Gift Receipt Rip-Offs Could Cheat Consumers Out Of Millions

It’s happened to us all at one time or another. You buy a gift for someone and they don’t like it.

Fortunately if they have a gift receipt, they can exchange it, and no one’s feelings get hurt.

But CBS4’s Chief Consumer Investigator Al Sunshine has a consumer alert about a problem at one major retailer.

When David Schmitz changed his mind about giving a make-up kit for a gift he returned it to Walmart using the gift receipt, but he says they were only going to refund half of what he paid, because the item had since gone on sale.

“I bought the item. I know what I paid for it. I paid $15. I didn’t pay $7.50,” said Schmitz.

In fact his original receipt proves it!

“I knew I spent $15 and I wasn’t going to take less,” added Schmitz.

After Schmitz argued that a gift receipt and regular receipt should work the same the store manager refunded the full amount.

“But the average person isn’t going to know.”

CBS has learned this is a practice happening across the country.

When our sister station in Philadelphia went shopping at several Walmart stores they’re hidden cameras reveal the same practice.

Purchasing seasonal and holiday items that would likely go on sale, like an electric blanket priced at $31.03. When it was returned using the gift receipt, they only got back $20.33.

“I thought it was more than that,” said the undercover producer.

“It probably was. But when you don’t have a receipt with the actual price I have to give you whatever comes up,” replied the store cashier.

So Walmart pocketed $10.70!

When our CBS4’s sister station in Sacramento took similar shopping trips, they only got back 50% what they paid for some items.

Consumer advocate Edgar Dworsky is dumbfounded.

“The whole point of a gift receipt is to get back exactly what the gift giver paid,” said Dworsky. “You should be getting every penny’s worth what was paid for, not the lowest price, absolutely not.”

Walmart had this to say about the gift receipt problem.

“It is our expectation to refund the original purchase price when returning an item with a gift receipt,” stated a company spokesperson.

Consumer attorney Stuart Tally believes Walmart has pocketed millions.

“What Walmart knows is the person who gave the gift will never tell the person who received the gift how much they paid. And they know the person who returned the gift will never report to the gift giver that they returned the gift.”

David Schmitz said he is not buying Walmart’s explanation or any more items with a gift receipt from their stores.

“I would never get a gift receipt from Walmart because it’s basically useless.”

Walmart has issued a memo to its more than 3,800 stores nationwide to make sure all workers know its company policy – to refund customers with gift receipts the full amount originally paid.

  • dislikewalmart

    Walmart in Miami has one of the worst customer service and now they are ripping off the consumer…Shame on you Walmart!!!

  • Myamme

    agree!!!!!! especially the wal-mart on 57th ave and 186 st (something like that)

  • Anal Chapstick

    Lower Refunds.

  • Vivian

    When you shop at this type of Retailer you can not expect the service you get when you shop at Macy’s. Most of these employees are over worked and under pay so you can get the bargains of the products.

    You make the choice. Low prices and horrible service or High price and quality service.

  • Me in Miami

    Walmart sells same products you can buy at a grocery store or discount store, only cheaper. That’s why we all go to Walmart. If you want designer clothes then go to Macy’s. Stellar service, then go to Macy’s. Thank God for Walmart, America’s largest employer and most accessible, cheapest retailer.

    • dislikewalmart

      Walmart in Miami, 87ave, N.W. 12 st. largest employer to refugee who don’t speak a lick of English, stores are always dirty. There are plenty of people working, but non of them have common sense. Including the Managers, if that is what we want to call them!!!!

      • dislikeracists

        Dear Dislikewalkmert,

        Before you trash others for not speaking English, you should spell and grammar check your post. Apparently you can’t write in English so you must fit in perfectly.

  • Florida Goldengirl

    Walmart is Not always less, not by a country mile. I have done comparative shopping for quite a while, taking note pads and weekly papers from other stores with me , because, after all, no body remembers every price of every thing. Although, I am getting pretty good now that I started to pay attention. My husband lost his job last year, his company filed bankruptcy, and for 6 months, we were struggling on unemployment, ugh. The Best prices are in the latin supermarkets, Sedano’s and Presidente, for fresh fruit and vegetables. We shop both each week because what is on a special sale changes. First of all circle the outer aisles of the market for fresh stuff. These stores beat Wallmart Every Time. Then we go to Winn Dixie for all the 2 ofr 1, same with Publix. Wallmart is not even close on cost against these great stores. In addition, Winn dixie has a Shell fuel discount program going – so far this month, we are going to save, that is SAVE $2.65 per gallon of gas for up to 20 gallons when we go for the fill up at the end of the month, I expect that to be upto $3.00 savings JUST for shopping at Winn- Dixie for the specials . The only really great deal I ever got at Wallmart was ladies t shirts for $1 that were pretty good, not made in Pakistan, and didn’t fall apart when washed. That was back in 2008. Our Wallmart in Homestead Florida is awful, not a great place, lines way too long, all the time, my biggest complaint. The Moral of the story is, YOu Get What You Pay For, but only if you go Power Shopping.

  • sue

    walmart is not the only store. also happened to me in a k-mart. I give all my friends and family the origional receipt. I don’t care if they know what I paid.

  • joesr

    @ Me in Miami…why don’t you do a little research on Walmarts business practices and then re-evaluate your position. “Thank God for Walmart”? Tell that to the thousands of people hurt by this company so you can buy a $4.00 t-shirt or a set of dishes for $10.00. You would feel differently if you worked at a private store for many years only to lose your job when a Walmart opens nearby…and by the way…Walmart is a terrible employer. Look it up. “Thank God for Walmart”? You’re crazy.

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