Borders Tells Me Returns And Exchanges Are The Same, I Can Do Neither

Quadmama wanted to exchange a pair of books she received as gifts, but the manager stonewalled her because she was 60 days outside of the return window. When Quadmama reiterated that she wanted to exchange the books for replacements, not return them for money, the manager told her that for the bookstore’s policy purposes, a return is the same as an exchange.

She writes:

Borders thinks returns and exchanges are the same thing.

When I was 9 months pregnant with my second daughter, a friend bought us some books from Borders. Two of the books were ones my daughter already owned, but since we had the gift receipts I thought I would just go exchange them for new ones. The next couple of months were a little busy to say the least. I finally got a chance to take my 2-year-old to Borders this past weekend to let her pick out new books in exchange for the two she already owns. I looked at the receipt to make sure there weren’t any time frames I needed to adhere to in order to make the exchange. Everything printed on the receipt mentioned returns needing to happen within 60 days if you had the gift receipt. Exchanges were mentioned, but only for items like audio books, music, videos, etc. not regular books. I thought, “Great, I’m covered since I only want to make an exchange of regular books.”

When I got to Borders, I went right up to the counter and explained that I wanted to exchange two books for new ones since we already owned them. The Borders employee said that she didn’t think she could exchange them since it was past 60 days. I told her that I checked the policy on the receipt and it doesn’t mention anything about exchanges of regular books, only returns. She said she’d call a manager over to see if there was anything they could do. I don’t know about you, but the last time I looked it up, returns and exchanges were different things. In the case of a return, you receive a refund when bringing merchandise back. When you’re exchanging something, you do exactly that; exchange one thing for another and pay any price difference. Their policy even differentiates the two, but they don’t make any mention of exchanging regular books.

A manager came over and reiterated what the employee had said, but then he added that, “When it says ‘Returns’ it means ‘Exchanges’ too.” Then why doesn’t it say that? I was just about to argue back when he said it wasn’t that big of a deal and they could give me store credit for the two books I brought back. Whew, crisis and angry customer with squirmy toddler leaving very unhappy averted. Perhaps Borders should brush up on their vocabulary and print their Returns and Exchanges policy in a way that actually differentiates the two and mentions regular books.

Here is the full text of the policy as printed on their receipt:

“Returns of merchandise purchased from a Borders, Borders Express or Waldenbooks retail store will be permitted only if presented in saleable condition accompanied by the original sales receipt or Borders gift receipt within the time periods specified below. Returns accompanied by the original sales receipt must be made within 30 days of purchase and the purchase price will be refunded I the same form as the original purchase. Returns accompanied by the original Borders gift receipt must be made within 60 days of purchase and the purchase price will be refunded in the form of a return gift card.

Exchanges of opened audio books, music, videos, video games, software and electronics will be permitted subject to the same time periods and receipt requirements as above and can be made for the same item only.

Periodicals, newspapers, comic books, food and drink, digital downloads, gift cards, return gift cards, items marked ‘non-returnable,’ ‘final sale’ or the like and out-of-print, collectible or pre-owned items cannot be returned or exchanged.

Returns and exchanges to a Borders, Borders Express or Waldenbooks retail store of merchandise purchased from may be permitted in certain circumstances. See for details.”

It would be helpful if Borders was clear in its policy about exchanges counting as returns.

If you’ve managed to exchange a book at Borders after 60 days, let us know how you made the magic happen.