OfficeMax Needs To Get Its Story Straight Before Selling Any More RAM

Daniel writes that a recent experience with OfficeMax taught him an important lesson: don’t believe a damn word of what anyone at this particular OfficeMax says. A store employee assured Daniel that he knew what type of RAM was the correct one for his Macbook Pro…and was wrong. When Daniel tried to return the RAM, a manager told him that opened RAM couldn’t be returned, but he could dispute the charge with his credit card company…but the chargeback was denied, with OfficeMax claiming that Daniel should have taken the item back to the store.

I wanted to let you know about a shady Office Max experience I had.

On August 15th, I wanted to upgrade the RAM in my computer, so I went to Office Max #[redacted] in [redacted] to purchase it. I forgot the piece of paper that had the info on it, but while talking to Office Max Associate and explaining that I had the newest Macbook Pro and wanted to double the RAM, but wasn’t sure what kind it took. He said that he had the same Macbook Pro and knew what kind it took. He sold me 2 – 2GB DDR2 Ram chips and assured me they would work.

Of course when I get home and try to install them, they don’t fit – my Macbook takes DDR3 and they don’t fit. So less than an hour after I purchase them, I go back to Office Max to return them. The cashier tells me they don’t return open ram for any reason. I asked for the Manager and explained that their employee told me they would work – which is the only reason I purchased them. I even got the employee who verified that he did tell me they would work. The manager refused to take them back stating, “Our policy does not allow us to return opened RAM. But you can dispute it through your credit card company”.

On August 17th, I open a dispute with Bank of America who issues a temporary credit for $178.59. On October 12, 2010, I receive a letter from Bank of America saying that they were unable to resolve with Office Max and enclosed Office Max’s response, “The customer should have known what RAM their system used. He purchased 2 ram chips and should not have opened both of them if they didn’t fit. The customer should have simply returned the ram to the store prior to the return cut off date for a refund”.

WTF? Clearly this person was not from the store, I called Bank of America and they said since I am still in posession of the RAM, my only recourse is talk to the store manager. I explained again, that they the Store Manager told me to dispute it because they don’t return RAM even if they tell you it will work.

So now I am out $178.59 because Office Max sold me RAM that their employee assured me would work, but did not. I explained that I still have it and would be more than happy to return it, I’m sure they can resale it for someone to use in a system that takes DDR2 ram, but they are refusing.

Any suggestions??

The best options at this point are to find someone who needs DDR2 RAM and take a loss, or handle things the Consumerist way, with an executive e-mail carpet bomb. Other readers have used this method and succeeded. Here are some OfficeMax addresses to get you started.

Upgrading RAM on a notebook computer isn’t difficult at all…as long as you buy the correct type. For Mac users like Daniel, this information should be available in the “About this Mac” window, and the information is also readily available online if you’re not familiar with the guts of your computer. I like the Memory Advisor on Crucial’s site: it’s useful even if you don’t end up buying your memory from Crucial. (Yes, I am aware that the illustration to this post doesn’t show a DDR3.)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Umm, BBB complaint?

    • SonarTech52 says:

      A BBB complaint is fine, and sometimes will get the company to take another look at the situation. However, the BBB has no real authority to make anything happen.

      If you really want results, you should contact the AG Consumer Protection (or whatever its called in your state)

      • common_sense84 says:

        A BBB complaint is good. He can put all the details in correctly. And when OfficeMax responds, that too is on the record.

        • SonarTech52 says:

          True, it is on the record.. But that’s really only good for people checking on a company before they deal with someone. Like I said, they have no authority to do anything.

          Attorney General on the other hand, can make things happen. One company I’ve dealt with, did not respond how the AG wanted them to, or whatever.. The AG made that company go back through 7 years of complaints, and make sure they were resolved and recheck with all of the complainers.

          • Gulliver says:

            So the customer bought something for HIS computer, that he did not purchase at Office Max, and he expects they should know what he needs? Please, if you are that reliant on other people for things in your life, you should not be allowed to use a computer in the first place.

            • KeithIrwin says:

              I’m all for the customer being responsible, but in this case, the problem wasn’t his ignorance, it was that the employee mislead him. If the store employees don’t know what your computer needs, then they shouldn’t claim to.

    • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

      Gets you nowhere. The BBB is a joke.

    • nallanos says:

      bbb does nothing about this.

    • Difdi says:

      Consumerist is more likely to work. The Better Business Bureau is a private organization that rates businesses, not a government agency. All the BBB can do is post a negative rating, and that’s all, they have no enforcement capability. And if OfficeMax doesn’t care about the BBB, they won’t care about complaints to the BBB either.

  2. agent 47 says:

    Lesson? Don’t buy a Mac.

    • Whtthfgg says:

      attempting to start a flame ware with a pointless off-topic comment??

      • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

        That’s practically the national sport around here. People spewing random bile about things they don’t know anything about.

        If you substitute “HP” for “Mac” in the story, it’s still relevant.

        • Murph1908 says:

          “Evil Otto”

          That’s redundant. Every “Otto” in the world has been evil.

          Otto Preminger
          Otto IV of Rome
          Otto Frank, Ann’s dad
          And that bouncy ball thing in Berzerk.

          Come back when you have something to contribute.

          (How’d I do? Did I make the team?)
          (Yes, I know. That’s part of the joke.)

        • c!tizen says:

          It’s the internet dude, where have you been?

      • agent 47 says:

        Nah, just some good natured ribbing.

    • Rocket says:

      Lesson: make sure you know what RAM you need, don’t trust store employees.

    • jason in boston says:

      If he bought a thinkpad, he would have the same exact issue.

      • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

        Eh, if a person is willing to pay the premium for a Mac, I’m kind of surprised they wouldn’t just go to an Apple store and buy the perfect virginal memory whispered on by Steve Jobs himself at similarly inflated prices. At least there will be no doubt.

        • SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

          There is the sanity that is buying a mac, then there is the insanity that is paying for apple’s memory prices.

          • sqlrob says:

            Ugh. No kidding. When I was checking memory for my PowerBook, the price difference between Apple Store and anywhere else was 10X, no joke. Apple was $300, New Egg was $30

            • OutPastPluto says:

              …so this guy could go somewhere else, buy what he really needs, and still come out WAY ahead relative to Apple’s prices.

      • c!tizen says:

        If he bought a Thinkpad instead of an MacBook he would have been able to afford the 4 gigs with the system, a faster processor, a bigger hard drive, and a 2 week vacation in Vegas with a high-class hooker in a 5-star resort.

        • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

          Really? Because the Thinkpad I have work cost almost as much as my MBP and has roughly similar specs.

    • Anathema777 says:

      So what you’re saying is, “I read four words of this story and understood only one of them”?

    • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

      If you don’t buy a computer to begin with, you’ll never have to worry about RAM. :D

    • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

      No, Lesson: Don’t go to Officemax if you are ill-equipped with knowledge about your own computer system.

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      Although that’s a good thing to keep in mind, that categorically isn’t the lesson here.

      The lesson here is NEVER go to a big-box store of any kind for any computing needs or advice of any type. ALWAYS go to a small, locally owned and operated store, where there are people who actually have some clue as to what they are doing. Because the surest way to determine that someone is technically inept is to find that they work for a big box retailer.

    • Megladon says:

      Apple touches kids

    • kc2idf says:

      Wrong lesson. Newer PCs use DDR3 RAM, also.

      There are two lessons here:
      1. Do your homework.
      2. Buy your RAM from someone who knows what they are doing and has the right price. He was overcharged about $100.00.

      • lordargent says:

        My biggest question is, why is he buying ram from Office Max?

        My second biggest question is, why is he buying ram from office max instead of from an apple store?

        My third biggest question is, why isn’t he buying ram from Newegg?

        • lordargent says:

          My fourth biggest question is, who pays $178.59 for 2x2gb of DDR2? I know obsolete ram goes up in price due to scarcity. But that’s ridiculous.

          On my core I7 build, I got this 6GB triple channel kit for $155

          CORSAIR XMS3 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600

  3. jason in boston says:

    Call the District manager or corporate. This manager is just trying to keep his numbers up. However, this is a crappy situation because newegg has the same policy. Open ram cannot be returned.

    I guess lesson learned (who takes their laptops to staples / best buy / officemax / office depot for advice?). If you read your manual, you will see what kind of ram and how dead simple it is to change the ram. Or, you know, you could have just called Apple. Their phone support is pretty good.

  4. Gravitational Eddy says:

    Small claims court.

    • KeithIrwin says:

      Indeed. There’s this thing called “the warranty of fitness for particular purpose” (or “warranty of fitness” for short) which you might want to look into. In the US, it’s part of the uniform commercial code. Basically, it works like this: if you come into a store and say “I need a thing for X purpose” and they tell you that you should buy thing Y for that purpose and you buy thing Y on their advice and take it home and try to use it for purpose X and it doesn’t work, then they have to give you your money back. Here’s the Wikipedia summary:

      I am not a lawyer and you are not my client, but to my reading of the incident, this sounds like exactly what has happened to you. As such, their store policy is irrelevant. They must refund your money. I would consider first having a visit with the store manager in which you bring a copy of the appropriate part of the uniform commercial code along to show him. If this doesn’t change his mind, small claims court is your best option. If the facts are as you describe and you can demonstrate most of them to the satisfaction of the court, then the judge will definitely rule in your favor.

      • obits3 says:

        I was just about to bring this up. My professor would talk about going into a hardware store and asking for a rope strong enough to pull your house off the foundation…

  5. Wayne W says:

    You should have gone back home and gotten the paper you’d written “the info” on. I use a Mac and have always double and triple checked before I bought any ram.

    • keepher says:

      Same thing I thought. Why didn’t he check what he had written down to verify it was correct? Especially since he already had it handy for making the purchase.

  6. madtube says:

    I would eBay the RAM. You might not get the full price, but it hurt less.

  7. guymandude says:

    Whoever said NewEgg doesn’t accept returned RAM is smoking crack. I returned 4GB of Ram to them about a month ago with no trouble.

  8. BannedInBrittan says:

    You know BestBuy would have allowed him to return opened ram :P /troll
    Also 4 GB of ram for $178 seems pretty steep.

  9. Straspey says:

    I realize this may get me in trouble, however…

    If I was looking to buy some RAM for my computer, I would go to a place where I could speak to somebody who had a reliable amount of expertise in computer hardware – rather to a store where the employee who is giving me advice about the proper RAM for my MAC, is also helping another customer in aisle nine with back-to-school supplies for her kids.

    You don’t walk into a hardware store and ask the clerk to advise you on which wine will go best with the fish your serving tonight.

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:


    • Putaro says:

      If you’re selling something and you give advice about it you should stand behind it.

      If employees at Office Max don’t know enough to give advice then they shouldn’t give advice. The store advised him to buy this type of RAM. If they hadn’t given him any advice it would be his problem but they told him what to buy and they were wrong.

      • fantomesq says:

        Agreed. but the OP needs to provide accurate information also – he stated he had a current MacBook Pro… If that was the case, it would already HAVE 4GB of RAM. OfficeMax AND OP fail!

        • benson304 says:

          Yeah that was what I was thinking as I read this. I have the newest model Macbook Pro and it comes with a minimum of 4GB of RAM, I’m not sure what he was accomplishing by buying 4GB again.

          You’d need to buy 2 4GB sticks to upgrade the RAM, which then brings the price to a more reasonable level as well. $178 is about right for 8GB of DDR3 at Newegg at least.

      • stlbud says:

        Generally, I would agree with you but, in the real world there are a lot of people giving advice when they should not. There are also a lot of people asking advice in places they should not.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      Yeah, because hardware stores don’t serve or sell fish, nor would anyone there be giving you that kind of advice.

      But should people avoid asking hardware store employees for advice about pipes just because they also have drinks and candy at the check out desks?

      • Straspey says:

        First of all, I should be clear that I did not intend to disparage the good intentions of the Office Max sales staff in any way; and have been the recipient of their excellent service in the past.

        However, Mobius makes my point for me when he says:

        “The employee who helped him should have known better, but they also receive no training and aren’t accountable in any way for what they do or don’t know.”

        So…if I’m going to by RAM for my computer – or spark plugs for my car, or a bottle of fine wine to serve to my dinner guests, or some quality hiking boots for my next camping trip – I will tend to select an establishment which specializes in providing those products and services, and which DOES have employees who are properly trained and ARE accountable for the advice and service they provide.

        @ Rectilinear Propagation:

        I think you may have confused my point.

        Of course I would want the clerk at the hardware store to tell me which are the best pipes to buy for my new sink – and I’m probably happy to be able to grab a cold 20 oz bottle of soda to quench my thirst while standing in the checkout line.

        However – I’m not going to ask the clerk who sold me those pipes to tell me which of those sodas are made with real sugar, because I’m trying to move away from high fructose corn syrup.

        Why ?

        Because his job and area of expertise is in plumbing supplies, not soda – regardless of whether or not the huge store in which he works happens to sell it.

    • Mobius says:

      I am a former OfficeMax Electronics Associate. The people staffed to sell computers and electronics only work in that section. They may help in other areas around the store to stock shelves at the end of the night but their main focus is the Electronics section. The employee who helped him should have known better, but they also receive no training and aren’t accountable in any way for what they do or don’t know. As far as the manager, I can say from experience that the management of these stores is incredibly inept. It was a rotten place to work and I haven’t shopped there once since leaving.

    • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

      MAC = hardware networking address.
      Mac = personal computer.

  10. Southern says:

    Laura, this story isn’t from an industry insider, why is the store number and location redacted?

  11. backinpgh says:

    Try returning to a different store until they let you. Or sell it on ebay.

  12. t325 says:

    “On August 15th, I wanted to upgrade the RAM in my computer, so I went to Office Max”

    After I read that much, I knew this would end in disaster.

    • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

      It’s Consumerist… most stories do.

      • Platypi {Redacted} says:

        Exactly, save yourself the pain. Go through NewEgg or another reputable online vendor, and you can know you are getting exactly what you need. You can order the RAM from the computer to be upgraded, so no chance of “forgetting the slip of paper.”

        This sucks for the OP though.

  13. kylere1 says:

    This just sounds, well, wrong, as if half the story was missing.

  14. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    While those are the right Lego minifigs for a MacBook Pro, the pictured RAM isn’t DDR3.

    • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

      “(Yes, I am aware that the illustration to this post doesn’t show a DDR3.)”

      Already pointed out :)

  15. SabreDC says:

    I have to side with OfficeMax on the initial refusal of the return. How can they be sure that the RAM was handled properly? Their policy is there so people don’t improperly handle sensitive electronics. However, their policy needs to be applied uniformly. Based on their response to the chargeback request, it seems as though there is an internal disconnect. There’s no excuse for that.

    Since he has exhausted all the reasonable routes at the store level, try the district/regional level before going EECB/corporate.

    • fantomesq says:

      Their policy allows for 14-day return of technology products with a restocking fee, if opened and does not make an exception for open RAM. Is THIS the policy that you want to see applied? :)

      • SabreDC says:

        You conveniently left out the last stipulation of their published return policy:

        “OfficeMax reserves the right to deny any return.”

  16. anarkie says:

    $178 for 4GB?!?! Seriously?
    Tigerdirect has 4GB for under $100. I found 8GB for about $180-190. No wonder almost all Office Max locations near me have closed. They’re worse than staples.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      DDR2 (as it is no longer the majority format) is becoming more and more expensive. Newegg just ran a special email the other day that offered 2GB of plain old DDR for $80! That is ludicrous.

      • Kryndar says:

        You gotta love RAM, the only computer part that I can think of that gets more expensive when it goes legacy.

        • wrjohnston91283 says:

          good luck finding RAMBUS anywhere.

        • KeithIrwin says:

          Our department just got some legacy servers which have been handed down to us by the university IT department. They have SCSI hard-drives in them. I just checked the prices for getting larger drives. If I wanted to step up from the 73G drives we have now to 300G drives, it would be almost $400. Of course, I could get a new 1T SATA drive for $70, but that’s no use to me since the motherboards don’t have any SATA ports. Anyway, I don’t think it’s only RAM. I think that once most anything in computers becomes a legacy part, the price goes up.

          • hansolo247 says:

            SCSI/SAS are more expensive than SATA.

            On the inside, the drives are not the same. SCSI drives have access times literally half that of SATA.

          • ShadowFalls says:

            The boards have expansion slots… get a SATA controller card… Will likely still end up ahead.

    • benson304 says:

      I am guess he made a mistake and meant 8GB, mainly because new Macbook Pros come with 4GB installed, without paying for any upgrades.

      It also brings the price to a more reasonable level.

  17. Miss Dev (The Beer Sherpa) says:

    Be an informed consumer – know what you need to buy when it comes to computer parts (or anything, for that matter) before you trust some random person at a big box store.

    Also, most (if not all) stores have Internet, so the OP could have asked to double check before purchasing the RAM.

  18. Destra says:

    What that store employee gave you was a Warranty. Yes, with a big “W.” It’s specifically, an “implied warranty for a particular purpose.” Under ALL state laws, this warranty is valid, and Officemax is breaking its contract with you. They are legally responsible for that, and by extension you’d be able to win in court. Now, whether you feel comfortable pursuing this in small claims court is another story…

    You can, however, take this information and keep at the store to return your money. Keep going up the chain.

    • Gulliver says:

      You will need to prove many things. One, did the person who sold you this actually say it? Did you provide them all the details needed to make the determination? Did the store have return policies stated clearly? Written ALWAYS trumps verbal communication. In fact, why wouldn’t the OP just ask the cashier to write, fully refundable if not compatible with my Mac

      • Destra says:

        You will need to prove many things. One, did the person who sold you this actually say it? Did you provide them all the details needed to make the determination?
        It is always the party bringing the suit that has the burden of proof, but if what the OP says about the employee backing his statement is true, then you can always use that.

        Did the store have return policies stated clearly? Written ALWAYS trumps verbal communication.
        Return polices do not trump warranties, whether or not the warranties or return policies are written or verbal. The only thing the OP has to worry about is if Office Max disclaimed any implied warranties. Posted signs, it can be argued, do not property disclaim implied warranties as the OP might or might not see them. The OP would have to most worry about a disclaimer on their receipt.

        In fact, why wouldn’t the OP just ask the cashier to write, fully refundable if not compatible with my Mac
        Because the OP doesn’t have to.

        • ShadowFalls says:

          This is why I don’t see someone giving up and letting them win. They didn’t even follow their own store policies, and the purchase was made based upon their recommendation. If you bought a CD player for your car, was told it would work, then you find out it won’t work for your car, why are you to blame if you provided sufficient details for them to make the determination.

          This should be a pretty easy case to win in small claims court. Even the chargeback dispute shows their guilt. Why would you file a chargeback if you could just return it? Ofcourse you would try that first, the logic is pretty easy to understand really.

      • KeithIrwin says:

        You will need to prove many things. One, did the person who sold you this actually say it?
        That’s really the only thing that they’ll need to establish.

        Did you provide them all the details needed to make the determination?
        Not his problem. They made the determination whether or not they had all of the relevant details. By telling him that it would work for the purpose he requested, they triggered the warranty of fitness.

        Did the store have return policies stated clearly? Written ALWAYS trumps verbal communication.
        Completely irrelevant. Written may trump verbal when in conflict, but this isn’t a conflict between written and verbal promises, it’s a conflict between their written policies and the uniform commercial code. The law trumps their policies. Always.

        In fact, why wouldn’t the OP just ask the cashier to write, fully refundable if not compatible with my Mac
        Because there’s no need to. The uniform commercial code’s warranty of fitness for a particular purpose section already covers him.

    • KeithIrwin says:

      By the way, the fact that the article’s “the best options at this point” makes no mention of the warranty of fitness is a problem. If you’re going to write articles on a website which specializes in consumer advice, please at least take the time to read the wikipedia page on implied warranties. It’s not that long.

      And also, every comment up until the parent post which spouts off about what one should or shouldn’t do with no mention of the warranty of fitness should be considered a failed and pointless comment. This is a classic warranty of fitness case and that none of you recognized it as such should be grounds for having your commenting privileges taken away.

      Props to Destra for being the first commenter to actually know what they are talking about.

  19. mbz32190 says:

    It’s sort of unethical, (but I would do it in this situation), but why not return it saying it is “defective”? I assume they would take it back then. Even if they exchange it for another of the same, you now have a sealed package you could return at another OfficeMax.

    That being said, I never trust store employees or salespeople when it comes to things like that. It is so easy to Google and see what kind of RAM you need.

  20. fuceefacee says:

    Why couldn’t the OP check the specs for the RAM on the Apple web site or in the PDF manual that is likely on his hard drive? Why rely on a store clerk for that information? Why are you so helpless? Man up and take some of the responsibility.

  21. Macgyver says:

    This is also partly the OP fault. You should always know what you need before you buy something.

    • wildgift says:

      It’s hard to know what RAM to get. You need to consult a website’s database, first, then double check with some google searches to make sure specific brand chips aren’t flaky.

  22. dreamking says:

    I continue to not understand the [redacted] in [redacted] thing, when talking about service at a particular branch or store.

    This was brought home especially today with the first sentence:
    “Daniel writes that a recent experience with OfficeMax taught him an important lesson: don’t believe a damn word of what anyone at this particular OfficeMax says.”

    Well, that’s great advice. Too bad no one will ever be able to avail themselves of this important lesson since we don’t know where this particular OfficeMax is.

    • elangomatt says:

      Consumerist never shows store specific information in complaints. Sometimes they will leave a city name but I haven’t seen it often.

    • fantomesq says:

      Consumerist is redacting specific store locations to attempt to keep the entire chain responsible for the issue rather than have people blame a specific store.

  23. KyBash says:

    It’s gotten to the point that I don’t know what Office Max will do in any particular situation.

    A few months ago, I bought a small paper shredder. The contents looked odd, not quite the facotry packing I’m used to seeing. When I went to use it, it clogged right away. In clearing that, I found blades twisted and having marks like someone went at them with a sharp object to dig out a jam. I took it back, they refunded my money but would not exchange the item since it was no longer on sale.

    It was obviously a returned item which someone had forcefed to the point of breaking, but Office Max claims they don’t put returned items back on the shelf.

  24. Ouze says:

    I don’t mean to blame to consumerist, but unfortunately, it’s a 50/50 split.

    Office max gets half the blame for giving you bad info.

    You get half for not really knowing what you need, and thus allowing yourself to be put into this situation – if you don’t really know exactly what you need, you might not get exactly what you want, regardless of the store or situation. It is not difficult to Google this information and be prepared, or just go to apple.commac, and click “technical specs” – it’s 2 clicks away.

    An additional benefit of doing some googling is you probably would have realized 2x2gb sticks of DDR3 for a laptop should only cost around $100.

  25. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    Had the same thing happen when I bought my first digital camera. The guy at Office Max said he knew what kind of memory card worked with it and I ended up buying one that didn’t fit.

  26. fantomesq says:

    While this is partially OfficeMax’s fault (DDR2 RAM would not have been appropriate for any recent vintage Mac), the OP was also offbase on what he told the employee – he said he wanted to “double the RAM on the newest MacBook Pro”… ALL of the current MacBook Pros come with 4GB of RAM out of the box, so doubling it would be to 8GB (and yes, DDR3 PC3-8500 SODIMM) If the OP doesn’t provide the correct information, there is no chance that OfficeMax will be able to.

    The OP faulted in not bringing the laptop in with him where they could verify the RAM type. If he had paid for the installation, he would have been covered as well. He also could have checked the RAM specifications before opening the package. Has the OP checked the terms of the return policy? I sincerely doubt they prevent returns on open RAM. He should still make his case to OfficeMax corporate but in the future don’t hand off wrong information to a salesperson and expect them to provide correct information in response – Garbage in, Garbage out.

    • darkwolf777 says:

      It’s likely he, and the salesperson, both assumed just adding 4GB would double the RAM, not realizing that the slots are already filled, and that he’d need to replace the existing RAM instead of adding to it.

  27. ARPRINCE says:

    Sorry to hear that. Next time, use AMEX and you will be covered in this type of cases.

    – So how long does your warranty actually last? We can extend the length of the original manufacturer’s warranty, up to one year on your eligible purchases that have U.S. warranties of 5 years or less.

    – Change your mind and the store won’t take it back? It’s okay, we usually refund the full purchase price, up to $300 per item.

    – Did the kids break something? No worries, accidents happen. We can help you repair it, replace it, or reimburse you for up to the amount charged on the Card.

  28. goller321 says:

    Small Claims… list the store manager as the defendant and them when he doesn’t show… you win by default. At the very least you make his day suck.

  29. dush says:

    Craigslist it. And don’t ever shop at OfficeMax for something over $10.

  30. jeff_the_snake says:

    why would they not take back opened ram? it’s not like it can be copied and then returned like software (as if anyone still bothers to drive to a store to steal that)

    try a different officemax and then make all of your future hardware purchases from newegg or somewhere similar and pay half as much.

  31. LastError says:

    Who buys ram at Office Max? That’s just stupid. You go to a computer store for this (Microcenter, Frys, etc) or use an online configurator at Crucial or Kingston or one of the other ram manufacturers.

    You do NOT ask somebody working in an office supply store.

    And yeah, if you HAVE to get exactly the right part, don’t leave the paper at home. Go home and get it. Email the specs to yourself and have the info on your phone or something. This is not rocket science.

    As for the already purchase memory, eBay is an option. Or contact the manufacturer and ask for a swap. If this was Office Depot, it was probably PNY or a no-name brand. Good luck.

  32. The_IT_Crone says:

    Well… I’m actually against the OP here. Once he got home he could have checked what RAM the computer took BEFORE opening the packages, and then would have been able to return them. Or he could have gone back home to verify what RAM he needed, then returned to the store. The store shouldn’t have to take the loss because he was anxious and unwilling to wait.

    • KeithIrwin says:

      No, the store shouldn’t have to take a loss because he was unwilling to wait, but the store should have to take a loss because he asked for RAM for his computer and then bought something that they told him would work. If they don’t want to be on the hook for it, they should keep their mouths shut and just say “sorry, we don’t know what will work in your computer” rather than “buy this, it will work”.

  33. the_real_keenfrenzy says:

    OfficeMax has no policy against returning open RAM. They didn’t when I worked in the store from 1998-2005, and they don’t now. Simply looking at the back of the receipt tape or directing the Manager to would have proved this point.

  34. ogremustcrush says:

    Ooof, $180 for 4gb of ddr2? You can get that for $72 on Newegg. Would have to take a huge hit to sell it to someone else.

  35. nallanos says:

    go back to the store and steal it.

  36. the_real_keenfrenzy says:

    While I do realize this is a blog and not a news outlet, would it have been too much to ask for someone to reach out to the store and validate the customer’s story before posting it? The fact that OfficeMax responded to BOA and made a comment about the customer returning it prior to the cut-off period indicates there’s more to the story, since this person would have likely had the original receipt information to review in the chargeback request from BOA. Not saying the OP is in the wrong, but it would have been nice to have information from both sides so we would know the whole story.

  37. williamroy says:

    No question about it: I’d blame the OP. Why would anyone ask a rep at Office Max which RAM to buy for a Mac? More likely than deliberate misinformation is that the rep just didn’t know, but thought he did. Not to mention: Those receipts have extremely prominent and detailed warnings about the return policy on this kind of merch – need to read that sometime, you know? Oh, and I love that when the OP returns home, he easily discovers what kind of RAM he needs. Why not check that first, before tearing open the package. OPs fault entirely. Sell on Craigslist. EECP is not appropriate in this case.

  38. stlbud says:

    I realize that most Mac people are not technically proficient. I have real sympathy for them, really I do. Buying a Mac is like buying a Rolls Royce. In the case of the Rolls, you should never let anyone but a Rolls engineer service them. The same thing applies to a Mac, no one but a “genius” should service a Mac.

  39. ja says:

    File your complaint in writing, and deliver it to the special address for credit card billing problems (printed on each bill), because that will obligate Bank of America in ways that a phone call or online submission won’t. But don’t expect the bank to follow the law or even tell the truth about it. You’re not obligated to return the product to the merchant but only to attempt to return it, which you did. If Bank of America remains uncooperative, write the FTC or Federal Reserve (they have some credit card regulatory duties), and phone Visa or Mastercard and report that one of their card issuers is violating not only the law but also their own regulations.

    The fact Office Max claims you bought 2 memory “chips” proves they’re clueless because you actually bought 2 memory modules, each consisting of anywhere from 4-16 chips.

    I’m no lawyer, but isn’t there an implied guarantee by Office Max here, since they said the memory would be compatible with your computer?

  40. Pax says:

    … he spent a hundred and eighty dollars, for a 2x2GB kit of DDR2 ram?


    While Office Max is clearly in the wrong … this man needs to be pointed at STAT. For just one example, this is a 2s2GB kit of DDR3-1333 memory, from Corsair (a reputable manufacturor of RAM):

    … and it’s only $75. For BOTH sticks of RAM … less than HALF the price he paid.


    The poor OP; overcharged, AND, sold the wrong damned product. :(

  41. amuro98 says:

    Um…if you buy something and can’t use it, why can’t you return it? Seems like a bad policy on the part of Office Max.

    And if his credit card company refuses to do the chargeback, then they need to be replaced too.

    Take the store to small claims court. He was sold an item on the good faith that the clerk knew what sort he needed. Since the clerk was wrong the store should take it back for a refund.

    • wildgift says:

      They won’t take it back because people will try to return their old RAM in the box to get a “free ram upgrade”. The staff aren’t savvy about reading the chip markings to determine the capacity of the chips – and sometimes even experts can’t really tell without looking it up.

      The deal is, if you can’t research the specific model and make to get, you shouldn’t be buying the RAM.

  42. kcarlson says:

    I use which actually scans your computer and tells you the memory upgrade options available (no I don’t work for them…)

  43. Griking says:

    This post should be stickied and used as a reference since practically every post has a comment where someone says to file a charge back. Charge backs aren’t guaranteed and even if they are you can only do them so many times before the credit card company stops allowing them.

    Shameless plug, if he’d purchased the RAM at Staples they would have been happy to return it or even install it for him.

  44. Promethean Sky says:

    I bought RAM at Micro Center. They guy who sold it to me not only looked it up in the computer to make sure that it was the correct type (even though he knew it off the top of his head), but he checked to see if any of the brands were on sale.

  45. wildgift says:

    OMFG – RAM is really hard to buy. I’ve put together probably over 20 computers for fun, and I still have to double-check whenever I purchase RAM. Don’t buy RAM at a store. Get it online at one of the computer stores that has you enter the computer model, and then presents you with RAM purchase options – because there aren’t going to be more than a dozen for your computer.

    But that dozen was whittled down from hundreds of possible choices!

  46. eachmorning says:

    Go to the website and scroll to bottom of the page. Look for Customer Service or Contact Us (prob 1-800-officemax) and call and file a complaint. Once you do that it gets routed to the District Manager, and then down to the Store Manager. You’ll probably hear from an Asst Store Mgr who will call and ‘golly gee, it was a misunderstanding’… and theyy’ll try to make nice.

  47. Cyclone says:

    I really don’t feel bad for the consumer in this case. That much money for a MacBook Pro and you can’t take a moment to do your own research before buying ram at a ridiculously high price?

    I’m sorry, but you kind of deserve this. The store has their policies and they’re sticking to them.

  48. You hate your job but you're still working there? says:

    Funny, I had almost the opposite thing happen to me when on a whim I went shopping for RAM at Best Buy a few months ago. I had an older laptop that used DDR2, and the salesman tried to sell me two separate DDR3 chips (incidentally way more memory than I asked for). After explaining to him that there was no way a low-end laptop from early 2004 would be able to use DDR3 he tried to sell me a netbook. Then I realized I was being given tech advice from some ill-informed dork at Best Buy, slapped myself and went home to do five minutes of research where I found compatible RAM at a fraction of the cost.

    Nothing like spending almost $200 bucks on hardware you know almost nothing about (after taking advice from someone you don’t know anything about) and then worry about the return policy after the fact.

  49. mdoneil says:

    Relying on the store employee’s expert advice gives you a cause of action against the store.

    I would see if there is an alternative dispute resolution service available through your local Clerk of the Court, failing that I would sue.

    You relied on the expertise of a merchant’s employee, they have a duty to provide proper advice or not provide any advice at all. As a consumer you may rely on a merchant’s statements, if they make an error they are liable to the consumer for their error.

  50. HiFiGuy says:

    Though it’s been about 60 days, does your credit card offer “return protection?” (The card issuer will take the product back, even if the store won’t.)

    Also, I’ve been buying my RAM at Data Memory Systems for over 15 years: 30 day money back guarantee (0% restocking/open box fee), and a lifetime warranty on most products. (Of course, this doesn’t apply if you damaged the module because you just couldn’t bear to install the RAM without wearing your lucky sweater.)