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Brookestone Complaint - Helicopter return

Review by jb98021 on 2012-01-09
LYNNWOOD, WASHINGTON -- I took the original receipt for a radio controlled helicopter and went to the Brookstone store where it was purchased. It did not operate as promised. The original purchase was made on a credit card (not mine) and I was informed that store credit was my only option without bringing in the original card. This was a gift and I did not have the credit card.

With a receipt the store should issue a full refund and not a store credit. Judging by others I watched trying to return defective items I am not alone in being frustrated by this policy.

The clerk could only tell me that this was the company policy. Trying to complain on the company website later restricted me to a 2" square box with a limit on the number of words.

This all adds up to extremly poor customer service and I will not purchase anything from Brookstone again.
Comments:14 Replies - Latest reply on 2012-01-10
Posted by momsey on 2012-01-09:
It sounds fair to me. You received a helicopter as a gift. Since it was defective, you should receive a working helicopter. A store credit would allow that to happen. I don't see why you would expect cash back.
Posted by trmn8r on 2012-01-09:
It is however their company policy: "Returns made within 30 days of purchase with the original purchase receipt may be exchanged or refunded in the original tender." If the "original tender" isn't possible, a credit would be the logical choice. I see that if you are over 30 days, that can also be a reason for receiving a store credit instead of a refund.

Many companies have this policy. About 7 years ago, my mom received a gift bought at Sears on a CC, with the receipt. She got a store credit. I think it is the same at Target.
Posted by Ben There on 2012-01-10:
This is a fraud prevention method designed to prevent a round-a-bout method of getting cash from a stolen credit or debit card.

Fraudsters could steal a credit card, buy products from a store, return them with the receipt (but no card), and hope for cash.
Posted by At Your Service on 2012-01-10:
Ben There makes a very good point. Another point is that retailers are charged a percentage of the price to transact the purchase on a credit card. The only way of making sure they are not losing money on the transaction is to require the SAME card being used for said refund.
Posted by Churro on 2012-01-10:
Actually the Visa/Master Card merchant agreement prohibits merchants from issuing cash refunds for items charged to Visa/MC but these other theories are interesting.
Posted by Nohandle on 2012-01-10:
I've never heard that before Churro. Interesting. I do, however, agree with all the previous responses.
Posted by tnchuck100 on 2012-01-10:
When it comes to a refund the credit card company would actually prefer the business did a cash refund and not involve them at all. It is the business itself that usually wants to refund in the same manor that payment was made. There is nothing in the merchant/CC agreement that prohibits other forms of refunding to a customer.
Posted by Nohandle on 2012-01-10:
Every business I'm familiar with pays a transaction fee whether a credit to a card or a debit. That, obviously is considered a cost of doing business but many consumers still don't realize the business pays a fee each and every time to accept their card. Some businesses insist on a refund in the same manner in an attempt to halt as much fraud as possible even if they must pay a fee.

I know the OP was not guilty of this but some individuals steal within the store and trot back to the return area wanting a refund. It's a never ending problem for both retailers and customers.
Posted by momsey on 2012-01-10:
Churro, do you have a source on that? I can't imagine why Viss or MasterCard would be against cash refunds for items purchased on their card. It would be a win win for them, still charging interest on the purchase to the customer, plus still getting the fee from the merchant, while the transaction has been reversed.
Posted by Churro on 2012-01-10:
momsey, This is straight from a Visa pamphlet. MC/Discover/Amex have the same policy.


"Do not provide cash refunds for returned merchandise originally purchased with
a Visa card. Visa does not permit cash refunds for any credit or debit card
transaction."

http://usa.visa.com/download/merchants/chargeback-management-guidelines-for-visa-merchants.pdf
Posted by tnchuck100 on 2012-01-10:
Common sense question:
How would VISA know an item had been returned at all?

If the merchant wants to do a cash refund they won't tell VISA. The customer is not going to tell them. This transaction is not a "charge back" and has zero impact on VISA.

Is this another case of common sense must be cast aside due no one understanding what is actually involved?

Note: This is not accounting for someone with a fraudulent intent. In which case even VISA's "rule" will not circumvent.
Posted by CowboyFan on 2012-01-10:
The problem is that the original card holder could contest the charge, after the recipient got a cash back refund.

I had a girlfriend once who had the same thing happen to her. She told me: "If you buy a present for me that you think I may return, pay cash for it, instead of putting it on a credit card." I found a solution to that - don't buy any gifts for her.
Posted by Slimjim on 2012-01-10:
A cash refund on a credit card is basically a cash advance. Completely different terms and rules. The merchant would be charged for the transaction, yet has no sale to show for it. Without the ability to credit back the purchase on the original card, store credit is about the only solution they could offer that's fair to all parties.
Posted by Churro on 2012-01-10:
I don't know about all the what-ifs, malfeasance, fraud, skipping transactions fees, gold digging girl friends or such. All good explanations but the simple truth is stores won't issue cash refunds for credit card purchases because they agreed not to when they signed up to take the particular card.

It's been that way for as long as I can remember. (which isn't all that long these days)

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