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People making legitimate returns have nothing to worry about. The only ones who would have an issue are the NATs, because they now have to find another way to rip off the store.

The Last Archimedean

As long as it states openly on the return policy that your information will be sent to this company for tracking if you return the product, I don't have a problem with it. If they don't tell you they're tracking returns, I have an issue: I don't like being *secretly* tracked. If they have it written on a sign that all returns are going to be tracked, that's cool. If a customer is too dumb to read the sign and whines about it, that's their problem... learn to f'ing read.


Yep, that's exactly what it's about! As long as it's known what's going to happen to your information, I don't see anything wrong with it, in fact I'd be curious to find out for myself what kind of information they have on me.


I'm kinda dubious about how useful this data actually is to combat NATs. Let's suppose you could tell from the data that a particular person seemed to be returning high-value items on several occasions. That proves what, exactly? It certainly doesn't prove they're being a NAT. At best, it suggests they might be - as one possibility amongst many. What would be a much better idea would be to simply have somewhat sane return policies (i.e. no proof of purchase = no return), along with sufficient staff to ensure that, if someone did try to, say, price-switch, there would be a fair chance they would actually be seen by staff doing it, who could then alert LP, the manager, or even simply the person on the register so that it would be rung up at the right price.


I work for the big orange box and just the other day I had some customers attempt to return some very expensive specialty decking screws. They were about $36 dollars a box of maybe 50 or so? 100 or so? Hold on.. let me pull up our website...see if I can remember. Hm.. these weren't our standard deck mate screws, that's for sure. I know the price was around $36 dollars which peaked my interest at first but their story seemed plausible. If you were building a deck you'd need screws and quite possibly a lot of them. The customers had.. 4 or 5 boxes. Now granted, I would hope someone would do a better job estimating what they needed but hey - plausible.

No receipt return. So I scanned the ID through. The system denies them and prints out a slip with information to contact the third party if they have concerns or questions. Not even a manager can over ride this (Thank god because ours are pushovers and would). Now the gentleman starts protesting - Which is another redflag to me. Yes, genuine honest customers would protest too.. but genuine honest customers usually seem to say they'll go look for the receipt and don't ask me to try their wife's ID like this gentleman did. Once a return is denied, it's denied. I did not take his wife's ID and gave them back their merchandise, informing them that if they found the receipt or remembered which card they used, I'd be happy to process it through without trouble.

NOT EVEN FIVE MINUTES LATER a young teen girl comes in WITH THE SAME PRODUCT TO ME (I am the ONLY returns cashier on duty right now). I wanted to start laughing. Instead I informed her politely that I just received a denial for these same items, without a receipt, no less than five minutes ago and that I would not be able to process a return for her. She grabs them and storms out shouting that they won't take them back. And thankfully, we locked the doors right behind them as we were closing.

Honestly, this system works when it works. The limit is so damn high though that I was flabbergasted which I had two denials in one day (I'm lucky if I get one denial every 3-4 months). My store has such a high theft rate because the management doesn't care and we associates are basically told to just customer service them to death. We have no Loss Prevention in my store because we're 'too small' but us cashiers have gotten together and we all agree that we have on average 3-4 returns a day each totally around $250 dollars that are our classic red flag items and stories. My brother's a contractor and he didn't need these, my boyfriend was building and didn't need these, my friend didn't need these... always electrical sockets, sharkbite plumbing fixtures, copper, tools (With the security tags that are under the labels in a recess removed - and you can see the wrinkles where they peeled it), LED lights..

Hell, one time we had a customer bring in a man who was not all there mentally (And I mean this in the kindness way) and say he bought them, and he's returning it. The man whose ID was provided never said a word to me and his 'friend' directed him the whole time and basically made him sign on the pin pad. I felt horrible about that return but it didn't get denied so I couldn't do anything..

It's a can of worms and it sucks having to keep a database. I agree we just need to go to no receipt- no return..


"...government privacy experts". Am I the only one who finds that funny?


We tracked returns at the Big Box Guitar store, but it was done internally. Customers had their own account, so to speak which tracked their purchases, returns, receipts, and warranties. We did have a customer who made at least 3 purchases a week and would return every single item at the end of the month. After three years of this going on, the manager finally told him he couldn't make returns anymore. (Employees were thankful, as the sales staff worked on commission.)


i work at one of the stores in the story and just today i had my first flagged return. it's mostly just to stop people who do too many no reciept returns as that's the only time we enter id info onto our a computer. this guy had something like $3000 worth of no reciept returns...definitely likely to be stolen


Back when I worked for OfficeHell, we had the Pee-Pants man (true name sadly) would come in, spend $500 on tech, then be back the next week to return it. Never failed, he never kept a single damn thing. We eventually did have to track his purchases and returns and we did in fact forbid him from returning things, because it was causing so much loss to the store.

Today I just had a lady try to return a sofa/chair/ottoman set. Probably worth $700 in total, assuming she bought it on sale. She had tried to return them to our sister store, who collected her info and was unable to do the return. The manager there was suspicious so she let our store know. So this lady shows up at my store, talking to my trainee (!) about how she was to contact my trainee, as he was the supervisor (he's not, I'm not even a supervisor, I'm a department head...whatever. I have a key to the building too, I just get paid less)

REGARDLESS. She wants to return it. The computer denies it, thank the gloryholes. She had attempted to return it twice at our sister store, then once using her son's ID.

Point is, these systems COULD potentially be abused, but Ive never seen this system screw anyone innocent. The only times its used to deny returns are so beyond proof for any court of law...and I'm rambling..


The only "innocent" customer I've seen get hit with this is a woman who buys 20-odd items a day, then comes back 10min to close to return all of it. Sometimes every. single. day. for weeks. I was so not sorry for her to be told she had to *gasp* keep some of the things she bought.


So big corporations maintain record about private citizens that they really shouldn't be allowed to and every one is up in arms. The United States government is currently using intelligence agencies to track and store every citizens phone calls and internet usage in clear defiance of the 4th amendment and every one wants the guy who let us know this is happening thrown in jail. Okay then.


What I see here is a natural extention to the persons who either:
1. organized gangs who steal enough mmerchandise
2. persons who "rent" products such as big screen TVs during Superbowl time or those that "buy a peice of jewelry or a dress or a pair of shoes and use them once and return them. and have managers without spines override the restocking fee/%
3. like some above have said those who for whatever reason buy a bunch of stuff and them return it a day later.

Gaby Dali

I've worked at two stores that used a similar system. Twice (once at each store) we had to ban a customer from returning. One customer that I rung up literally came every day and would return half the stuff he bought the day before. This went on for months (he was known to frequent our area and beg for money in front of stores)and the final straw was when he bought a tire for his motor chair and returned his old one in the box the next day (the cashier was new and didn't think to check the item). The next day I had to inform him that he was no longer allowed to return items at our store. He was welcome to come and buy but he would be issued no money or store credit back.
He tried to get around this by bringing a friend the next day and having the friend pay but he underestimated the size of my nerve. I asked his friend if he was buying the item for the man in the chair and when he asked what difference it made I explained that he wouldn't be allowed to return the item. Of course, he blew up and was screaming at me saying, "He's disabled!" as if it made a difference. I told him as much and he said he was going to report us for discrimination but that obviously never happened.
Either way, I think this is a good tool for discouraging frequent returners and NAT's. Knowing that their name and information will be entered in a system might make them question their hobbies a bit.
I work in a hardware/home center store and we get a lot of people who buy tools and then return them after their project is done. I've told off customers and let them know we are not a rental store. But being able to ban them from returns would help limit the amount of broken/used items that we can't resell.

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