Beware of Flimsy Return Policies at Walmart

As many consumers may have noticed, there have been some changes made to Walmart’s return policy in the last year. Behind the customer service desk is a large sign that distinctly spells out the same return policies as their website does. This return policy states that “Most store items can be exchanged or refunded with a receipt within 90 days of purchase” with a few exceptions to this rule. These exceptions are as follows:

  • Computers, camcorders, digital cameras, digital music players, e-tablets, e-readers, portable video players, GPS units, video game hardware, pre-paid cell phones, and post-paid cell phones must be returned within 15 days with a receipt.
  • Airbeds returned within 15 days with a receipt that are not defective and have been opened or used will only be exchanged for an airbed of equal or greater value.
  • Defective airbeds will be exchanged for an airbed of equal or greater value within 90 days of purchase.
  • Swimming pools, lawn mowers, weed eaters, hedge trimmers, chainsaws, air conditioners, power washers, compressors, and generators must be returned within 30 days with a receipt to obtain a refund or exchange.
  • Pre-recorded movies, music, and computer/video game software and circuit cartridges must be returned within 90 days in the original and unopened packaging with a receipt to receive a refund or exchange.
    • If the above-referenced items are defective, they can be returned within 90 days with a receipt and the original packaging. Defective units may be exchanged for another unit of the same title.
  • Defective pre-owned (refurbished) video game software can be returned within 90 days with a receipt and the original packaging. Defective units may be exchanged for another unit of a different title if original title is not available.
  • All perennials, tree and shrubs must be returned within 1 year with a receipt to obtain a refund or exchange.
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Funny….I don’t see L.E.I. jeans on that list. But nevertheless, the customer service representative along with two customer service supervisors at the Harding Highway Walmart Supercenter in Lima, OH told me that company policy is that L.E.I. jeans can’t be exchanged for anything other than more L.E.I. jeans without a receipt, even though the tags were attached. When I spoke with the supervisors, I explained to them that I did not want money back, I wanted to exchange it for a store gift card so that I could use it at the gas pump. I was told that was not possible, that they had an agreement with L.E.I. and they couldn’t bend on this. Then they told me that the Walmart gas station was a different company and they couldn’t give me a gift card to use at the pump anyway. But let’s take a look at the company’s No-receipt return policy.

According to both the sign in the store and their website , “You have the option of a cash refund (for purchases under $25), a Gift Card for the amount of the purchase (for purchases over $25) or an even exchange for the product. We also follow any manufacturer’s warranties. You can make up to three No Receipt returns within a 45-day period.” From reading this, it seems that not having a receipt was irrelevant. I hadn’t made any returns within the last 45 days, and the price of the jeans was $19.98. I should have been able to get the gift card or cash back without issue.

Frustrated, I decided to scrounge through my purse one more time for the receipt. I managed to find it. Suddenly things were much different. I was given the option of having my bank card credited back the amount or a gift card for the price of the jeans plus tax. On a whim, I asked “Since the credit isn’t instant, can I just get the gift card so I can use it at the gas station?” She replies, “Yeah, we can do that!” After my 10 second glare she realized what had just happened. Apparently, Walmart suddenly owned their gas station again…

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After returning home, I made a phone call. It was to the other Lima area Walmart Supercenter on Allentown Rd. I politely asked the customer service representative if I would be able to return a pair of L.E.I. jeans with the tags attached and no receipt in exchange for a gift card. “I can’t approve a return over the phone without seeing the item, but if they are in the condition you say they are then there shouldn’t be any problem.” I asked her if there was any special store policy regarding L.E.I. jeans. “No, not that I am aware of.” She sounded as though she thought I might be crazy.

This is also not my first rodeo with Walmart since the policy change. I attempted to return a headset within the time allotted in the return policy as well, and because I bought it at the Harding Highway Walmart and wanted to exchange it at the Allentown Rd. Walmart that didn’t carry that particular kind I was denied. This is something not specified in the return policy as well.

Shopping at Walmart is no longer going to be an option in my household, as it has become painfully obvious that the customer’s satisfaction is no longer on their radar, much less at the top of their priority list. I highly recommend that anyone spending their money at Wally world to consider it a final purchase, just in case they wish to make up a new rule or two at the counter.