Returning "Free Items" Opinions Please

34 replies [Last post]
cupcake.long
Offline
Joined: 03/06/2010

Is it okay to return items you've gotten free with coupons for a cash refund?
I work for Jewel in customer service. Today a customer wanted to return schick razors and swiffer kit. She presented the receipt minus the bottom portion. We were called by the store she was returning the items to because she purchased the items at our store. We were able to look up her receipt which showed her whole order. She purchased lots of items approx $113 before coupons. After coupons the total of her order was approx $18. The receipt showed that she purchased 3 razors for 7.99 each and she used 3 coupons for 7.99. Same for the swiffer, rang up 9.49, coupon for 9.49 taken off. What is your opinion? Should she be entitled to get cash back?

Coupon Maven
Online
Joined: 07/02/2008
Gives ALL coupon shoppers a bad name.

Coupons are a way to reduce our grocery bill - not scam our store and make money on the already fabulous deals we get.

People like this shopper will definitely cause stores to implement tighter and more specific return policies. Many stores will only return the post-coupon value of the item to the shopper (in this case, around $0) to defer fraud.

The customer will argue that the store has already redeemed their $7.99 coupons, so they should get that cash back, or the store IS making money on the deal.

But being that this person tore the bottom of the receipt off (!!!) they were already trying to deceive and defraud the store. Period.

I have never advocated anything like this, and in fact have stressed in class that people should -never- return items they used coupons on. OR, items that generated Catalinas, and they kept the Cats and returned the items. There is unfortunately so much potential for abuse here.

dolrskolr
Offline
Joined: 02/08/2009
Absolutely right!!

Makes my blood boil. I posted a new link about Jewel's policy (referencing this forum). Info still outstanding but interesting conversation. Hopefully, more clarification to come ... and in writing.

cg1
Offline
Joined: 05/24/2009
What does corporate say?

When an item is returned that had a coupon used to reduce the price? Pretend the customer did present the receipt in full since it's been recreated through research.

cheaptherapy
Offline
Joined: 02/16/2009
No returns for free products only replacements

Simple solution to defer fraud. Jewel (and other stores) need to have a policy that items that were received free after coupons (or below some level) can't be returned only exchanged. Any form of cash or credit will allow fraud. Otherwise, unfortunately, a very small few will take advantage of large coupons and ruin it for everyone.

a8n3fan
Offline
Joined: 08/10/2009
meijer return

i used my cats. $2 off any purchase. 2 of them and i purchased 5 keys. my total was around $6 less the $4 cats. my oop was $2. one key worked and the other 4 didnt. i returned them for another, they were out of the keys i needed so she had to return my money. i only got back less than $1. and no keys, used my cats for nothing. if you are going to purchase somoething you might have to return do not use your cats.

qponcents
Offline
Joined: 12/08/2008
The ending?

How did this end?? So curious... of course since the receipt was torn off it would be really safe to "assume" she knew what she was doing. She purchased $113 worth of items for $18. Curious about the $18... the value of the items returned was approx. $25, but her oop was $18. Can a store refund more than the amount a customer paid?

dolrskolr
Offline
Joined: 02/08/2009
Can someone email her or anything to come back and post?

Curious minds want to know. Of course, if Jewel was extra customer service friendly and we find out they did ... ooooh boy. There's a can of worms been opened. Suddenly we'll see a lot of 'tragic' figures at CS needing the money and returning items they shouldn't have bought anyway. Baaaaaaad precedent.

cupcake.long
Offline
Joined: 03/06/2010
Post reply

Sorry I don't know what the store that called about this transaction did for this customer. I know at my store we have given cash back for a free item because we get credit for the coupon. Sorry to say it all depends on who you are dealing with.

icoupon2
Offline
Joined: 12/15/2009
The legality of it

There are many factors to consider here...does Jewel's policy address returns where coupons are involved? Not that I have seen. The terms and conditions in which the store redeems the coupons for reimbursement will play in here as well. The previous poster (in my opinion) is correct about this part of it:

If Jewel submits for reimbursement for let's say $9.00 + .08 handling fee for the coupon, but the customer has returned the merchandise (which let's presume) can be resold (an unopened Swiffer with no damage to the box is going to go back on the shelf in most cases) and has only been refunded the amount she paid in tax, Jewel is now the one committing fraud. They have submitted for reimbursement for redeeming the coupon, in exchange for the merchandise, but now they have BOTH the merchandise AND the reimbursement. There are laws regulating coupon use, but I have been searching for about 2 hours now and I'll be darned if I can find what I am looking for! [Which irritates me to no end, I'm a Legal Assistant (albeit a currently unemployed one) This is what I DO!]

While we can pretty much surmise she was pulling a scam, its really sticky from a technical, legal standpoint.

*The rest of this post is unrelated but interesting (at least to me!)*

In trying to research this, I did find something else I was killing myself trying to find during the big Dominick's coupon redemption discussion. ConAgra (although I'm sure other companies have their own rates) has a specific section of their Retailer Coupon Redemption Policy that was VERY interesting. It says:

"Retailers who use a clearinghouse or billing agent will be reimbursed at our established rate of nine dollars per thousand coupons redeemed ($9/M)."

I think that pretty much solidifies our opinion that Dominick's is losing a small fortune by redeeming their coupons in bulk rather than face value. Nine lousy bucks for a THOUSAND coupons??

sbdmmd
Offline
Joined: 11/07/2009
Why?

Why are you asking us? If you work for Jewel, you tell us how the situation ended up. If you had access to her complete receipt then the question seems mute. You know how much she paid and she did not pull anything over on Jewel, wether she needed the money or was just trying to be scamming. I think it is great that Jewel did have access to the original receipt and can track all the deals coupons and all per register.

This website seems to be about using coupons to the best they can be used, not about how to abuse a great store like Jewel. Seriously, there coupon policy is so good, why do people want to screw it up for those who do play fair.

People didn't really think they couldn't track it did they? You are using a preferred card that has all your information attached to it.

brc
Offline
Joined: 01/21/2010
I don't think our preferred cards have any info attached to them

other than possibly what we have purchased. When I got my card they didn't ask me for any info.

And I think she was just posing the question for the purpose of discussion. I have learned a lot from reading through the discussions of coupon etiquette.

It would be interesting to hear from an employee if the store really does get full reimbursement for the free items. However then it is the manufacturer who is getting ripped off. The customer walks with the cash (which the store has just given her), the store gets reimbursed and the manufacturer is out the cash.

sbdmmd
Offline
Joined: 11/07/2009
You are right

I didn't mean personal information. I meant information about the transaction.

Here is a crazy situation. I bought a crock pot 6 months ago ant Bed Bath and Beyond. The ceramic part cracked (defective) I no longer had the receipt, I planned on keeping it forever. I took it back looking to just replace the one I had. They no longer had the model. They took the discover card I paid with and found my purchase six months prior and gave me a credit for that amount. I didn't know when exactly I had bought it or anything. The store found all my information.

I was glad I could get a crock pot, but yet a little creeped out that they could get my transaction within a minute.

cg1
Offline
Joined: 05/24/2009
Wasn't six months

was at the time of purchase at Jewel but the register ink ran out so I asked customer service to print me a receipt. They asked for my credit card and produced a receipt. Don't know their time limit.

onceuponacoupon
Offline
Joined: 01/19/2010
coupon fraud?

Could this be coupon fraud? I know that if you bought something and got a cat for it, if you return it without giving the cat back, that's coupon fraud. I don't know if this would be the same or not.

Where they Buy One Get One Free coupons? I'm trying to figure out how she had a 9.49 coupon. If so, which one is she trying to return? The one she paid for or the one she got for 'free'? It's really fishy to me that she tore off the bottom of the receipt............

DiamondCass
Offline
Joined: 02/15/2010
ahhh forgot about that. When

ahhh forgot about that.
When I returned juice one day (defect in packaging) the CS lady said "okay, if you got a coupon back when you bought these, I have to have that back if you want to return this"
Definitely something wrong if she kept the cat and still got cash back for the *free* items

onceuponacoupon
Offline
Joined: 01/19/2010
I don't know if she did get a

I don't know if she did get a cat or not, that was just an example of fraud that I was throwing out there. :) I sure would be interesting if she got a P&G cat though, wouldn't it?

I'm not sure if this could be considered the same thing though.

DiamondCass
Offline
Joined: 02/15/2010
not so sure...

At first I was agreeing with most people here, that it's dishonest to return items that she didn't actually PAY for and expect cash back. When I've had to return an item I used a coupon for, I get the amount I paid MINUS the coupon back, so I don't think Jewel would pay her more than what she actually paid OOP for the items.

However... Like some others have said, the store will still get their cash for the product from the manufacturer. Not sure financially how this works out (maybe then Jewel doesn't get any profit on the item, because they gave her the money they'll get from the mfr... but won't they also have the product that they can re-sell? as long as it's shelf stable) Obviously this person DID know she was doing something wrong, or at the very least, unsure if what she was doing was OK since she only had the top half of her receipt. Weird.

Another HOWEVER... I've been in the situation before where you'll do (almost) anything for cash when you don't have much (returned my $300 red Kitchen Aid stand up mixer -a wedding shower gift- to Bed Bath & beyond when we needed cash to pay rent). Maybe the family car broke down and she needed cash to get it fixed? or to buy a new tire? or to pay the heat bill?? Who knows... This situation is still shady, but we can't assume to know why she wanted that cash back.

I know it's hard not to judge, but it's really not our place to. Yes, it is a shame when dishonest people try to take advantage of the system, because it reflects badly on the rest of us who follow the 'rules', but we just have to hope that they know enough of us do it the right way that they won't suspend programs or stop accepting coupons....

dolrskolr
Offline
Joined: 02/08/2009
I can appreciate your sympathy, however,

not getting your reasoning. You returned a wedding gift which is a very common scenario and expected by stores. Probably had the WHOLE receipt, too.

There are so many things wrong (to me) about this scenario, I couldn't even begin to begin :~)

Stores are not our bankers.

It's hard not to judge a rotten apple when surroundings and appearances smell funny. Judgement? Well, ok, more than just mine being made. Her judgement was made when she put into action steps to get that refund. She thought about what to do, tore the receipt where it began to have relevance to the other party, and went to CS to get the refund. The store's judgment had to be based on receipt of a torn document, research into history of that document, and whether or not to refund monies. She wanted something in its entirety (refund) when she did not present the same opportunity (a complete receipt) to the store so they could make a fair decision.

I also don't believe in assuming a tragic need (not apparent) when it could very well be just greed (50-50 chance) My sympathy isn't so forthcoming and shouldn't be expected when facts are unknown.

I mean no disrespect and realize there are truly people in need. Just that there are 'better' ways to meet those needs.

Bernard2003
Offline
Joined: 11/24/2009
I guess I would go half way here

Since Jewel IS getting their money via coupon, she should be able to make the return. HOWEVER, I think getting cash back when she used coupons is less than honest. Maybe they should get store credit instead of cash. That way, Jewel isn't giving her cash for her coupons or losing any money out of the deal. Of course, it would be better ethically if she never returned the items at all. I think we all have taken one for the team every once in a while. It's the ethical thing to do - which she obviously didn't want to do, seeing how she presented half a receipt to the CS person.

dolrskolr
Offline
Joined: 02/08/2009
Hadn't thought of that

VERY good idea. Why not? Other stores do it.

chulaleila
Offline
Joined: 01/25/2009
Devil's advocate

To play devil's advocate....doesn't Jewel get reimbursed the money from the coupon? If she returns the merchandise and the store keeps the coupons, they aren't losing anything. Don't get me wrong, I don't agree with her decision to try to return the stuff. It sounds like she had shady intentions and that kind of behavior is what gives the rest of us a bad name!

jennifer34
Offline
Joined: 08/25/2008
I bet she had no idea they

I bet she had no idea they could call the original store and pull up the reciept, I would love to know what her reaction was when they called you. I hope she was ashamed but somehow I doubt it. People are idiots. I also hope no refund was given I know sometimes stores want to preserve customer service but sometimes with a customer like that your better off cutting them loose.

illini
Offline
Joined: 06/02/2009
The store will get the money from the MFR

I would think that just like anything this could be abused. But the store is getting the money from the manufacturer for the coupons. I actually had a swiffer deal that didn't work out with the catalina and the CS at Jewel refunded my coupon amount also and even explained that it was ok since they would get the money from the mfr.

dolrskolr
Offline
Joined: 02/08/2009
Still believe she was attempting to defraud

because, while the store gets the money for the coupons + $.08 (or whatever) and the returned items, coupons aren't supposed to be turned into cash which is what she was trying to do. I don't believe they hold cash value after the value given at checkout. That's why the (paraphrase) refunds are AFTER coupons are deducted.

Her action was a blatant attempt to reverse that knowing full well they wouldn't have her coupons to turn back to her.

If you can't turn in a whole receipt, the desired transaction should not be done, even though the store can pull up the history. I say 'Take it to small claims court'. Or, d@mmit to heck, take the 'risk' and lose her and her class of people as customers. We'd all be better off.

I smell an addendum to store policy which reads 'Returns are to be accompanied by a complete, unmutilated, readable receipt. If an intact, readable receipt cannot be presented, the store reserves the right to refuse the transaction.' Or, better yet, 'No returns will be accepted if more than (insert time limit) has passed from time on receipt to presentation for refund.' At least this way, they have the chance to go to the cashier's drawer and return her coupons along with her pennies spent.

dolrskolr
Offline
Joined: 02/08/2009
NO - She is fraudulently pursuing a refund

She mutilated the receipt thus showing she is fully aware she is not entitled to a refund. She should be prosecuted for attempted theft.

If the receipt were whole, refunds are AFTER coupons.

What was done? Did she just walk away after attempting this scam? The store should have kept the receipt for 'further investigation'. Man, she's got a pair hanging!!

regis
Offline
Joined: 10/20/2008
She should get what she paid......

and that was $0.......now she can get that in cash or on a Jewel card, her choice.

Coupon savings
Offline
Joined: 02/01/2010
That is funny - if she gets cash or credit, it is still monetizi

That is funny regis - if she gets cash or credit, it is still monetizing the coupon.

I had not thought about the store getting paid but if people can use a coupon and then get credit or cash for it then people could use all the SS coupons one week and return it all and keep maybe $100 or more - not fair either.

qponcents
Offline
Joined: 12/08/2008
I wouldn't think

I wouldn't think she could/should get $ back... she didn't pay any $ for the items she was returning, right? This reminds me of the man trying to return 22(?) jars of Ragu expecting to get cash back (and keeping the your bucks he rec'd from them). To me, it seems the same type of situation. I would not like working in customer service knowing the way some people try to scam the stores. What did the Jewel store end up doing with her situation?

Coupon savings
Offline
Joined: 02/01/2010
Good grief no!!!

Good grief no!!! I thought customers got back what they paid for, if she paid $0, that is what she should get. That is dishonesty! In fact, if you use catalinas to get to, say, 50 cents, if you returned stuff you did not have a coupon for, you still would not be able to get cash back, I would guess, because otherwise it would be a way to make a catalina into cash.

letsshop
Online
Joined: 08/02/2008
TO ME THIS IS JUST ANOTHER SCAM

People do this and think its not dishonest !!! I just can't believe how people can even have the nerve to do this . What didyou store do about this ?? I would have black balled her name with all the Jewel stores . Just like they do when their are bad checks given out !!

coupon user
Offline
Joined: 12/29/2008
Returns

I think she should get nothing back and should be told that if she did not want or have any use for the items than she should donate them. Let someone else get some use out of those free items.

couponcluless
Offline
Joined: 01/19/2010
Don't Coupons = Cash?

I may be mistaken, and don't get me wrong I definatlly don't agree with what this particular customer was trying to do, BUT I have had customer service give me cash for the coupons I've forgotten to give the cashier, and had the manager explain why that was ok, so I think that if the store will get the cash for the coupons and the coupon was her meathod of payment then she's entittled to the cash back,No? again I don't know the legallities but I thought that were supposed to consider our coupons as cash?

grandmahaha
Offline
Joined: 01/04/2009
Coupon Redemption

No, the coupons value is redeemable only when you're buying said product. Returning that product not only screws up inventory, cheats the mfg, and subjects Jewel to audit irregularities. Besides she probably got a P & G $10 catalina too. What gaul!

abalcer
Offline
Joined: 02/16/2010
I think this is wrong. You

I think this is wrong. You should not be able to return an item you got for free and expect money back. Even if coupons=cash she did not pay anything out of pocket and she is trying to get cash back. The manufacture is loosing out twice on this deal. This is going to give super couponers a bad rap.