In a Tizzy over Target’s new return policy

After receiving several emails and phone calls from viewers about Target’s tough new return policy, I decided to give the retailer’s corporate office a call. i used their response for an “Ask Amy” segment yesterday.  You can check it out here: http://www.click2houston.com/investigates/16064705/detail.html

Apparently, the segment wasn’t satisfactory for Jennifer Dugan.  About 5 minutes after the report, she emailed me with this message:

 

“I had anxiously awaited your story on Target, as I stopped shopping there in December after learning their new return policy. I’m sorry to say that for the first time watching your show, I was disappointed.

 

I felt like it was an opportunity for you to advertise Target’s ridiculous justification of an unfair policy. To blindly accept an answer that was clearly prepared by a PR person, that “it will help prevent fraudulent returns”. Why was there no further prodding for an answer? Do they not care about the honest customers, such as myself, who will not shop there anymore? How about giving us concerned consumers with a place where we can further inquire/complain?”

Here’s the deal, Jennifer: As a reporter/ consumer advocate, my advice is to let the business know how you feel by taking your business elsewhere. They will get the message.  It is Target’s perogative to tow this line, however strict it may be, when it comes to returning products to their store.  They aren’t doing anything illegal or deceptive.

But since I received several emails before and after my story, I wanted to post some of your comments so others could read your rants.  Check out the comments section for what other consumers are saying.

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11 Responses

  1. My daughter was registered at Target for her wedding last summer. We had nothing but problems with Target. Since she was getting so many duplicates she started pulling the items off the registry so that she would not get even more. That was a great idea in theory, however it made returns impossible. Target said that since things weren’t on the registry they would not return them at all without the receipt (as a note, very few people include the receipt in a gift). Speaking of the receipt, they had the policy of not taking things back after 90 days even with the receipt but this was not long enough. If a bride had a shower more than 90 days before the wedding she was pretty much out of luck for returns. The other issue we had was them letting you return an item but only in the same department. My daughter had gotten all the small appliances anyone could ever use, but they still would not let us return it for something in another department. I called corporate and was repeatedly read a scripted reply “I am sorry, our policy…” They would not transfer me to anyone higher up, but offered me the address to write my complaint. I did do that, but as expected I received a scripted reply. Lesson learned, but I have told everyone who would listen.

  2. My son and his wife were registered at Target. Target did not do a good job of updating their registry. They received TWO microwaves, FOUR coffee presses, THREE toasters, etc. No one gave them a gift receipt. Target refused to take the items back, even though my son and his wife wanted to exchange the duplicates for other items. On the other hand, Bed, Bath & Beyond removed purchased items from the registry to prevent duplicates. And, if something needed to be returned, they were gracious and accommodating.

    My son who is getting married in June refused to register at Target. He said that after watching his brother, it obviously wasn’t worth the hassle. He and his fiancée registered at Bed, Bath, & Beyond.

    Thanks for your investigation.

    Mary

  3. I just watched your report on Targets return policy. I don’t know why you singled out Target. Have you looked at Toys R Us’s return policy? No receipt no refund no exchange. What you forgot mention is that if you used a gift card, credit or debit card, or check, your purchase can be looked up within 90 days. You also mentioned that even with a receipt there are restrictions. Of course there are. I don’t know of any retailers that allow you to return something past 90 days. I used to work for Target and if you saw all the fraudulent returns you would understand the policy. You also mentioned about registry’s. After working at target for over 2 years, half the time people do not present the cashier with the gift registry, therefore it cannot be updated. If the item has been shown as purchased on the registry there is not an issue with a refund or exchange within a reasonable amount of time. I know when I am purchasing a gift for anyone I always attach a gift receipt, and Target prints one out with your regular receipt. I find it hard to believe that you try to bash Target the way you did and not supply all the facts. Have you seen what Target does for the community and charities. If you are an honest consumer and if people follow instructions and give the cashier the registry you wouldn’t have an issue.

    Thank You

    Jennifer

  4. This is the first time I have every written in to a news channel, so you must know this has really gotten to me.

    I had anxiously awaited your story on Target, as I stopped shopping there in December after learning their new return policy. I’m sorry to say that for the first time watching your show, I was disappointed.

    I felt like it was an opportunity for you to advertise Target’s ridiculous justification of an unfair policy. To blindly accept an answer that was clearly prepared by a PR person, that “it will help prevent fraudulent returns”. Why was there no further prodding for an answer? Do they not care about the honest customers, such as myself, who will not shop there anymore? How about giving us concerned consumers with a place where we can further inquire/complain?

    I had hope seeing the lead in to the story that maybe, a point would be made to Target, at least in some small way. I do however appreciate that this policy has been given more attention by your show. I do know that I tell everyone I know to NOT shop there anymore.

    Jennifer

  5. Is it legal for stores, ie, Target, not to exchange an item after 90 days, that does not work??? ( With a receipt.) It seems that their return policy is such that only items returned within 90 days, with a receipt can be returned. I have purchased an inexpensive microwave, on 4/1/07, and I have the receipt, but there does not seem to be any recourse for them or the manufacturer standing behind their product. “Chefmate Micorwave Oven Model #P60D17L-D4. It was only $34.99, and it is not the money, it is the principle of it. I have tried several months ago to return it, but at first I could not locate the receipt. Then after I found the receipt a couple of months ago, they still will not replace it. When I call the manufacturer, it is very difficult to get them to answer the phone – 1-800-856-8977. They just have a recording, and after several messages and about a month later, they called me back. At that time, I did not have the receipt so I was out of luck.

    Anyway, this sounds like a petty issue, but I am boycotting that store, and telling all of my friends, because people spend a lot more money on appliances there, and cameras, etc, and I think that their policy seems unreasonable for items that quit working.

    Concerned Consumer,

    Joan Landers

  6. I am 8.5 months pregnant and was registered at Target for my baby
    shower. After my baby shower I went to return a Winnie the Pooh diaper
    bag that I did not register for at the Target store located at
    1960@Cutten Rd in Houston. The lady at customer service told me that
    since the bag was over $20 I would have to have a receipt. I have no
    idea who gave me the diaper bag and don’t have time to ask all 50 people
    who were there. The tag is still on the bag and it says Target on the
    tag, the price is $24.99. I asked to speak to a manager and she agreed
    with the lady at customer service that I would need a receipt. I do not
    want my money back just a credit so I can get something that I actually
    need! I called the main office at the number on Target.com and sent an
    e-mail complaint. Target replied saying that I need a receipt and they
    could not help me. I had another item to return but Walmart carries the
    same item and was able to return it, even though
    it was not purchased there. It has been a real inconvenience trying to
    get this diaper bag exchanged for something else. Target will only give
    credit back for something under $20 so I asked if they could just give
    me a $20 store credit and they denied that too. Is there something I
    could do?

  7. I am reading all these comments on people that have had problems with duplicates on their registries. That just goes to show that the people purchasing the items are not giving the gift registries to the cashier. As for items older than 90 days, that is the manufactors responsiblity to stand by their product. Target just like any other retailer sells these products, they don’t make them. There is a saying “You get what you pay for.” Example a $35 microwave. Again if you keep your receipts you wouldn’t have a problem. Or even if you don’t keep the receipt but paid for it any other way except for cash your item can be returned or exchanged. Why don’t you people look at all the charity work Target does in the community or all the money that is donated to local schools. Bottom line is keep your receipt.

  8. My local Target store smells like feet.

  9. The Target in Humble is very helpful and has never been difficult about returns for me. Also, if you do not have a receipt and you used a bank debit card or a credit card, they are able to look up the purchase that way.

  10. Target is only doing what it has to do to prevent dishonest people from taking advantage of a “liberal” return policy. I have no problem with it. Keep your receipt or if you can’t do that pay with your debit card. Every purchase now comes with a gift receipt, use it when you give a gift! Problem solved

  11. Hi there, I couldn’t find a means to contact you, and so I really hope that you see this comment. I have a website covering beds, and thought you would like to exchange links with me. I have submitted my email address if you would like to get in contact. Thanks.

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