Walmart Informative - Store Does Not Honor Posted Return Policy
CHIPLEY, FLORIDA -- I had purchased a number of items for a church event. Our participation was unusually low and I tried to return several of the items at the end of the weekend. These were several bags of chips, a bulk can of cheeses sauce, a case of sodas, and two boxes of multiparty large candy bars. The value was less than $150 for everything. I was told by the lady at customer service that they do not accept return of food items. I asked for a manager.
Two assistant managers came and explained they did not accept returns of food items. I explained these were only purchased a day or two before, I had the receipts, and I had returned items at other Walmart stores. I was told this is the policy. I asked if it was a national policy, I was not given an answer. I asked if there were signs posted saying there are no returns for food. They said no. I said I would like to see their policy. They did not answer. They then asked if there was anything else I needed.
I asked about media ads saying they accept returns and the sign in the service area explaining the policy. They said this was their policy at the Mariana and Chipley Florida stores. They said it was due to safety concerns. I asked if someone could buy clothes, contaminate them and return them, they said this was the policy and asked of I anything else that I needed. I explained that I did not feel this was right due to no notification and it being contrary to signs in the store and national advertising. They again asked very sternly if there was anything else I needed. I said I would not argue, rather would take it up with corporate.
I then asked the lady at the desk if I brought back a case of beer, if she would take it back, She said no. I told her she needs to read the sign behind her, that it listed the return policy for alcohol. She said she would not discuss this with me.
My first concern is that the assistant managers gave no flexibility, even for the canned items. They did not answer my question about the origination of the policy or about the corporate and advertised policy. They gave nothing of consideration other than to listen, state their policy and end the conversation. Note, I had not raised my voice or gotten disruptive.
I am also concerned that the advertisements, signs and store past precedent is that Walmart takes back items as long as you have a receipt and do so within the correct time period and state policy, yet I was not able to make a return. These items (not fresh perishables) were bought by me for a church event and now I am out of pocket for things I do not need, based on making purchases under their stated policy.
I am also concerned that this is a store policy and goes against the corporate policy. I might also note I help with several events a year and we purchase from our local Walmart instead of buying from a commercial service.
I registered a complaint on the Walmart website and it said an email was sent to the store manager. I also registered a complaint with the Florida Department of Consumer Affairs. I have never received any reply from Walmart, not even a letter saying too bad. The state tried to mediate, but sent me a letter saying the store refused to participate.
Having worked in retail and grocery sales, I understand and could even agree that returns of grocery items should be limited. My concern is I was not told the truth by the posted policy and advertisements about returns. The local store has a policy that contradicts the national policy and does not state this at the store. I am also concerned that the store did not reply to my complaint in any way.
I have been a fan of Walmart, met Sam Walton several times and defended Walmart and the retailing ideas Sam Walton established. One time I refused to walk a picket line in front of a Walmart while a member of a meat cutter’s union. This is not the Walmart I want to shop at.