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After complaining on Facebook I can’t make a decent cup of coffee at home, multiple people suggested I buy a single-cup coffee maker.

After doing some shopping around online, I went to Walmart and bought a higher-end Keurig machine. It was the nicest one the store had in stock.

When I got home, I opened the box. It was packed very tightly, as if it had never been opened before. The machine was in a plastic blag encased in styrofoam. When I got all the wrapping off of it, I noticed the machine was all wet. It was not the really nice model pictured on the box, but a much cheaper “mini” version. To add insult to injury, there was a used K-cup inside!

I immediately went back to the store, livid I was wasting a beautiful Saturday afternoon on a scam perpetrated on Walmart. The customer service counter graciously apologized and replaced the machine. We opened the box before I left.

Walmart was a victim of “return fraud,” which cost retailers $3.5 billion last holiday season. A retailer survey found 3 percent of returns with a receipt are fraudulent. There are several types of return fraud:

  • Returning something already worn, known as “wardrobing”
  • Buying items with stolen or fraudulent cards and returning the merchandise
  • Returning an item bought at one store to a different store
  • Buying merchandise, replacing it with used or defective merchandise and returning the old merchandise (what happened to me)

Obviously, sales clerks must take the extra time to inspect returned merchandise. That didn’t happen in my case, but the packaging was extremely deceptive. Next time I buy a gadget from a store, I’m making sure to look inside the box!

10 Responses to I Was a Victim of Return Fraud!

  1. That’s what u get for going to Walmart in the first place.

  2. March 19, 2012 at 12:40 am Lynn E responds:

    That is so bad but I guess it happens often. Sad.

  3. March 19, 2012 at 3:50 am Michele R responds:

    Same thing happened to me when I purchased a double stroller @ Kmart. I even asked for the box towards the back of the top shelf. I get it home and a used milk encrusted stroller is in the box. Box was taped up, didn’t look like it was opened. Off Hubby and I go back to the store to get the correct one. Customer service associate was not suprised at all. Very sad.

  4. March 20, 2012 at 1:34 pm Jason Cady responds:

    Just a thought. What is to stop someone from saying they got it home and found a defective unit like you did?

    • March 21, 2012 at 7:56 am Rachel responds:

      I went right back to the store. But the short answer is – nothing. Had they not believed me, though, I would have gone up the food chain. I suspect thieves don’t go through the trouble.

  5. I’m surprised you’ve never heard me tell my story like this. I had just got out of the Marines and had an apartment in Los Angeles. In our barracks at Camp Pendleton we couldn’t even have a microwave let along a hot plate or toaster over. So there I was, 24 yrs old and excited to be able to finally have a friggin toaster oven. I got a Proctor and Silex 4 slice bad ass toaster over in white, drove home and clicked on the tv.
    OJ was being chased up the 405 Freeway at that exact moment. I say watching what was going on 10 miles away via new choppers and about 45 minutes into the whole thing I remembered my new toaster over. I grabbed the box and opened it. I was blown away.
    There was no pure white, 4 slice toaster over with broil feature in the box…… there was a beat to hell old chrome GE one with crumbs, TONS of crumbs, in it. I immediately thought “they are gonna think I’m pulling a scam unless I go back right now to return this”, so I drove like a maniac for 15 minutes back to Target and told the service counter kid “I want the store manager now, the head store manager, period.” 10 minutes later he arrived and I flipped out. “OJ is being chased and I’m the only person in LA who is gonna miss him getting wasted by the LAPD because you let some jerk scam you for a toaster over, blah, blah, blah!” They couldn’t find another in the stockroom for 10 more minutes after I explained what happened, during which the original customer service clerk came over and said “I went to the break room to check the tv and they are still chasing him”. Sweet. They eventually found the toaster, swapped it with the scummy GE one and I made it home in time to see that the Juice was still rolling in the white Bronco.
    Mmmmmm, toast.

    • Wow, thanks for making me look like a 3rd grader auto-correct. That is what I get for not proofreading before clicking submit.

  6. March 21, 2012 at 6:48 pm Douglas A. Fisher responds:

    Several posts suggest that Wal-Mart was scammed and that it was not their fault that the merchandise on their shelf was not what the box said that it was.

    Well, why did Wal-Mart not open the box that was being returned when it was being returned? Can Wal-Mart legitimately claim that it simply takes the unconfirmed word of a customer with the returned box?

    And then subsequently places that taped-up box onto the merchandise shelf still without looking inside to be sure that the box accurately reflected the contents?

    Wal-Mart clearly deserves full blame!

  7. I know a guy who has bought a really good quality fan 1 time but exchanges it every single year for the past 5 years in a row. He does this with just about everything he can. Dog shampoo, detergent, fabreeze.. everything! He showed me the details and I have to admit, I was shocked at how easy it is and he saves about $300.00 to $400.00 a month by doing this. His biggest item was a 42″ television. He bought a new one, cleaned up the one he has had for about 3 years, placed it carefully in the box and made it look ‘real’ and returned it the day after Christmas. Worked like a charm

  8. January 25, 2013 at 6:37 pm Anthony responds:

    I bought a mini-dorm refrigerator last year. When I got it home and opened it up, it looked like it had been dropped on it’s top. I took it back with no problem.

    From then on, I
    m OPENING THE BOX and inspecting the item before I buy it. Only a sucker buys UNSEEN. I don’t care about all the dirty looks the employees give you, if you want my business, I’m going to see what i’m purchasing.

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