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No Book Returns at Walmart

Posted Sun November 18, 2007 12:00 pm, by John L. written to Wal-Mart

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I tried to return an unread magazine to Wal-mart because we found we had bought a duplicate by accident.

I was told by the customer service representative that they do not accept returns on books and magazines.

This specific exclusion is not posted on the posted return policy and I disputed their claim.

The two representatives responded by saying the reason was that Federal Copyright law prevented them from accepting the return.

I'm sure this is nonsense because I've returned books to other vendors with no problem.

When I returned home, I visited the Wal-Mart.com website to research their full return policy. The website states: "Books: Must be returned unused and unmarked."

I feel that my ability to return the magazine should have never been challenged.

If an entire department's product is to be excluded from the general return policy, it must be visibly posted at the returns counter, otherwise you get the impression that the representatives are making up rules, as I feel they were doing in my situation.

I also feel that quoting nonexistent 'Federal Law' is deceptive and perhaps even criminal.


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by Pat P. Posted Wed December 30, 2009 @ 1:13 AM

I tried to return a duplicate book purchased for my daughter. I also
had an electric blanket to return along with a Magnavox DVD
recorder/VHS combo. I'm still amazed how easy it was to return the
blanket and the electronic component but the clerk very rudely said,
"we don't accept book returns". I asked her if that was posted
somewhere and she simply said, "I'll get a manager for you". When the
manager arrived she said they didn't accept returns for books because
of Federal Copyright Laws. When I asked her if that was actually in
the law, she said yes cut couldn't even look me in the eye when she
said it.
I didn't want to get my blood pressure up so I didn't challenge it at
the time. I went home and checked the internet which didn't have
anything about copyright laws making returns illegal. I went to the
Wal-Mart website and the return policy said they accept book returns
which are unused and not marked. I went right back to Wal-Mart with
book and receipt with a copy of their return policy and after careful
scrutiny by the manager making sure the book was not marked she
authorized the return.

by Marshall M. Posted Tue November 24, 2009 @ 10:19 PM

Hello, it's Nov 24th and I attempted to return an unwanted book my the
Steubenville, OH Walmart. I was met with the same answer. I read the
return policy which is posted and it mentioned nothing about books. I
was frustrated. In my frustation, I just left the book on their
counter, and I walked out of the store. I will know try my best to
shop at Walmart AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE. I say that because I realize I
simply would not be able to boycott it fully. There policy is simply
not founded in truth.

Marshall Myers, Steubenville, OH

by Managers get on the same page! Posted Sat March 21, 2009 @ 12:30 AM

The management @Coit in Plano, TX needs to be sent back to school
along with others who do not know their own policies! I purchased a
book earlier today, but before doing so-I asked someone in customer
service what the return policy was for books/magazines. They said 24
hours... I returned it within 2 hours because I found it for much less
at Target. They even gave me a gift receipt in case it was returned.
I went to the location above because it was on the way-They refused
the return!!!! I asked for the manager twice-he like others never came
up to customer service. I do not understand why people shop there!???
Maybe for a quick emergency or such. I do not shop @Walmart on a
regular basis-you certainly get what you pay for. The clothes are
soooo cheap looking, materials are thin, along with shoes and purses.
Personnel looks as if they are miserable!MANAGERS-Get on the same


BAD BUSINESS by Managers get on the same page! Sat March 21, 2009 @ 12:40 AM

by m j. Posted Sun November 2, 2008 @ 9:57 PM

Go get it at Target, they take back books, no questions asked!

by Gary S. Posted Fri July 25, 2008 @ 10:01 PM

I really don't understand why some people get so angry over not being
able to return things - you bought it to have it, not to hold it and
give it back. Just be glad any store lets you return anything at all.

by CarriJ Posted Fri May 2, 2008 @ 11:53 PM

I ran into the same problem trying to *exchange* a Harry Potter book
earlier today. I purchased one of them for my daughter as an easter
gift, but she received the same one from someone else.

I would have returned it sooner ( I was well within the 90 day window
of their "Satisfaction Guaranteed" period) but I dread their insanely
long return line and finally just bit the bullet.

I spent 15 minutes in line trying to buy the book and another 15
minutes waiting for customer service. I had my receipt, the original
bag and the in pristine condition book. The rep said that they no
longer take books that were purchased more than 24 hours prior, "or
else people just treat the store like a library". Why wait 15 minutes
to buy the book, 15 minutes to return the book and pay money when the
library has short lines and costs nothing?

I did point out that nowhere in customer service, on the receipt or on
the book was there an indication of this return policy. I was told
that they don't have to list every return policy. Yet, behind the
customer service counter they let you know the rules for computer
games, electronics and even fabric and lace from the craft

I insisted on speaking with a manager as I felt this was nonsense.
The manager stayed in the office or wherever and sent word that they
would make the exception "just this once". I asked for a store
credit, as a good faith gesture that I would keep the money in the
store. I was told I could get the book and exchange it, but would be
given no store credit or gift card as they no longer do that either.

I went back to the book section and picked up the next Harry Potter
book (daughter was with me and could confirm she hasn't yet received
it as a gift, thankfully) and hiked it back up to customer service. I
jumped to the front of the line as I was just not waiting another 15
minutes. Ended up paying an additional $2.91 for the new book, which
ironically looked as if it had been read and returned (or at least
beat up and returned). Because of this, Target ended up with the rest
of our business tonight (and going forward).

So, Wal-Mart, please rethink your book return policy. Your book
selection is laughable and your check-out and return lines are far too
long for anyone with a library card and an ounce of common sense to
treat your Book Department like a library.


by BeFair Posted Thu December 20, 2007 @ 10:08 PM

Don't blame Walmart's behavior on the person trying to return a

Within the week, I bought a $15 book as a Christmas gift for my wife.
Before giving it to her, I found similar book by the same folks for
approx. 66% less at Borders.

When I went toreturn it, I was told that no books can be returned.
"Period." I re-explained the situation, someone else came and agreed
with fellow that it was due to Federal law. I asked how Borders could
take returns and was told that was immaterial.

I asked for a manager. Assistant mgr. eventually came saying the same
thing. Then said that they could not take back an "open" book. I had
the book on it's binding and it stood satraight with pages appearing
glue stogether, as I had not opened any pages. He insisted that it was
"open". Another customer spoke up agreeing with me.
Then he said it was not a shrinkwrapped, sealed book. I explained taht
none of the copies are sealed.

I kept pointing out state law requiring return policies to be posted.
He then brought up a 'Copyright' screen on a terminal saying that
overrode anything else.

I asked for store manager, who did not show, but told the asst. mgr on
phone that books were not returnabl.

Finally, I said I would leave if they put their stand in writing for
me. That I would call the State's Attorney Genral's Office the next
day as well as a local TV Consumer Troubleshooter. He asked if I was
threatening him. I said, 'No. Simply being upfront and making a

Then, his manager on the phone asked for th book's price which was $15
and said that since it was so 'inexpensive and not opened' that they
would make a one-time exception. I received the refund.

A worker then suggested I call their regional manager to let him know.
Almost 40 minutes!

Being such a major bookseller, I would think that Walmart should post
their policy. Many folks give gifts. Or receive dupliactes.

By the way, I called Borders to check their policy. And besdies comic
books, magazines, and some similar items, books are, in fact

Walmart: Bah humbug!

by Mr. DP Posted Fri November 23, 2007 @ 12:45 PM

try getting them at the library! ;^)


by duttycallsme Posted Tue November 20, 2007 @ 6:11 PM

Sorry but magazines and books can be read, kept neat and orderly and
then returned because one is finished with these.

They have to have some rules...would you like to pick up a magazine
that has been returned only to have maybe the puzzles completed,
coupons clipped or other used markings?

Sorry but they are right on this one.


NB: "unmarked" by Alitax Thu November 22, 2007 @ 9:38 PM

by Angelic Princess:) Posted Tue November 20, 2007 @ 11:52 AM

I agree with a poster below. What month was the magazine for? If it is
"expired".. that is most likely why they wouldn't take it back.

by SusanB Posted Mon November 19, 2007 @ 6:22 PM

You purchased the magazine at Walmart but are quoting the Walmart.com
return policy for books - - two different entities and managzines are
not the same as books. I can't imagine a.) trying to return a
magazine and b.) going too far as to say it's criminal that you

I'm curious - - what was the date on the magazine, the date it was
purchased it and the date you tried to return it.

Magazines contain dated material whereas books don't.


agreed by T. C. Mon November 19, 2007 @ 8:20 PM

by MA Loper Posted Mon November 19, 2007 @ 4:35 PM

I posted this downthread, but wanted to re-iterate it.

You need to keep in mind that Walmart.com and the brick & mortar
Walmart stores are two entirely different things.

If Walmart.com sends you the wrong book, through no fault of your own,
then they can't very well keep you from returning it. People can
argue that, so they have to make concessions.

HOWEVER, if you go into a store and specifically choose a book or a
magazine off the rack, you are agreeing to own that book once you pay
and leave the store. It is expected that you had enough forethought
not to purchase something you didn't need and you can't blame anyone
else if you chose "the wrong one."

As Adam and Sumner pointed out, the law states that the there is no
due process for the copyright holder once it has been sold - thus, the
retailer can't take it back because the ownership has already passed
to you.

And as I pointed out, what's to stop you from reading it, deciding it
wasn't worth your while, and returning it? You pointed out yourself
that it was coming back in the same condition it was sold in, so how
can they tell?

Bottom line, admit you screwed up and donate the extra copy to a
library or your dentist for his office. Don't whine because you
messed up and Walmart wouldn't help you out.


by BaronessVarla Posted Mon November 19, 2007 @ 3:53 PM

I work for Walmart.com in the Books Department & I've never heard this
rule. I'm not positive about magazines since we don't sell them
on-line but that seems fishy. If it was in good shape, it would not
kill them to take it back.

Worst case scenario, they have to tear the cover off & return it to
the publisher for credit. No real reason to refuse the return.

I'll double-check with the head of Books in Bentonville. There may be
some confusion down the chain. Thanks for letting us know!


by BellaSera Posted Mon November 19, 2007 @ 1:05 PM

Since Walmart's own return policy states they take books back that are
unused or unmarked, I'm with the OP on this one.

I can understand a magazine not being returnable, but as long as a
book is unused and unmarked, and the return is within the store's
specified period, it shouldn't be an issue.

I admit I don't understand the specific law, but I don't see how it
would be a "copyright violation" to return a book. I know a link was
posted below explaining the law; perhaps I'll check it out.


There is a difference by CrazyRedHead Mon November 19, 2007 @ 1:30 PM

I understand that. by BellaSera Mon November 19, 2007 @ 3:14 PM

Clarification by BellaSera Mon November 19, 2007 @ 3:25 PM

Sleep - LOL! by MA Loper Mon November 19, 2007 @ 4:46 PM

by MA Loper Posted Mon November 19, 2007 @ 11:07 AM

I hate to be the voice of dissention here, but I kind of get why they
don't take them back.

With CD's or DVD's, they have to come back in the same condition they
left the store - unopened and unused - in order to get a refund.

But with books, who's to say that the OP didn't take the magazine
home, read it, and then having no further use for it, returned it?

It's not as far fetched as it seems and there is no way to know for
sure, so I know of several stores that refuse returns on books and

And unless you can prove that the alleged 'Federal Law' is
nonexistent, it's equally deceptive and perhaps criminal of you to
suggest that it's bogus.


Just returned a book by Benjamin Z. Fri May 12, 2017 @ 5:52 PM

by Melissa Savelloni Posted Mon November 19, 2007 @ 10:26 AM

I think one possiblity behind this is that originally the policy is
not to take back books or magazines that have been opened. By that I
mean books that had shrink wrap or magazines with the plastic wrap
(Like some video game magazines that come with a demo or something)
And over time the employees have just confused it with meaning all
books and magazines.

Not that it makes it right, but maybe thats just what has happened
over time.

As far as quoting "federal law" I dont think the intent was to be
deceitful, but probably thats just what the employee has heard from
other employees. But you know what they say about good intentions and
the road to hell and all that stuff.

I can definitly see how this would even be worse of a problem if you
bought a hard-cover book that ended up being a dupilicate, they can be
upwards to 30 dollars!

either way I read further down that you were able to return it
eventually, so I'm glad it was at least taken care of.

by shannont1110 Posted Mon November 19, 2007 @ 9:08 AM

I had this same problem. I'd purchased a book for a friend for a
gift, and found out she already had it- 3 days after purchasing, tried
to return it and was told I couldn't, their policy on books and
magazines ( I was told it was because of dates books were released,
and that they might not carry it anymore). I asked where the policy
was posted- found out that they've got a poster at customer service-
but that was the only place, not in the magazine/book aisle which
would be the logical location for it. I could have understood if it
was a "dated" magazine, however it was a hardcover book, on the best
seller's list. I've never had the problem returning books anywhere,
and if this was a "federal law", then how are book stores able to
accept returns??? crazy if you ask me...


by RowdyRetailer Posted Sun November 18, 2007 @ 9:20 PM

If Walmart had every policy posted for you, you would complain that
the type is too small and walmart is trying to pass one off on
you....whatever. Donate the book to the library or something.


Re: No Book Returns at Walmart by J-K-L Mon November 19, 2007 @ 8:49 AM

by RedheadwGlasses Posted Sun November 18, 2007 @ 8:46 PM

If this happened to me, I'd write off the $3 and find someone who
wanted the duplicate copy.

But another potential problem is the frequency with which the magazine
is published and when the OP tried to return the magazine. For
example, "People" magazine is published weekly, so if the OP tried to
return that and the new one was already out, the store may be out of
luck trying to sell the previous week's issue.


Re: No Book Returns at Walmart by J-K-L Mon November 19, 2007 @ 8:59 AM

by Lia Posted Sun November 18, 2007 @ 8:14 PM

If that were the case, then that would mean that ANY returns to ANY
bookstore would be against the law. Which would mean that anyone who
had gotten duplicate books for gifts would also be breaking the law by
returning them. I guess that means that I'm a criminal too.


by Adam D Posted Sun November 18, 2007 @ 4:59 PM

I think you should do your research a little better, because the
"nonexistent" federal law actually exists.


Can you please by The New and Improved Brenda Sun November 18, 2007 @ 5:17 PM

Federal Law by Adam D Sun November 18, 2007 @ 10:48 PM

OK, so where is it? by American Cheese Sun November 18, 2007 @ 11:42 PM

OK, so where is it? by J-K-L Mon November 19, 2007 @ 1:00 AM

That particular law... by SumnerMan Mon November 19, 2007 @ 1:31 PM

Still waiting... by The New and Improved Brenda Wed November 21, 2007 @ 12:33 PM

Re: No Book Returns at Walmart by J-K-L Sun November 18, 2007 @ 6:11 PM

Clarification by Adam D Mon November 19, 2007 @ 11:28 AM

She said by The New and Improved Brenda Mon November 19, 2007 @ 12:27 PM

Keep in mind, though by MA Loper Mon November 19, 2007 @ 4:32 PM

Very well Said!! N/T by Adam D Mon November 19, 2007 @ 8:59 PM

by gb Posted Sun November 18, 2007 @ 3:12 PM

You really drove all the way back and tried to return a magazine? Is
gas $3 a gallon where you live?


No Book Returns at Walmart by J-K-L Sun November 18, 2007 @ 4:55 PM

by Bill R Posted Sun November 18, 2007 @ 3:00 PM

John l.,

You state that you spoke to "representatives".

What did the store manager or the MOD have to say when you spoke with

I've not had a problem returning books at WalMart as long as I was
able to produce a receipt and think you stumbled upon some folks that
just plain did not want to do their job.

That being said this information the store manager needs.



quoting nonexistent 'Federal Law' is deceptive and perhaps even criminal. by J-K-L Sun November 18, 2007 @ 5:18 PM

by Jeffrey Posted Sun November 18, 2007 @ 2:50 PM

There are a great many things in copyright law, but none of the
explicitly disallows a company from accepting a return of a book or

You can see that someone might buy a magazine, copy it, and then
return it. In fact, this happens quite often with DVDs, CDs, and
software. Which is why most stores will accept returns on these

If this is a real Wal-Mart policy, what they are saying that they
don't want to be responsible for contributing to a violation of
copyright law.

You are right: if they don't want to accept such a return, they should
specify this in their return policy.


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