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As do many large retail chains, Shoppers Drug Mart has a well-defined policy on refunds and exchanges.
But the fine-print conditions allow some wiggle room, such as this one: “Shoppers Drug Mart reserves the right to limit or refuse to accept the return of certain merchandise at any time and for any reason.”
Here are stories of customers being turned away when trying to return items purchased at Shoppers stores.
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Gift card returns are excluded under Shoppers’ policy. No exceptions allowed.
Pat Ilcio bought a $ 100 Vanilla Visa prepaid card, but found no balance to spend. The card had expired on July 31, 2017, but was still on the shelf by the Aug. 27 purchase date.
The Six Points Plaza store in Toronto said the Visa card issuer was responsible for managing the gift card display and should have removed the expired card.
“The assistant supervisor contacted Visa and we spent two hours on the phone. We were advised to fax all the information and they would reissue a card to me within a week,” Ilcio said.
The fax was sent in September and again in October. No response.
Six months later, Ilcio was still upset about losing $ 100 – plus a $ 5.95 service fee, which resulted in no service at all.
“Thanks, we’ll take care of it,” Loblaw’s spokesperson Catherine Thomas told me.
Within a day, Vanilla Visa agreed to send a $ 100 replacement card. Shoppers added one of its own gift cards, worth $ 25.
“This was a pleasant surprise. I believed I would not be entitled to anything, but I wanted expired cards removed from the shelves so other people wouldn’t be in this predicament,” Ilcio said.
My advice: Retailers should exchange gift cards that don’t work and deal with the supplier later. You shouldn’t have to deal with the supplier on your own.
Is a hair curler an electronic item?
Shoppers’ return policy says “electronics” are excluded with limited exceptions. Returns are given only if a product is returned in the original sealed box in a saleable condition with a receipt and within 30 days of purchase.
Jennifer Abraham bought a $ 45 curling iron for her daughter and brought it back a week later (it was the wrong size). She had a receipt and unopened package, but the cashier insisted there were no returns on electronics.
“I’m a regular shopper and spend a lot of money there,” Abraham said. “I got into my car and went to the Shoppers website to read their return policy. Nowhere did it specify I couldn’t return the item.”
She called a nearby Shoppers store and explained what she wanted to return.
“They quickly said, ‘no problem, please come in.’ I drove there in five minutes and was given a full refund. I didn’t even have to give them an explanation.”
My advice: Shoppers Drug Mart’s policy invites challenges by failing to give examples of products that are excluded “with limited exceptions.” You can contact head office, but checking with other stores can save time.
No help for defective TV
Diana Stephenson and her husband bought a new RCA 42-inch flat-screen TV for about $ 350 (including HST and recycling fee) at a Shoppers store in Welland, Ont. It came with a one-year warranty.
Under its return policy, Shoppers tells electronics buyers that, “in some instances, you may be required to deal directly with the manufacturer.”
The Stephensons were told to contact the warranty company if they had problems. They were given a toll-free number (1-800-968-9853), which belongs to Curtis International, an electronic product distributor in Toronto.
After installing the TV last October, they found it had “terrible sound distortion that makes it quite annoying to listen to a program.”
They called the warranty company many times and were promised an email reply if anything could be done.
They kept calling and learned the warranty company was sending email to them at “ball.net,” instead of bell.net. The error was corrected, but nothing more was done.
Their emails to customer service at both Shoppers Drug Mart and George Weston (the parent company) also led nowhere.
“We are seniors and this is our only TV. It’s not worth watching, since the sound is awful, plus voices and lip movements do not synchronize. If you can’t reach the warranty company, what good is it?” Diana said.
I tried to help, but Shoppers media contact Tammy Smitham had left the company (which I didn’t know since her email did not bounce back).
When I contacted Catherine Thomas at Loblaw, the Stephensons got a response – but not the one they wanted.
“We were offered a $ 150 gift card that could be used only at Shoppers Drug Mart. I told them I wasn’t interested, as I’m still stuck with this lemon TV,” Diana said.
“In hindsight, we will never purchase electronics from a drug store again.”
My advice: Under Ontario’s sale of goods act, stores must sell products that work as intended. When a warranty is not honoured by the manufacturer or its agent, Shoppers Drug Mart is on the hook for repairs or replacement.
In my view, Shoppers should stop selling TVs and other expensive products unless it is prepared to back them up when the quality disappoints. I will keep pushing this case to a higher level and report back later.
Ellen Roseman appears in Smart Money. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org