A few times recently I've gone to return an item to a store and been faced with a "new policy" in regards to exchange. When you aren't exchanging for exactly the same item - which I thought would be a substitution, not an exchange - and you paid in the first place via Credit Card (Or Visa Debit), the store insists on refunding the original amount of the item back to the card and then recharging the card for the cost of the new item.
I have a few issues with this. Firstly, that's a refund with a subsequent purchase, not an exchange. Why call it an exchange policy if it doesn't do what it's called?
Secondly, if I use a Visa Debit card, I may not have sufficient funds in the account at that moment to cover the cost of the subsequent purchase. I, like most people, have several accounts, and I move money around depending on what I'm doing with it, and might use a card for a purchase one day that wouldn't have the funds a few days later when I need to take the item back. The refund to the debit card takes three days, so I would be forced to either find an alternate means of payment on the spot, or come back in three business days to complete what should be a simple process.
Thirdly, if the card I'm using is a Credit Card and I don't have an interest-free period, I'll be paying interest on both purchases for those three days it takes the refund to get back onto the card.
If I use cash, you don't give me back the cash for the original purchase, then make me hand it back again for the exchanged item, do you?
I've asked at the stores - not making a complaint, which isn't fair considering the shop-assistants aren't the ones setting this policy - what the policy is designed for, and was told that "too many people were returning things that had been bought on cards". I asked why that was a problem, and was referred to the Exchange Policy of that particular store. It mentioned nothing about it.
Has anyone else had this experience, and can anyone tell me why it's such an issue? Having worked at the other end of the line, I know it isn't that hard to reconcile a refund in cash with a purchase on card as long as sufficiently detailed records are kept. I can't imagine it being too onerous to keep track of the exchanged items either, considering paperwork is filled out detailing exactly that. Is it laziness? Or just a way of trying to limit the number of people returning goods?
3 days ago