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Old 06-17-2012, 04:25 PM
 
Location: Newport News, VA
1,050 posts, read 1,289,410 times
Reputation: 462
Default Retailers who give in-house gift cards instead of refunds

We bought one dishwasher from Lowes. This retailer, in its ineptness, purportedly placed two orders and shipped two dishwashers. We picked up one dishwasher, but they charged our credit card for two dishwashers. But instead of crediting our AmEx card, Lowes gave my husband a Lowes gift card for the amount of the refund we should have had.

I do NOT want a gift card that can only be used to buy more stuff from Lowes. I realize that other retailers use this ploy too. It strikes me as consumer fraud. We ordered one dishwasher, we received one dishwasher and Lowes is trying to benefit from its mistake by forcing us to buy more from them in order to "get our refund."

I have found online posts complaining about this practice with Sears & Target.

How can this be legal? Has anyone here dealt with this practice? Suggestions?

I'm going to Lowes in the morning with the card to speak to the manager at our local store.
I suspect I will be filing a complaint with the FTC and the Virginia Attorney Generals Office as well as contesting the charge on our AmEx card.
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Old 06-17-2012, 05:13 PM
 
10,425 posts, read 8,024,166 times
Reputation: 3739
Call the GM of that store during the week. They only create a gift card when there is no receipt. If two dishwashers are not shown on your receipt, then go online and print the transaction showing it was billed twice (or double charged). Since you have the product and a refund then the Atty Gen. will do nothing since you are not out anything. Same thing will happen with Amex.
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Old 06-17-2012, 06:04 PM
 
Location: Far from where I'd like to be
24,667 posts, read 29,748,680 times
Reputation: 35606
I'd be angry, too. It's one thing if you've bought a blouse and you can't find the receipt, but an appliance you didn't buy in the first place? That's unconscionable.

Keep complaining. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.
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Old 06-17-2012, 06:40 PM
 
Location: Alexandria, VA
5,327 posts, read 8,714,755 times
Reputation: 3529
I don't see how that's legal - I'd be fighting it.
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Old 06-17-2012, 11:08 PM
 
469 posts, read 487,809 times
Reputation: 262
Lilly -- I assume you went back to look at your original order, when you saw 2 dishwashers arrive, and made sure that the salesperson didn't write up the order wrong? Or change the order for his/her own gain? I'd also make sure that when I spoke to an Amex person that the charge will be completely frozen until the issue is resolved -- you don't want to be dinged with a late fee (pretty sure you also have to send a letter to Amex about the issue for it to be "officially" filed -- at least, that's the process with MasterCard and Visa).

I'm wondering if the returns clerk asked your husband if he wanted a "store credit," and he thought it meant crediting the credit card? I gotta ask: How did he explain to you taking the gift card? (I wouldn't have wanted to be a fly on the wall there!)

NeilVA -- I think you're wrong that she isn't out anything.
The charge for the 2nd appliance -- which she never wanted in the first place -- is still on the Amex. She still has to pay that bill because Lowe's isn't crediting her account. Doesn't matter if she's holding a gift card -- Amex surely doesn't want it as payment.

I'm really surprised that Lowe's is doing this. I've always liked its customer service better than some other home-improvement places, and I've never been asked to take a gift card instead of a credit-card refund, but this is like a financial scam on their part, trying to keep their revenues "looking" good and hiding the dollar amount of returns. With a gift card, everything evens out on THEIR books, but not always on the customer's.
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Old 06-17-2012, 11:24 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
11,346 posts, read 25,111,450 times
Reputation: 13666
Not defending, but likely this is an anti-scam measure. The brazen behavior of thieves is amazing. My guess is that with documentation and a talk with the manager, the gift card will be cashed at the store.
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Old 06-18-2012, 05:06 AM
 
Location: Newport News, VA
1,050 posts, read 1,289,410 times
Reputation: 462
This issue is borne partly of Lowes bad website. We ordered the dishwasher over the Memorial Day weekend sale. We wanted a Bisque color dishwasher. When we tried to order it in our local store, we were told to order it online as they do not stock this dishwasher. We tried to order it online. The Lowes website crashed repeatedly. We went back to our local store on the last day of the sale and tell them that the Lowes website is not working and we cannot place the order. They order the dishwasher for us. The clerk double-checks to make sure there is no double-order.

Then a week later we are getting calls from stores Gainesville & Ruckersville about our dishwasher. My husband repeatedly questions why we are getting calls from them when our local store is Zion Crossroads and he stresses we ordered one dishwasher. Both those stores are quite a way from Zion Crossroads.

I have returned lots of stuff to Lowes. Mostly with receipts and once without a receipt. Lowes has always credited back the card I used.

This is Va. Code 59.1-200(16), which is part of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act:
A. The following fraudulent acts or practices committed by a supplier in connection with a consumer transaction are hereby declared unlawful: . . .

a. The return of goods for refund, exchange, or credit. Such disclosure shall be by means of a sign attached to the goods, or placed in a conspicuous public area of the premises of the supplier, so as to be readily noticeable and readable by the person obtaining the goods from the supplier. If the supplier does not permit a refund, exchange, or credit for return, he shall so state on a similar sign. The provisions of this subdivision shall not apply to any retail merchant who has a policy of providing, for a period of not less than 20 days after date of purchase, a cash refund or credit to the purchaser's credit card account for the return of defective, unused, or undamaged merchandise upon presentation of proof of purchase. In the case of merchandise paid for by check, the purchase shall be treated as a cash purchase and any refund may be delayed for a period of 10 banking days to allow for the check to clear. This subdivision does not apply to sale merchandise that is obviously distressed, out of date, post season, or otherwise reduced for clearance; nor does this subdivision apply to special order purchases where the purchaser has requested the supplier to order merchandise of a specific or unusual size, color, or brand not ordinarily carried in the store or the store's catalog; nor shall this subdivision apply in connection with a transaction for the sale or lease of motor vehicles, farm tractors, or motorcycles as defined in 46.2-100; . . .
I'm off to Lowes this morning. There were no signs informing of the gift card policy in the appliance department. We did not return goods. We ordered one dishwasher and received one dishwasher, but got charged for two.
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Old 06-18-2012, 08:37 AM
 
Location: Newport News, VA
1,050 posts, read 1,289,410 times
Reputation: 462
I am happy to report that going in person to my local Lowes store with the paperwork in hand got the matter resolved. The manager on duty took the gift card and credited the card where Lowes put the second charge for the one dishwasher.
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Old 06-19-2012, 05:24 AM
 
Location: Newport News, VA
1,050 posts, read 1,289,410 times
Reputation: 462
Persnicketygal, my husband made it clear to the Lowes people in their Ruckersville store that he did not want a gift card. This store was purportedly holding the gift card for him to come in and pick it up. When he did not, they mailed it to us.

Getting a gift card did not make us whole. I don't need to buy more stuff from Lowes. I wanted the AmEx card credited. We bought an extended warranty plan too. That was immediately credited to the AmEx account.

This situation resulted from Lowe's malfunctioning website and whatever went wrong internally with the retailer. We dealt with our local store. The local store manager could not understand why two other Lowe's stores got involved --- one 45 minutes away and the other over an hour away from us.

Lowes has signs up about how easy refunds are and that you don't even need a receipt. When you have a receipt, the signs state how the refund will be made -- typically a credit on the card used or cash back. When you have the receipt, getting a gift card is not listed as an option.

I am glad this got resolved.
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Old 06-19-2012, 10:39 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
11,346 posts, read 25,111,450 times
Reputation: 13666
Glad it was taken care of. I have found the local managers at Lowes are pretty responsible and reasonable, even though some of the corporate shenanigans on their new extended warranties are less than satisfactory.
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