Skip to comments.ConsumerWatch: Stores Requiring ID, Tracking To Prevent Repeated Returns
Posted on 11/21/2012 9:39:31 AM PST by rightwingintelligentsia
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) When you make a return this holiday season you may have to hand over more than just your receipt, as retailers try to prevent repeated returns.
I was required to provide them a copy of my drivers license, where they actually took the information and scanned it into their database, said a shopper who asked to be identified only as Leslie.
Leslie told the sales associate at The Childrens Place that she was uncomfortable handing over her ID just to make an exchange, but she was told that the requirement is corporate policy.
In fact, according to the National Retail Federation, 62 percent of retailers have a similar policy. Among those who demand ID for returns are The Finish Line, Home Depot, Target and more.
So where does your information go? Likely its being stored on The Retail Equation, a service which tracks how often you bring stuff back and identifies habitual returners.
The retail exchange has said return fraud and renting buying an item to wear and return costs the retail industry billions each year.
(Excerpt) Read more at sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com ...
Incredible!!!!!!! This country is upside down!
More required to return Chatty Cathy than to vote for president.
I can’t believe these evil retailers are suppressing the poor, elderly and minorities by requiring them to show an ID for returns.
What a racist based retail system we have.
Where are the protests, where are the democrats to defend these people that are obviously having their right to return products suppressed.
This happened to me a couple of years ago at a local Ross store. I refused to give my ID, told them I would keep the darn blouse and give it away. Also that I would not be returning to their store which I haven’t. They didn’t care.
I have no problem giving my ID to Home Depot when I return lumber or hardware I didn’t use. They often require it for store credit and cash returns, and since I generally go back to spend that money on something else in the store, it’s not really a loss for them.
The idea of storing the information to track habitual returners is a bit much though. What are they going to do, turn you away from the store or otherwise ban you from shopping there?
I don’t understand the “renting” of things though. The black community, specifically rappers, made it popular about 10 years ago to buy clothes and leave the tags on them. It became a status symbol of sorts. The fact that they were returning those items is tragic if not comical and I think a testament to society overall.
This is OK, but to vote it isn’t?
This is a country that has lost any idea of who it is. It has lost its self-esteem. It doesn’t care what happens to it.
Borders language culture. What’s left?
It does fuel the refurb market but retailers can't be happy with it.
You're still free to shop, they just want people to stop returning things they purchased but never intended to keep. There are valid reasons for returns, but some people do it habitually or to obtain use of an item for a short time.
There is a certain subset of the population which exploits generous return policies offered by retailers to make money.
Most of our returns were legitimate and smoothly performed. Without a receipt, you got trade credit instead of cash back. But, in those days, store management was relatively experienced and able to sort the legitimate customers from the grifters. These days, the store manager might be some 23 year old kid who passed a drug test and managed to keep the job for a couple years to get promoted.
We had some really weird returns back in the 1980's including obviously used merchandise and people who would steal stuff from one store in our chain to be refunded at another. My favorite manager was a black guy who looked like he could have sung for The Platters or one of those other clean cut singing groups.
One day, this seriously overweight black lady brings some obviously worn beach sandals into the store to demand a refund. Our guys says "Are you sure you bought these new?"
The lady says "yes."
Our guy says "That's not possible because we don't sell them in that condition. No way can I give you a refund or store credit."
Lady gets all huffy and screams "I don't appreciate you calling me a liar!"
Our guy points her to the door and says "And I don't appreciate being lied to."
Everybody who could hear the conversation, customers and employees alike, begin applauding as she slinked out the door.
Yes! Massive disenfranchisement of returners by evil capitalists seeking to maximize profits! We need the ACLU on this right away.
Home Defect does this all the time. I constantly see people returning power tools after a single use. I routinely buy refurb power tools from places like CPO on the web and basically receive a brand new tool for like 40% off retail. The pool of tools out there must be astronomical.
As a contractor, I’m always returning (UNUSED) items usually for store credit. The only way I return anything else is if it is defective.
Just after being released from Desert Shield/Storm, I took a part time job for the Christmas rush at a Montgomery Ward store in Indianapolis. I worked in “Electronic Avenue”. I was floored by the many returns of previously sold merchandise purchased either during the previous Christmas or during the after Christmas sales. Most were cordless phones or other small electronics. The phones looked like they had been used in a combat zone but since they had bought the “extended warranty” (a high profit item for the store), all were “entitled” to a newer, comparable phone. No doubt they would all be returned for next Christmas if they lasted that long. I often thought this was one of the reasons Wards went bankrupt.
I did get a great RCA clock radio for myself which had a wonderful radio and sound. It worked great until my cat threw up on the speaker grill. I’ve replaced the speaker but the control wires broke and I’m still trying to find a replacement.
Up here in Massachusetts, there was once a wonderful retail store from the 1970’s through the 1990’s called Lechmere that had great bargains, large selection, and treated their customers like gold. Everyone I knew went there to buy stuff, cameras, clothes, etc.
If you had a problem of any kind, you returned it and were given a replacement or a refund, no questions asked. You didn’t even need the reciept.
I remember people proudly telling me they would buy an item such as a camera for vacation, large television for a sports event, a suit for a wedding, and just return it and get a refund afterwards, no questions asked.
I was flabbergasted. It wasn’t that I didn’t know people could be so dishonest, it was that they talked about it so openly and proudly.
Lechmere went out of business in the 1990’s.
Service Merchandise was doing that back in the early 90’s.
Since when is this a news story?
I knew of a way to get $15-20 in store credit for $.01. It was very widely abused and people would literally have thousands of dollars in store electronic gift cards.
Yes, $15-20 in store credit for ONE CENT by abusing return policies. Of course this was years ago and every retailer whose return policy would allow you to do this has been gone for more than 5 years.
Do not underestimate the cost of return abuse to a retailer. Every retailer I’ve seen that didn’t clamp down on this, and we’re talking multiple big box retailers, is bankrupt.
Comp USA, Circuit City, Media Play were all great... once.
Just the other day, a FReeper who shopped at Fry's commented on how while they were in line waiting, a woman attempted to return a camera. On opening the box, the clerk discovered it was a rock and not a camera inside. Then came the tears and denial, and the woman eventually blamed it on her husband waiting in the car in the parking lot. As he watched, the woman was detained until the police arrived, then escorted outside to identify her husband waiting in the car. Both were arrested.
Such as it is, who can blame stores for monitoring against this kind of fraud?
Well thank goodness the SF city council banned nudity again. I could handle just about any lame excuse from a lemming, but a rude nude lemming...forget it.
In the retail store where I work, we do not need an ID for items returned with a receipt, but we do for items returned without one. Why? Because we have quite a bit of return fraud. There are plenty of people who do not buy an item, but stick in a a bag that they bring to the store. They put the items in the bag and come to the counter telling us they couldn’t find the receipt. We have to give them a store credit, but we need their ID first. I have personally turned in 3 thieves this year who ended up going to jail because of their fraud. Fraud costs my store tens of thousand of dollars each year unnecessarily, and prices keep going up to pay for it.
My favorite fraudulent return stories:
The guy who bought a gas grill, assembled it, turned on the gas with the hood closed, walked away for five minutes, came back and hit the igniter and blew it into shrapnel. (returned it to the store claiming it was “defective”)
And the guy who bought a new TV set and then carefully packed his old one (a 1960’s vintage black-and-white model) back into the same box and returned it for a full refund.
Someone on one of the truck forums I am on told the story of buying motor oil at Walmart and discovering that it was used oil returned a refund.
Is there no low to which we cannot find a way to debase?
Home Depot has had problems in the past of people bringing back stolen merchandise and getting store credit.In some cases people were stealing thousands of dollars of mechandise and then returning it.
The other big problem for them was people buying snowblowers,chainsaws, pumps, paint sprayers, generators,shop vacs and other tools. They would use them and then return them. This would happen during/after every major weather event(bizzard, ice storm, floods, hurricanes). Now they only will accept a return if there is actually something wrong with the product. People are basically scum and they ruined it for everybody.
I brought a whole house humidifier back to Walmart when it stopped working. I had my receipt. They took it out of the box and made sure the model/SKU was the same as on the box.
The lady told me that people would try to return electronic
appliances all the time that were different than the box. They buy a new DVD player or TV and then stick the old one in the box and try to return it.
I believe it. It used to be that people were fundamentally trustworthy. Now everyone’s presumed to be a scumbag until they can prove otherwise.
I once knew a crazy lady who shopped every day and then returned the all stuff. She was addicted to the thrill of buying stuff she could not afford. Shopping and returning purchases was her “job.” Her poor husband and children...
Last time I stayed at the Westin in Boston I opened a beer out of the mini fridge in the room. You know the Heineken that costs $6.00. I took one slip and then spit it out into the bathroom sink. It was water. Some scumbag had drank the beer and then refilled it with water and put the cap back on. I left a note for the maid. I still got charged.
That is why the newest mini frige room bars have an electronic reader that states ANYTHING removed from this fridge will automatically be charged to your room bill.
Same scam, but only this was a P.C. (computer) returned to Wamart after Christmas for a cash refund. The employees failed to look inside the carton until hours later..... The returned carton had an old broken Win 95 ‘puter in it!
People, Black Friday is becoming more important than Thanksgiving. Of course, you need ID. Please, could you keep your priorities straight for a change.
People still do this with high value coupons.
Say the item is 15 bucks but has a 10 dollar store coupon. You buy the item with the coupon and wait a few days.
Then you go back and return said item.
They can’t give you your coupon back, so they refund the full price.
I was at a store that had a huge target on it (if you know what I mean) repairing some equipment and watched it happen. The clerks knew it. They knew the guy.. Said he’s gotten 1000’s back that way.
I was told that no one in the store has the ability to stop it because it’s company policy.
I doubt the store with the huge target on it really cared all that much as the coupon was probably sent in to the manufacturer for payment anyways.
With registers that can spit out coupons at the check out you would think it could reprint the original coupon and give that back to the customer.
I’d bet they are working on that as we speak.
Blitz gas cans just went under for basically the same thing. To many BS law suits. Some as stupid as people suing them because they where pouring gas on a fire from the can.
You just can’t fix stupid.
I purchased the last box containing a Black and Decker jump start battery at Wal-Mart. I saw the that the seals were still in place on the box and I could see that the unit was inside the box.
When i got it home and opened it, I found that the unit inside the box was severely used, to the point that one of the little plastic ears that the battery clips attach to was broken off. There was obvious wear on the other ear.
I got the same treatment that the lady you described got; that is, "That's not possible because we don't sell them in that condition."
But THEY DID sell it in that condition; probably because the criminal in this case carefully repackaged the item and returned it, getting cash back for his used item while keeping the new one.
Fortunately for me, Wal-Mart took the item back and I got a refund. I would have been happy to show my ID if it could put a stop to this kind of fraud. These criminals are stealing from all of us. The retailers must raise prices to cover the loss from the fraud.
All we need in Florida is a report of a storm and people run down to Home Depot and buy a generator use it then return it, I worked at Sears and people would do this also Should charge $100 for restocking fee this would stop this kind of abuse.
Some years back an old acquaintance bragged about getting brand new Craftsman tools from Sears by exchanging beat-up items he purchased at garage sales.
Some years back an old acquaintance bragged about getting brand new Craftsman tools from Sears by exchanging beat-up items he purchased at garage sales.
Not the same thing ,, Craftsman hand tools have a forever warranty with replacement... it’s a little shady since you’re not the original purchaser but that person was legitimately exchanging worn out tools (covered by the warranty) for identical fresh ones. He didn’t make the policy.
Agree that it’s “not the same thing”. But there are some people that always try to abuse a policy in one way or another.
I was talking about not insisting on everyone having an ID — for voting.
And I constantly hear about folks buying a big screen tv and returning it right after the superbowl.
The store can't sell it at full retail price after that. I'd agree with the charge or a restocking fee. I think Fry's has a 10% restock fee that limits some of their losses.
It’s not just the rap culture folk.
Back in the early seventies I dated a young aspiring actress in NYC who would ‘buy’ dresses at the upscale Henri Bendel’s just to wear for one night. A show opening, show biz dinner or cocktail party, etc. She never had a problem returning them the next day for a store credit. She did buy some way less expensive items to assuage her guilt though.
While in chick filet I overheard the woman next to me say she wasn’t buying any thing today but returning things to Sears. She came shopping with her sister earlier in the week and to appear prosperous bought some stuff. sisterless that day she was returnig the unneeded items.
I bought a remanufactured leaf blower and was told that most of these were from Home depot where people would buy them, clean up their leaves and return them
My ex-sister in law would do the same thing. Of course, that was her attitude, she was proud she could get away with it. Her husband had a very successful business, she had plenty of money. She just didn’t have a conscience.
I returned a defective lamp to Walmart and the clerk told me someone had been there the day before trying to return the same thing only upon inspection that was the wrong color and style and the customer trying to insist it was what came in the box. Really sounded like someone trying to “return” the old lamp in the new lamp box lol.