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Walmart: Taking Advantage of Easy Returns

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Wal-Mart is well known for hassle-free returns. They will accept just about anything as long as the product is in good condition and the return is within the allotted time period. They generally don’t even ask why an item is being returned! I hear stories of ladies who bring half-eaten dog food to the customer service counter saying, “I need to return this. My dog won’t eat it anymore.” It’s amazing to see what Wal-Mart will take back.



A friend told me how one can take advantage of this system of hassle-free and no-question returns. If something recently bought breaks unexpectedly, there are two options: manufacturer warranty or store return. Some stores will not take the product back. Basically, they say that it is the manufacturer’s responsibility to make up for a defective product. Manufacturer warranties are tedious to claim and often will not cover some defects and malfunctions.

Enter Wal-Mart. For this example, I will use the Sony PSP. PSPs are notorious for stuck and dead pixels. Pretend that somebody buys one at Gamestop. Days later, he sees a couple of dead pixels. So, he tries to return it to Gamestop. Unfortunately, Gamestop does not take returns of Sony PSPs based on stuck pixels. The store suggests taking advantage of Sony’s one-year warranty. Sony, who has been under negative media for quite some time, will not cover PSPs for dead pixels under their warranty. So, there is nothing to do. Not quite. Pretend the Sony PSP was bought at Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart customer service will accept it and give a refund. My friend did it this way. He actually returned three defective PSP to Wal-Mart three times!

The lesson learned is this: if you can buy something at Wal-Mart at a decent price, do that instead of a specialty store like Gamestop. That way, you will not have to worry about returns.

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Posted on Tuesday, November 15th, 2005

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