I Joked With Radio Shack Clerk About Livestronging, Still Got Livestronged

James went into Radio Shack determined to make a purchase without getting stung by the forced $1 Livestrong donation some customers say they’re finding on their receipts. He even joked with the clerk about the phenomenon. Then when he looked at his receipt, sure enough he found out he was an unwilling donor.

He writes:

As a long-time reader, I have seen both articles you ran recently about the Livestrong “scam” going on at RadioShack. I needed to buy a new coin battery for my car key remote, and when I checked out I was sure to pay attention to the prompts, even joked about it with the cashier about what I had read online. I am 100% positive I read the prompts and declined to make the $1 donation. I walked out the door and looked at my receipt before throwing it away, and sure enough there it was: a $1 donation to Livestrong on the receipt! I’m an informed, educated consumer who knew about a potential pitfall, intentionally declined the charge, and still got charged! I turned around, asked for a refund, and walked out with my reclaimed dollar. Everyone check your receipts, or just don’t shop at RadioShack anymore — that’s my plan.

Former Radio Shack employee Dwight came forward with some info that disputes a current employee’s assertion that Radio Shack workers can’t force the donation:

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.

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.

(Thanks, Matthew!)