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Old 11-30-2013, 01:29 PM
 
1,287 posts, read 1,589,904 times
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Default Stealing items and then "returning" them

It's popular for crooks to steal an item from a store and then "return" them for the refund.

Aren't they required to have a paper receipt - wouldn't that cut down on this? Do some thieves make their own fake receipts?

Doesn't the bar code system make it harder for people to do this?

Question about bar codes: Does the bar code on an item, like a TV, have only the type of item, or does it have something unique for each TV?
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Old 11-30-2013, 04:48 PM
 
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When stores insist on a receipt, then they turn off people who receive a gift they can't use. Many companies tried to work around this by issuing a "gift receipt" (no price listed) to be included in the package, but that still requires to giver to make sure it's enclosed.

The bar codes are generic, not individual to each item sold.

Most stores will give a store credit without any receipt, but if the merchandise was stolen to begin with, they still lose money.
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Old 11-30-2013, 07:55 PM
 
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What numerous stores are doing now is requesting drivers licenses and typing all the information into their computer systems. If its a chain store and it pops up that the person has done refunds before w/o receipts then they refuse it per company policy. If nothing pops up then usually a gift card is issued at the lowest price over the past 30 days. And even if they use the gift card and later try returning it again, all they will end up with is another gift card.
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Old 11-30-2013, 11:10 PM
 
Location: NJ
725 posts, read 513,114 times
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I work in retail so hopefully my answer helps.

We will usually take back the item, but you will get the lowest price in the last 90 days and store credit. We must first input the information on your driver's license before processing the return.

Now, I think the following is more prevalent based on my experience; people will purchase things and then come back to the store another day. They will take the same items off the shelf at this time and try to return them with the receipt. Loss Prevention usually catches them via the cameras and tells me to decline the refund. In my experience, the person made an excuse to do something, and then they ended up not coming back lol.

In regards to the bar code, the UPC is only specific to the general product, not to each separate item. For some game systems, I have to scan a UPC and an additional SKU, but I'm not sure why and if that's a different case (maybe higher priced items are tracked on an individual level to avoid inventory problems as you suggest).
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Old 11-30-2013, 11:49 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
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In general, Universal Product Codes have each manufacturer assigned a part of the code and then the manufacturer sets the product (model # or whatever) code within their "domain," which makes most of the rest of the code. There are variations and there are things like checksum error checks and country codes, and other product variations. Food products generally use straight UPC, drugs has a special subset, clothing and electronics may use other codes as well.

I've not run into significant reports of thieves trying to make and fake receipts. A standard modern P.O.S. system reports date, time, cashier, and has a trackable bar code of its own on the receipt. A faked receipt would be immediately obvious as soon as that code was scanned for a refund, or the date/time/cashier info punched in. In many stores, the cashiers are constantly monitored and recorded as part of loss prevention. I expect systems to soon be able to bring back a video clip of any sale or refund transaction.
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Old 12-01-2013, 06:06 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yankees1212 View Post
.... I have to scan a UPC and an additional SKU, but I'm not sure why and if that's a different case (maybe higher priced items are tracked on an individual level to avoid inventory problems as you suggest).
Usually high price items like electronics have a serial number bar code and current cash registers scan those into the system also.
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Old 12-01-2013, 10:29 AM
 
Location: East of Seattle, originally from SF Bay Area
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattie View Post
The bar codes are generic, not individual to each item sold.
Not any more. I recently returned a pair of jeans never worn to Costco due to having lost weight. They scanned the tag and found that I had bought them 2 years ago (still gave me cash refund). Their nventory control systems have become very sophisticated. When something has been stolen it will show up as not having been sold (=stolen). I expect other retailers to be upgrading their systems and eventually end this practice of steal/return, and send theives back to the flea markets and ebay.
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Old 12-01-2013, 01:03 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hemlock140 View Post
Not any more. I recently returned a pair of jeans never worn to Costco due to having lost weight. They scanned the tag and found that I had bought them 2 years ago (still gave me cash refund). Their nventory control systems have become very sophisticated. When something has been stolen it will show up as not having been sold (=stolen). I expect other retailers to be upgrading their systems and eventually end this practice of steal/return, and send theives back to the flea markets and ebay.
Well not exactly. Most likely that UPC hasn't been sold in two years. Many companies, like Dillards, add a second UPC label to time stamp the sale of items which show a date range for the item being sold. Thus items missing those secondary labels are known to either not have been sold by them or was pulled off a shelf and a return was attempted.
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Old 12-02-2013, 07:05 PM
 
Location: God's Gift to Mankind for flying anything
3,399 posts, read 4,724,958 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hemlock140 View Post
Not any more. I recently returned a pair of jeans never worn to Costco due to having lost weight. They scanned the tag and found that I had bought them 2 years ago (still gave me cash refund). Their nventory control systems have become very sophisticated. When something has been stolen it will show up as not having been sold (=stolen). I expect other retailers to be upgrading their systems and eventually end this practice of steal/return, and send theives back to the flea markets and ebay.
When they scanned the UPC on your *old* jeans, they compared that item to what you bought in the past.
They noted that you did buy a pair *just like it*, and thus decided to give you credit for that item.

As was stated before, The UPC code only has the individual data of that item and does not have any links to who bought it,
unless you find the buyer first and then compare what he bought before.

Example.

My wife bought a new hearing aid (Costco).
It had different batteries compared to the old unit she had.
The Hearing Aid clerk told her to take the old unused batteries to the Service desk.
They pulled up the records of my wife and found the exact items on her data base.
They credited her credit card with the amount equal to the batteries she had left.
One battery blister-pak was 1/3 used.

We asked how they were able to do that, and they answered that all the unused batteries were given to the Hearing Aid Center, to be given to clients who needed batteries *on the fly*.
Costco apparently provides free batteries (when in need) free to customers ...
We found that out when she took ownership of the new hearing aid. Costco gave her 3 *full* blister-paks !!
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Old 12-02-2013, 08:19 PM
 
1,986 posts, read 1,353,051 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hemlock140 View Post
Not any more. I recently returned a pair of jeans never worn to Costco due to having lost weight. They scanned the tag and found that I had bought them 2 years ago (still gave me cash refund). Their nventory control systems have become very sophisticated. When something has been stolen it will show up as not having been sold (=stolen). I expect other retailers to be upgrading their systems and eventually end this practice of steal/return, and send theives back to the flea markets and ebay.
I bet they also scanned your "membership card" which is how they matched the product to you. This is the same concept behind the "My Lowes card", no need for the receipts as they match the products to you which gives them the date, time, store, cashier, quantity, method of payment (thats how they know to ask for your Lowes card, Mastercard, amex, etc) and they probably even know how you filled out the customer satisfaction survey since all thats ties to your identity number. So, costco does not need your receipt since they can see everything (probably your mug shot as well) you ever bought and returned (or other linked family members) via your membership card.
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