to give the dollar back.

        If I saw that going on, I’d tell the “donor” to get over it and walk away.

      • Akula765 says:

        I can tell you, the only way for that donation to get tacked on is for the customer to hit accept on the pin pad. There is no other way.

        It’s the customer’s fault for not reading before they go hitting buttons. It’s the customer’s fault for not checking their own receipt before they left.

        The customer is not always right. Sometimes, the customer is a complete idiot.

    • That's Consumer007 to you says:

      It’s further absolutely correct to escalate to a district manager of a store when you and your money are so brazenly disrespected and disregarded. It tends to MAKE SURE the situation is addressed. The 6 or 7 times I have used DM’s to address something, I get apologies and results in spades, good for the OP for doing so.

  8. Mr. TheShack says:

    I repeat, we as the salesman CAN NOT accept this donation for us. Please go to your local radioshack and fact check this. I guarantee this is YOUR fault. I have worked for RS for 3 years, and I know the POS inside and out. We cannot put this on for you.

    • CTAUGUST says:

      RS, did you see how a former manager above (Dwight) just claimed it IS possible for a cashier to add the SKU of a $1 donation to the purchase manually? Not saying that is happening as I suspect many of these customers are approving it on screen without reading.

      However, you are saying it can’t be done and the manager above is explaining how you can. Both methods of adding the $1 seem possible.

      • Kitamura says:

        I think the problem is they’re a “former” employee. There’s a current employee there who’s posted in the same thread saying that doing what the other person said just sends a prompt message to the pinpad.

        It’s possible that there are different methods based on the radio shack in question, but it appears that they may have altered it so you must hit yes at the pinpad to approve the charge in an attempt to avoid this exact problem of “unauthorized” donations.

    • That's Consumer007 to you says:

      Ummmm…NO. It is NOT the customer’s fault. Once somebody says NO, the cashier should either make double damn sure the dollar isn’t taken out, or the manager should make double damn sure cashiers don’t have an incentive or the ability to make the donation without the customer’s consent.

      This whole damn thing is a joke – and shouldn’t be legal to have any charity anything in the POS system. The donation jar works, use it and leave people the frick alone when they are checking out.

      • pop top says:

        If you would’ve actually read what was being said, the CUSTOMER is prompted to click either yes or no on the card machine to donate. The CASHIER has nothing to do with that part of the transaction.

      • Kitamura says:

        While I agree that the employee should have taken greater pains to express that even if you tell them no, you must still press no on the pinpad (assuming this radio shack works in the same fashion as the one presented in the previous article), at some point the customer should take responsibility for actually reading what they’re hitting yes for on the pinpad.

        The very fact that they didn’t catch the problem until they got home indicates that they didn’t even look at the “Purchase $X.XX?” screen that shows up on the pinpad asking you to verify that the amount you’re going to be charged matches the till.

        I don’t disagree that a simple donation jar is generally more suitable, but they tend to be prone to theft given how they have to be left on the counter, and most charities don’t send out collection boxes that can be bolted down. Also with so many people going “cashless” and relying entirely on plastic for all purchases, you need to find some way to include that segment of people in case they do want to make a donation while similarly preventing your employees from just adding donations to a customer’s bill without consent.

        Requiring the customer to press Yes on the pinpad while similarly not allowing the employee to override the decision theoretically meets all the requirements of not allowing unauthorized donations, but it relies on everyone involved to actually pay attention to the transaction instead of blindly pressing Ok at every prompt.

      • friday3 says:

        The customer either gave the cash and received change, or pushed something on a pad. The customer never bothered to look at their receipt. The same kind of person who probably thought something was 1.99, and got home to find out it was 2.19 and spends an hour bitching about it, instead of reading the receipt before leaving the store.

  9. Terek Kincaid says:

    I just got back from shopping at CVS, and their credit card terminal had the same thing (for Children’s Miracle Network, I think). The very first prompt that came up was to donate $1 or not. If you just mash buttons, it’s likely to go through without your intention. I was careful and didn’t, but since it was CMN, now I think I should have. Accidentally giving to Livestrong would be infuriating, though, since Lance Armstrong is such a douchebag.

    • idip says:

      and of course the money is going to him and not to cancer research. :-|

      • Terek Kincaid says:

        Well, I can give to ACS or any number of other cancer charities without having to give one more ounce of publicity to that narcissistic piece of crap.

      • Smashville says:

        Yes, but considering it’s in the name of Lance Armstrong and Nike…and there are plenty of other organizations that do the exact same thing…you do get to have a choice of where your money goes.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Just go online and donate directly to the charity. I prefer to do this anyway, and I try to find local charities that don’t get nearly as many donations as national ones do. The Humane Society may not need my money as much as the animal group that started in my area that rescues puppy mill dogs.

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        from a volunteer cat rescuing not for profit organization – thank you very much for the local type donations. i wish more people thought that way.

    • KyleOrton says:

      My problem is that I absolutely LOVE mashing buttons, I HATE reading the pad. Whatever happened to the RFID tag payment devices that got around all of this? I want a payment device that I can just slap with my wallet and walk away from.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        Citi and AmEx have that, I believe. The Express pay option is available on a lot of those credit card POS terminals. It bypasses all of those charity questions and just charges your card when you put it against the sensor. I paid this way last week at Whole Foods.

  10. bigd738778 says:

    I now understand why they changed their name to the “Shack”. They should have called it “Craigs List presents the Shack”. This place just like the 70’s and Disco should die already, they served a short purpose but I can’t understand why anyone still shops them.

    • Mr. TheShack says:

      And you know, I work here, and I ask myself that every day. “Why do people even come here?”. It’s all geriatrics and weirdos like 90% of the time. But we still turn a profit and our store constantly has customers in it crying about some damn problem.

    • BlueFox says:

      I shop there occasionally. If I need just a small part or something. Obviously other people shop there as well as there would have been no story if anyone didn’t. :)

      Still, I don’t shop there much as they have gotten rid of many of the things I used to shop there for and the prices tend to be out of this world.

    • Terek Kincaid says:

      Radio Shack has been around a long time. They use to sell electronic parts, back when people did that kind of stuff as a hobby and before internet wholesalers could under cut them. I also used to get all of my amateur radio stuff there. They’ve pretty much stopped carrying all of that stuff when the world stopped caring about buying it (with cell phones and internet, who needs ham radio anymore?). To survive, they had to basically make themselves a clone of the electronics department at Wal-mart with a more knowledgeable staff. You get old people and Unabomber wannabes going there now because that’s the only electronic store they remember. It used to be, if it had transistors and was smaller than a breadbox, then you bought it at Radio Shack.

      But times have changed, and apparently so has “The Shack”.

  11. ben says:

    Regardless of whose fault it is, I just don’t understand why RS (and other stores) feel the need to collect donations from people. If RS wants to donate some of their money to charity, they should feel free to do that. If I want to donate money to charity, I’ll do that on my own. When I go to a store to purchase something, that is what I want to purchase. I don’t need a store to collect charity money for me.

    • CTAUGUST says:

      I agree 100%!! I am lost as to why Radio Shack and CVS (also mentioned here) are asking CUSTOMERS to add $1 to each purchase. I find it rude!

      Why are Radio Shack and CVS DONATING THEMSELVES $1 from each purchase made (over a certain amount perhaps) to these charities out of their pockets?? They can both easily afford to. It’s a tax writeoff for their corporations.

      Why is cornering customers and making THEM feel they should be the ones adding $1 to popular? Suprised more customers don’t chime up.

    • Hogan1 says:

      It’s typically a PR thing but some match donations made by customers; which is a good thing.

    • Coelacanth says:

      It’s also probably some corporate thing to make the executives feel they’re demonstrating “social awareness” and living up to “corporate responsibility.”

      PR hogwash, entirely.

    • pittstonjoma says:

      I know that Rite Aid and Weis Markets both match customer donations. I personally think it’s a good idea to have an easy way to donate to a good cause. Rite Aid also gives coupons, so if you purchase just one of the items that have coupons and use the coupon, you’re getting your money back.

      Of course, if you’re worried where the money’s going, perhaps donating to the charities in question directly would be a better idea?

  12. Shakinbakon says:

    First, I would like to know if she paid by cash or card. If it was card, then she should have been reading the prompts before she was just pressing buttons.

  13. Shakinbakon says:

    First, I would like to know if she paid by cash or card. If it was card, then she should have been reading the prompts before she was just pressing buttons.

  14. CTAUGUST says:

    First off, a “voice mail for the CEO” of Radio Shack will accomplsh nothing. There needs to be a written account of this sent to RS and to the Attorney General’s office in your state.

    That said, when the Radio Shack employee wrote to say the customer has to press “yes” on a card swipe device in order to say yes to the donation and would be assuming the “yes” is for the total and hitting it without realizing, that did make perfect sense. I have seen that also.

    However, for this to be happening again says to me some Radio Shack clerks are adding a $1 or the checkout procedue is confusing customers and causing them to say yes to donations on a screen they don’t intend to. Radio Shack has to change this fast before the story spreads and a few AG offices threaten to come after them.

  15. IphtashuFitz says:

    Mr. RS Man, read the post from Dwight. He claims it is possible. Which of you, given the evidence at hand, is correct?

  16. Shakinbakon says:

    First, I would like to know if she paid by cash or card. If it was card, then she should have been reading the prompts before she was just pressing buttons.

  17. pengajim says:

    So if they expect you to drive back to the store to get your refund. Maybe you should make them go to small claims court?

  18. He says:

    Yesterday at Radio Shack, the lady in front of me appeared to not even touch the terminal and the cashier said “Oh, you accepted before I could give my spiel. You just chose to donate a dollar to Livestrong. Let me cancel that out.” I paid didn’t get the option myself and didn’t get to see the screen that was presented, but based on what I saw, it must be super easy to pick yes.

    • oloranya says:

      Overactive pinpad, maybe? Every now and then the ones were I work go all loopy and start picking up the presence of the pen before it even touches the screen.

  19. KAnne123 says:

    I can understand how many stupid people don’t even read the prompts. I work in retail and when we first got our pinpads at the cash wraps, about half the customers clicked “No” when asked if the amount is correct because they thought it was asking if they would like cash back.

    That being said I don’t understand how people don’t read the pin pads. Almost every store I go to has a different set of directions on their pin pads. Click Yes for Credit, Green for Debit, No I don’t Want Cash Back, Yes the Amount is Correct (Sometimes I have to click this Twice), Yes or No the Associate Greeted Me or the Store is Clean. It’s your own responsibility to read what you’re signing, especially when it comes to signing away your money. We can’t baby sit you for your whole entire life.

    • That's Consumer007 to you says:

      Let me explain something to you. The customers should not be having to read pin pads, deal with that, or even swiping the cards at all. That is YOUR work as a cashier. Why do you think people should be paying you to do YOUR work? For you to call them stupid when you are being lazy and overpaid is really over the top.

      • lukesdad says:

        So you want the cashier to come over and swipe the card and hit all the buttons for you? If the card reader and PIN pad on the customer’s side of the counter was so unpopular I doubt it would be standard at ~90% of retailers for the last decade or so.

        Personally, I like keeping my card in my possession at all times and swiping it myself. How is it such and inconvenience to have to read a one-sentence direction and hit the button?

        • pittstonjoma says:

          Exactly! I actually do have to put up with customers that want me to do everything for them. They’ll even tell me their pin numbers. That kind of worries me because these people probably tell their pin numbers to cashiers that may not be quite so honest.

      • Kitamura says:

        Uhh, sorry, but I don’t feel comfortable giving the cashier my card and pin numbers. The whole idea behind having the CUSTOMER pin pad/swipe machine is because many customers would feel more comfortable if the cashier never touches their card at all.

        It also adds a layer of accountability. If the cashier quotes a total and the pinpad verification shows a different total, the customer has the opportunity to say, hey there’s a mistake here. By having the cashier go end to end, if a mistake happens, you the customer is going to be boned in all likelihood.

    • pittstonjoma says:

      I STILL get a lot of customers canceling out their transactions because they think it’s for cash back! I try to hit “YES” for the amount OK prompt just so I don’t have to deal with it. A lot of the customers get angry like it’s my fault because they didn’t bother to read the screen. Oy.

  20. SnoopyFish says:

    Wow. I know that a dollar saved is a better than a dollar earned. But how can somebody be so “furious” when at least that dollar is going to something like cancer research. It may hopefully help save a life; or down the line perhaps even hers.

    • treimel says:

      Well, I’d be furious because charities get much, much more of a piece iof that dollar when you donate *directly* to the charity. As this very blog says, if you want to give to a charity–give it direct. I, for one, have no desire to contribute to added overhead and administration.

    • That's Consumer007 to you says:

      Please see my reply to TheJinManCan above, thanks.

    • dm_chat says:

      So if your colleague or friend or neighbour took out five bucks from your wallet without your permission and gave it to charity, will you be ok with that? Should you justify a wrong action because it is in the name of charity? What an idiotic coment!

    • Smashville says:

      And that is exactly where the problem is.

      They can take your money without asking…and make you feel like the tool in the situation for asking for your money back, despite not giving it. No matter what kind of good the charity does, it’s all moot if it does it with money that’s been obtained illegally or unscrupulously.

  21. Hogan1 says:

    Did she use the POS device?

    Radioshack already offered to refund her dollar but she has declined it and instead would rather waste more time then it would take to drive back calling in complaints. In all liklihood she made an error with the POS device like the previous post. But since Villareal never asks any questions before writing we’ll never know. :(

  22. Terek Kincaid says:

    Ok, reading all of the above comments, I think I can sum up:


    In this case, justified!

    • SudhamayiKabong says:

      Or you could open your mind to the possibility that it might not be. Take Win’s post, for example. That presents the possibility that this might not be the OP’s fault after all, but a misconception that anyone could fall victim to. Or consider the post written by the ex-employee, who makes it very clear that a clerk could fraudulently add a donation to a customer’s order without his or her consent after all.

      So yeah, it’s not justified. Not necessarily. But don’t let that keep you folks from blaming the OP anyway!

  23. d0x360 says:

    After too many bad experience at Radio Shack I cant bring myself to even walk in there anymore. I tell everyone I know to ignore it because you can find anything they sell for cheaper in other stores or online and without all the hassle.

    Hell Id wager you could buy something on Amazon and pay for next day shipping and it would still be cheaper than going to Radio Shack…or The Shack as they like to call it for some reason. Funny how they said they made those ads because thats what everyone calls it…ive never heard a single person refer to the store as The Shack.

  24. kaceetheconsumer says:

    Here’s the thing: even if it is the customer’s fault and even if it is only a dollar and even if people should pay attention to things before clicking on them, the real issue is that Radio Shack has chosen to collect donations in a way that, for some customers, is problematic. That means they’re less concerned about the problem as a corporation than the collection. There’s a high probability that they get something out of the deal – either a piece of the donation “to cover costs” or at the very least, publicity – so they are considering that motivation before that of their customers.

    Having had the misfortune to need to go to Radio Shack on occasions before I had other options, I can absolutely say that EVERY time I’ve been to that store in the US, someone has tried to sell me something I don’t want and put on a high-pressure pitch despite my firm refusal. Usually, it’s cell phones. Once it was an RC vehicle-toy-thing. It’s been decades since I’ve had anything close to decent customer service (and by decent, I mean just not being a jerk…I don’t even mean actual service like answering questions) at Radio Shack and I stopped shopping there for that reason.

    I would urge those in need of components to check out Fry’s or other stores in their area, if available (and I do know that sometimes there isn’t one).

  25. Win says:


    I was at the local shopping mall today (Bethesda, Maryland) and stopped in at the Radio Shack. I took a package of batteries to the counter to purchase. The associate entered my purchase in the register. He asked me if I wanted to donate a dollar for cancer research. I politely declined. Then…

    I swept my credit card. On the screen came a question in 8pt (tiny) type – the minimum size of those required disclaimers in print ads. It asked…

    (“Do you want to donate $1 to the Lance Armstrong…). Beneath it, in their usual corners, were two standard size buttons – exactly in the placement and color scheme as the routine checkout buttons. They were the usual “ACCEPT” (Green), and “CANCEL” (Red).

    Here’s the problem. There is no clear OPT-OUT. As a consumer who has been trained to recognize CANCEL as an instruction to void the ENTIRE transaction, one usually does not recognize this as an opt-out in the middle of a transaction.

    If I were to have pressed “ACCEPT,” I would have been charged the dollar donation. I pressed “CANCEL”, expecting to have to start the transaction again.

    But it didn’t cancel the transaction. The transaction then went on to add up my purchase (without the donation) and present me with the same green and red buttons. Except this time the green button said “PAY NOW” while the red button said “CANCEL”. I pressed the green button. The transaction completed without the donation add on.

    A usability issue? I doubt it. This is a classic misuse of routine behavior. I call it “Mind Control Marketing.”

    I called Media Relations at Radio Shack, to give them a chance to comment before I posted this to social marketing professionals worldwide. I got…

    An answering machine. As for me, I won’t be pushing any more buttons at Radio Shack without first checking *very* carefully.

  26. ATDean1 says:

    *** Update ***

    The POS system’s original design date goes back to 1991. Most of the Verifone pads are new (They run Windows CE on their own). Those two facts alone make cashiering at Radioshack, to put it nicely, a chore.

    Because of the nature of people to swipe their card preemptively, combined with the donation prompt stopping atm/Visa/MC/Disc/AmEx authentication, and – forcing a reauthentication if the associate forcibly stops the donation prompt -, a pretty screen comes up that looks surprisingly like the “OK AMOUNT?”, I have had to eject out of the total screen just to fix people’s ineptitude in selecting the correct choice at the donation prompt.

    Let me say it differently, I have said exactly, “That is a donation prompt to give $1 to Lance Armstrong’s Cancer Research Foundation”: (Pretty GREEN=yes button UGLY RED=no button) and people at least once a day, continue to press the green button WHILE they say “No.”

    So please, with sugar on top, stop inferring that us dismally paid associates are up to no good. This is public service, considering the free advice that we readily give out to people.. all day.

    And some of us do it because we still like the public.


  27. Scuba Steve says:

    Can we get a video of the livestrong donation process so we can determine if people are being taken advantage of?

    I don’t want to seem like I’m questioning the OP, but every time we post one of these stories we get a few “You can’t do that, its not possible” comments that I’d like to nip in the bud, so to speak.

  28. Wombatish says:

    Not every Radio Shack has the same PoS sytem.

    At one near Denton, TX, there was -never- an option on the PoS system to donate or not, it was only used for signature capture. The clerk did ask if I wanted to donate or not however, and pushed a button on the register when I said no.

  29. mamacat49 says:

    I just got back from RadioShack. You have to actively press the “CANCEL” prompt (it appears you’re canceling your entire transaction).

  30. Chuck Norris' wig says:

    Cancer will never be cured anyway, so it’s all kind of pointless.

    The money isn’t in the cure, it’s in the treatment. That’s why.

  31. AlphaLackey says:

    Though I’m not a religious person by nature, I do love responding to retorts of ‘.. but it’s Christmas’ with a reminder that public giving of alms is quite un-Christian (Matthew 6:1-4).

    • mattisimo says:

      Never heard of that verse, but after reading it here, the point would seem to be more about the motive behind the giving, regardless of the setting. Not religious either, just a fan of context.

      • AlphaLackey says:

        Well, the point always struck me as “giving in charity in public is only to make yourself look good”, which seems to be exactly what they’re trying to do. “Would you like to donate $1 for Great Justice” or whatever cause they’re touting isn’t whether about you are charitable or care about Great Justice, but it’s designed to make you look cheap if you say “no”. They’re hoping you’re more concerned about saving face than about the actual act of charity.

        Likewise, public solicitation of charity isn’t about “caring about Great Justice”, it’s about “getting to make a big tax write off at your expense”.

        So, the message I always got was “true charity is quiet and anonymous, because you’re doing it to do good, not to LOOK good”. YMMV, as they say.

  32. SquareBubbles says:

    This is absurd. I thought it was established that RadioShack employees can’t force a donation on you and that the customers are likely not paying attention and are choosing to donate at the terminal.

    I also find it ridiculous that these two people are “furious” that they donated one dollar to charity because they, very likely, were not paying attention.

    This is a non-issue and I can’t believe that Consumerist is running it

  33. Zen Render says:

    The only real question I have is this:

    Is this one of those “donation” systems where the Livestrong groups get 100% of every dollar earned, or do they get a lump sum, and then RadShack can collect whatever it can? Often, this starts out to make sure a charity gets a minimum, but seems like it’s been abused more and more lately so it’s a cash grab by the donating company “in the name of” a real charity.

    But yeah, the “Cancel” instead of “No” thing is pretty shifty.

    …I’ve always wondered why, when the cashier says “Anything else?” I can’t answer “Yeah, and that TV behind you, for free please,” and if they then give you a total, why doesn’t that count as “part of the deal?”

    Also, can I use some more quotes, please?

  34. officeboy says:

    Is this Livestrong the FOR Profit Lance Armstrong marketing business, or for LAF (Lance Armstrong Foundation) the nonprofit charity? (livestrong.com or .org)

  35. Tiandli says:

    The customer said “No” and should not be asked again if they want to donate. If I decline donation, I should not be asked again either by another employee or a machine.

    The customer should also be alerted about the prompt on the card reader. If say “No”, why should I expect another method to be used to again ask for a donate? Should I also look at the back of my receipt for fine print saying “Any purchase at this store authorizes a donation”?

    There is a better way for Radio Shack to do this instead of badgering a customer for donations. Instead of asking, inform the customer there will be a prompt on the card reader to accept or decline donation.

  36. superbenA02 says:

    I had bought this bracelet at Radio Shack for $1 that they were selling for the Livestrong and had no problem. Maybe it is only this specific store or maybe she hit something on the POS terminal keypad/touchscreen when it asked something like “Would you like to donate $1 to the Livestrong Foundation?”. I saw something like that for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital on the POS screen at the CVS Pharmacy near my house recently.

  37. kindness105 says:

    Once the customer said No there was no reason for her to think she would have to say no again. Once the employee asked her and she stated No the employee should have then informed her that she must click no on the pad, who expects to answer a question twice in one transaction?

  38. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    My guess is that the salesperson/cashier gets a spiff or bonus for every donation they can wrangle from customers.

    I would go back to the store and get a refund. Sure, it’s only $1. But it’s the principle.

    And yes, I agree with everyone else.. check your receipt before you leave the store.

  39. YourSoundtrack says:

    After lurking for 2+ years, I finally got an account in order to chime in on this…

    It adds another murky layer to the whole mess, but it COULD be that the OP (in both cases) has been in a Dealer/Franchise store… The Dealer side uses a totally different POS system where any donations would have to be entered by the associate. Not sure what the motivation would be to just add the donation like this (then again, this IS the same company who for years insisted we “assume the sale” on batteries/accessories when selling end products). Perhaps a store owner or a District Manager is running some kind of contest & someone wants to win by any means necessary… In my opinion, the first thing to find out in order to resolve this issue is whether the OP was in a corporate or dealer store.

    (FYI, you can tell if you’ve been in a corporate or dealer store by the store number on your receipt: Store numbers starting with 22- followed by a letter & 3 numbers indicate dealers; store numbers starting with 01- followed by four numbers are corporate.)

  40. cptkincaid says:

    Ok my turn to chime in. I too work for RadioShack and I’d first like to say the only way we can add the donation is to sell you a Livestrong bracelet. Second we recieve no compensation for recieving donations. I myself will ask the customer if they would like to donate and if so to press the accept button, if not hit cancel. I’ll watch what they choose and if they press accept I’ll thank them for the donation. If the customer hits accept before I have the chance to tell them I make sure I let them know they just selected to donate and ask if that is what they ment to do, if not I’ll delete it from the ticket.

    Regardless of what happened, and what store you’re in please check your reciept before you leave the store and if somethings not correct ask politely to have it fixed.

  41. quail says:

    Petsmart has a similar charity thing that occurs at their credit card capture device. It is incredibly easy to accidentally press the ‘yes’ button and make a dollar donation to an animal charity. You have to consciously read the screen to not do it. I assume that Radio Shack’s system is the same? The system is set up to make it easier to donate than to not donate.

  42. texeddie says:

    The vast majority of money given to livestrong goes to cancer “awareness” NOT cancer research.

    I don’t blame Cheryl. Your money is going to pay for Lance’s private plane.

  43. Akula765 says:

    Another RS employee here…

    Every associate in my store, and every associate in other stores I’ve been in always verbally mentions the donation when the prompt is on the screen. As has been stated, only the customer can add it on.

    Out of the thousands of tickets I’ve written since this program started, only two people have inadvertently his accept. Both times they were too busy yammering on a cell phone to pay attention to the prompt, apparently.

    Customers do a lot of stupid things. And most times, I’ll take the blame for it, and do what it takes to correct the problem. If the customer doesn’t understand how to use a product I’ll teach them. They busted their phone and it’s not covered by the extended warranty I sold them? I’ll spend a day playing CSR roulette and bullshitting the warranty people to get the phone fixed. But there’s a line.

    If your too self important to pay attention to a simple yes or no question, I have no sympathy for you. I am not responsible for everything you do. Grow up.