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Walmart's Return Policy Should be in Writing

Posted Mon January 12, 2009 12:00 pm, by Rodney H. written to Wal-Mart

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On Jan. 3, 2009 my wife and I were shopping at the Wal-Mart store # 1541. We put our purchases in our van and tried to leave. The van would not start. Thinking it was a dead battery we went back in and purchased a new battery. We came out with the battery and I realized that I didn't have any tools on me so we had the van towed home. When we got home I checked the battery before I put it in and the battery tested good. Due to me being disabled and being on a fixed income I could not get the van repaired until today Jan. 12, 2009 so as soon as the van was working I took the new battery back to Wal-Mart for a refund. The cashier at the service desk asked if we had a receipt. I did have my receipt. I told her my story and she said there were no refunds on batteries. My wife worked the Wal-Mart return desk for three years in her youth and asked to see that policy in writing. She pulled out a badly photocopied paper talking about if the customer wants an exchange that the battery had to be tested and if it tested good that the customer could not get an exchange. My wife told her that does not say no refunds on batteries and I would like to talk to the manager. The cashier walked off the service desk and up to a (I would assume a front end manager) and thinking we were out of earshot told her we wanted our money back. The CSM said "have them get it tested but they ain't getting a refund."

We take the battery back and get it tested and pf course it tests good. So we take it back up to the service desk and the cashier said she talked to the store manager and he said we can't refund batteries. My wife asked to talk to the manager and was told he was on his way. I called 1-800-wal-mart and spoke to someone and asked if that was really a policy. The lady on the phone took my info and said the highest manager in the store would be out to talk to me. The manager that the cashier called came over to us. He said he was the co-manager. We explained our story and he said he would show us where it says that batteries were not refundable. He went in the back and came out with the same paper that was talking about if I wanted an exchange the battery had to test bad. I told him I didn't want an exchange I wanted a refund because the battery was not needed. While this convocation was going on the manager that the 800 number sent out to talk to me was walking up with a group of about 10 cashiers. He stopped a few registers down and yelled over "Batteries are not refundable!" and turned to walk away. I yelled back "Can you show me where that is written!" and one of the cashiers in his group yelled back "it's on your receipt!" I yelled back "Can you show me where?" She stared to walk over but he pushed her back and just yelled "We not refunding it!" Me being aggravated at this point yell back "well you're a butt-hole and I want to talk to a higher manager!" He screamed "GET OUT!!! SOMEONE CALL THE POLICE!!" "You are disrespecting me!"

I went into the parking lot and called 1-800-wal-mart again and was given the number to the District Manager. My wife called and was told the number of the automotive district manager. That number is 772-468-8969. She left a message and was called right back. He told her that there is a no-return policy on batteries. He said that it has always been policy. She then informed him that she had worked a Wal-Mart return desk for 3 years and never heard of that policy. He said her store must have been "doing it wrong". She asked him to let here know where it says this policy and he said that they don't have to post all of their policies. He said that if Wal-Mart took back the battery that they would not be able to re-sell it and would be out the $61.18 that the battery cost and that "Wal-Mart could not afford to take the hit." She informed her that they could afford it more than a struggling family.

Scan of my receipt: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Rodville/Wal-Martbatteryreceipt.jpg

I would like a refund on my brand new un-needed battery. Also if this "so-called" policy is real I DEMAND that it be posted in the store at the service desk and the shelf where future customers can make an informed choice to buy or not.


Reply



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by a nonny mouse Posted Fri January 23, 2009 @ 8:20 PM

Alternative idea.

$9 you were billed for was your the recycling of your old battery.
Your old battery still works, but will eventually die.

Kill it now. Discharge it by leaving your lights on and let it sit for
a week while it's dead. Car batteries are NOT deep cycle, and do not
handle having a dead charge for long periods of time. Charge it back
up and see test it with a volt meter (most battery chargers have them
built in). Does it charge? If so, do something drastic. Pour out some
of the battery acid (not sure what to do with it. It's not good to
pour down the drain.) and dilute it with tap water. Or add baking soda
to it or something to kill the acidity. Once you have a bad battery,
bring it in for your $9. Not as good as a $61 return, but it's at
least something and you can use the new battery in your car.

Reply

by a nonny mouse Posted Fri January 23, 2009 @ 7:56 PM

Sell it on craigslist. You have the original receipt, so the buyer
should have no trouble getting a new one exchanged for warranty if
this one dies at a later date. You can probably get someone willing to
buy it for almost full price. It's a new battery, after all.

Reply
by Deborah R. Posted Wed January 21, 2009 @ 2:08 PM

I agree, I went through a situation with Lexmark ink.

Reply


by Tired of the snow Posted Tue January 20, 2009 @ 12:08 PM

I was at WalMart last night to return something with a friend. While
standing in line I noticed a big sign behind the cashier spelling out
the return policy. I had noticed the sign before in passing, but
hadn't read it.
I was in a drug store simillar to CVS or WalGreens in Toronto and even
there batteries cant be refunded. It was not posted and I called them
on it, after trying to return a battery for a watch that was the wrong
size and unopened. After speasking with their customer service
department, they took it back. A few days later, there was a sign
posted where there hadn't been one before.

Reply

by PepperElf Posted Sat January 17, 2009 @ 1:32 AM

it is sad that they acted so horribly too

it sounds like they were very out of line and disrespectful


and your complaint is very sound and very well worded.

Reply


by Monie73 Posted Thu January 15, 2009 @ 1:54 AM

My dad and I had this EXACT same problem at Wal-Mart. My family and I
were camping at Indiana Beach, which is 3 hours away from home and our
car started acting up. It looked like a battery problem. We went to
the Monticello, Indiana store and found the right battery. That's
where our similarities stop. I know enough about retail and customer
service to know what questions to ask when purchasing something like
this. We called the manager over and asked about the return polcies.
What we were told was that the store had a 24-hour return policy with
receipt on batteries and it couldn't be returned in a "used" state. I
took this as it had to look new when we brought it back. I wrote down
the manager's name, his title, and who his manager was, and had him
sign his name. When we took it back to the campsite, we noticed that
the cables were badly corroded. When we cleaned them, the car fired
right up. We took the battery back to Wal-Mart and the customer
service desk THREW A FIT...until...I pulled out my notebook, found the
slip with the manager's name and told the service desk I wanted to
talk to "this guy". At first they handed me off to a CSM, but with
polite, but FIRM pressuring, she paged the manager that I had talked
to. The manager came up, looked at the notebook that I held out to
him, and told the girls at the desk to refund the money.

This is my experience. I am not saying that this will happen at every
store, but being prepared when walking into a store for a purchase
such as this will help you out in the long run.

Reply
by kayti2k Posted Wed January 14, 2009 @ 1:38 PM

Obviously this isn't the case at *your* Wal-Mart since the employees
couldn't direct you to it, but at *my* Wal-Mart there is an automotive
division where they actually install stuff and do oil changes and
stuff. In big letters on a permanently posted sign it says that
batteries cannot be returned. I remember reading it there more than
once. Perhaps Wal-Mart could ensure this sign is posted in all their
stores?

Regardless it is Wal-Mart's decision not to allow you to return a
battery. If you don't like it, I suggest you find a store that will
(if any even do) and shop there next time. Wal-Mart's prices (around
here, anyway) for auto parts really aren't that great. I got a battery
at autozone for a new-ish car for $65.

Reply

by MayDay Posted Wed January 14, 2009 @ 11:11 AM

Our local walmart has a huge return sign right behind the service
desk. Electronic devices have exceptions, like CDs and DVDs that are
opened cannot be returned, probably games too. But its all right there
on the huge sign, if there is line they are hoping you are reading
it.

We had a defective battery put in a car a few years ago at walmart and
took it back in a day or 2 and they replaced it. The sale was on file
though, since it just happened that week.I wonder if different stores
have different policies. Our store seems to take back pretty much
anything. It is one store out of 8 in my city so I don't know about
the other ones.

Husband saves everything, he writes dates that appliances were
installed and how much it cost, right on the back of it. He has
receipts from 15 years ago for stuff he bought. A shoe box is all that
is needed, throw everything into it and stick it in a drawer
someplace.

Reply


by The PlanetFeedback Team Posted Tue January 13, 2009 @ 4:56 PM

We don't believe a company should be required to have a posted return
policy for every single item they sell. If, however, they have a
blanket "you can return anything we sell within ninety days for an
exchange or refund" they should have a clear policy posted listing the
exceptions. And if there is an exception which isn't listed then the
customer should be given the benefit of the doubt.

Reply


?? by Chris M Tue January 13, 2009 @ 9:16 PM


??? by The PlanetFeedback Team Tue January 13, 2009 @ 9:56 PM


Sorry by Chris M Tue January 13, 2009 @ 10:23 PM


Isnt that what we said? by The PlanetFeedback Team Tue January 13, 2009 @ 10:40 PM

by Chris M Posted Tue January 13, 2009 @ 4:20 PM

I could not find anything online related to battery purchases not
being refundable. In my opinion, they should refund his money and
clarify policy more visibly. Now, if it is posted somewhere in plain
site, they have a little more to stand on. However, it should still
be spelled out in their return policy, which is specific on items as
needed already such as electronics and software.

Reply

by calm Posted Tue January 13, 2009 @ 2:09 PM

If it's impossible to tell whether a battery being returned has been
used, then it's impossible to resell the battery, and I've always
assumed that items that cannot be resold cannot be returned.
Exchanging a defective product for a presumably working one is
something else.

That said, it doesn't seem as though WalMart has a clause in their
return policy that indicates that something has to be in resellable
condition. And although I found two return policies on the
walmartstores site and one of them has a non-exhaustive list of
exceptions, the other one appears to have an exhaustive list that
doesn't include batteries. So unless there is something more specific
on the back of the receipt or posted in the store I agree with the
poster that this battery should have been accepted as a return and the
policy should have been updated to close that loophole in the future.
(For that matter, in some states earrings cannot be returned and
resold. They're not on the list either, which probably means that
either WalMart is breaking the law in some states by selling earrings
that other people might have already worn, or returned earrings are
getting transferred from stores that can't resell them to stores that
can.)

But again, I can see why the people in the store thought batteries
could not be returned. If I had been working at the return desk and
had seen that paper I would have refused to accept the terms too. I
wish the OP had been polite to the people working at the store and had
the issue escalated to the corporate level. I dislike it whenever the
people who are on the front lines of an organization are not given the
information they need from higher-ups to do the job right, and I also
dislike it when they -- simply because they are on the front lines --
are mistreated by customers who really ought to be angry at the
higher-ups who did not provide the necessary information.

I also want to say something about the issue of who can "afford to
take the hit." Where do you think that $61.18 would have come from?
Not from profits and not from executive salaries and bonuses. Not
from any kind of fixed costs, obviously, and not from the purchase of
new things that they're pretty sure they can sell. I'm betting it
would have come from that store's labor budget. That's definitely
where the money came from to deal with the costs of shrinkage when I
worked retail. The people who made the schedule were told they had a
certain amount of money to spend on labor each week, and if the store
didn't make as much profit as expected the labor budgets in the future
were cut. And you can't cut the salaried workers' pay: it comes out
of the budget for hourly workers. WalMart's hourly employees do not
make much money -- and so the money would have come directly out of
the pockets of one or more struggling families. Specifically, one or
more struggling families who didn't buy a car battery without being
sure they had a use for it and who were not going around calling
people "butt-hole." Although I agree that the original poster is
right about the return policy, I've got to say that after reading this
letter my sympathies are more with that latter group of struggling
families. It seems to me that as long as customers are seeking to
take $61 out of the front-line workers' pockets, those customers ought
not to take their anger out on those front-line workers when the
people who really deserve to be the targets of anger are the people
who told the customers that everything but X, Y, and Z can be returned
and then told the return desk that they can't take back U, V, or W
either.

Reply

Those are awesome points, Cal by Final Score: Boys-3, Girls-1 Tue January 13, 2009 @ 7:57 PM


Thank you very much. by calm Wed January 14, 2009 @ 8:56 AM


by dulynoted (aka duttycalls) Posted Tue January 13, 2009 @ 1:57 PM

I think that when your wife had worked there (in her youth) and taken
back a battery and the store's policy was no returns on these, then
she would have been told about it. So using her past experience at
Walmart just does not cut it. You said her sheet of paper with the
policy return on it was well worn...probably from a few years back.
Changes occur all the time...especially in this day and age when
people are less likely to be honest when returning merchandise. I am
sure this is why Walmart does not take batteries back. (And I am not
saying you were dishonest in any way!)

And by the way, I am also on a fixed income like millions of others. I
never use that as an excuse for not getting my own way.

Reply
by jeishere Posted Tue January 13, 2009 @ 10:23 AM

Sorry, batteries are like wedding dresses. They can't be returned
unless defective.

Reply

by It'saNewYearandNewBellaSera Posted Tue January 13, 2009 @ 9:35 AM

This is why I feel policies should be clearly written and well
documented. If a return policy says "all items are returnable except
batteries" then that pretty much ends the conversation.

Having never returned a battery at Walmart, I have no clue if this is
now Walmart's policy or not. If it is, they need better documentation
than a bad photocopy, and the DM is wrong: it is in the both parties
best interest to have all policies posted.

From what I've read on other letters recently, Walmart's policies seem
to vary on a store to store basis. This is why I prefer shopping at
Target. No, they don't make exceptions, but at least I can walk into
any Target and know where they stand on the policy.


Reply

by Steve-OH Posted Tue January 13, 2009 @ 9:16 AM

the OP. WalMartstores.com says that everything in the store can be
returned or exchanged, with the exception of a few items. They then
list the items, and automotive batteries are not on the list. It
stands to reason that he should be able to return it.
I am sure he feels a little sheepish about how he behaved in the
store, but I can also understand how he could be driven to that after
dealing with several people who all insist on enforcing a company
policy that is NOT clearly defined.

Reply


I agree. by RedheadwGlasses Tue January 13, 2009 @ 12:18 PM

Right back atcha, baby! How is life on the tundra? n/t by Steve-OH Wed January 14, 2009 @ 6:37 PM


It's freaking freezing! by RedheadwGlasses Thu January 15, 2009 @ 10:46 PM

by MA Cunningham Posted Tue January 13, 2009 @ 9:12 AM

you purchased a battery that you immediately knew you could not
install and then called a tow truck. Kind of calls into question why
you didn't take the battery back immediately. Y'know? While you
waited for that tow truck?

The situation would have been at least been more plausible than
waiting more than a week to return it.

And calling the manager a "butt-hole?" Yeah, clearly that worked out
well for you.

Reply

It was the right battery by Jackie H. Tue January 13, 2009 @ 9:55 AM


I don't understand this statement by MA Cunningham Sun January 18, 2009 @ 12:58 PM


It's in the original blog post... by a nonny mouse Fri January 23, 2009 @ 8:09 PM


o.o by SiotehCat Tue January 13, 2009 @ 3:56 PM

by Nate. Posted Tue January 13, 2009 @ 8:37 AM

If you were uncivilized to the point where they kicked you out of the
store and threatened to call the police, over a return policy, that is
unbeleivable.

The manager was going by what he beleived was store policy based upon
the documentation provided to him. It's not his policy, he was doing
his job. Not being a "butt-hole" (are you sure you said only that??)

Reply


by Blackrack Posted Tue January 13, 2009 @ 7:15 AM

Thank you, OP. So little I actually feel sympathy for WalMart.

Reply

by RowdyRetailer Posted Mon January 12, 2009 @ 8:31 PM

Just because the company can afford to take the hit....that line
bothered me the most.

I think your behavior was out of line, and I would have probably had
my constables escort you out.

I can tell by the tone of your letter you are upset, so I can just
imagine how you acted that day.

You can be upset, and be civil, and not have to resort to
namecalling.


Good Day


Reply

Yes by cissy Thu January 15, 2009 @ 1:28 PM

by Commander-X-23 Posted Mon January 12, 2009 @ 7:50 PM

for someone to buy an automotive battery and want to return it unused.
It is quite likely your wife never had to deal with the return of a
new battery during her stint at the returns desk.

I don't blame him for asking to involve the police after you
repeatedly refused to take "no" for an answer and then called the
manager a "butt-hole". if I had been the manager I would have
escorted you, your wife and the battery to the nearest door.


Reply

or by Lisa H. Mon January 12, 2009 @ 9:26 PM

retuens by Jackie H. Tue January 13, 2009 @ 6:52 AM

Walmart's Policies are ever changing by Wackytobeme Tue January 13, 2009 @ 8:00 AM




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