Who Is Responsible When A Shopper Loses Items He Just Bought?

In all the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, we’re surprised we don’t hear more about shoppers accidentally losing a bag of items they just purchased. But when that happens, is the store responsible for the shopper’s forgetfulness?

This is the question Consumerist reader J. puts to us all in the following letter:

I am a retail manager and I had an incident the other day where a man called saying he needed to speak with my supervisor. I am the store manager here and my immediate supervisor — a district manager — does not work on site with me.

Wanting to to fix the issue myself (knowing how busy DMs can be during the holidays) I asked if I could help him. He said he had purchased some items on black Friday and that he had put the bag down somewhere in the store and forgotten them. He also said he had been calling us repeatedly trying get this resolved since black Friday and no one had returned his calls.

I run a very small crew and after questioning all of my employees, I don’t feel that this happened at my location. None of them knew anything about it. I passed his info to my DM who called him the following day.

Come to find out it was not my location, and being that the items had been bought and paid for, then he lost them on his own accord, we didn’t feel we were responsible for replacing them.

He then took his complaint all the way up to the CEO of the company and was awarded the value of the items in a gift card, which I had to give him since he swore it was my store, though none of the employees he named as people he spoke to work at my location.

The problem I have with this is that he lost the product. It wasn’t that we didn’t give it to him, he was handed his items and then he lost them. Should we have replaced them? I don’t believe so. At what point does “the customer’s always right” not apply?

J. tells us the total retail value of the items for which he had to reimburse the shopper was $130, in case that makes a difference in what you think about this situation.

Regardless, have your say on the matter in the following poll: