A Simple Policy Made Difficult

Source:  A Simple Policy Made Difficult    Tag:  march of dimes merchandise

As with all retail stores, Kmart has a specific return and exchange policy for customers who are dissatisfied with their merchandise. The points of this policy may seem simple to understand, but at Kmart they cause a whirl of trouble for everyone. 

These are some highlights of our return and exchange policy:
  • With a receipt, the customer has 90 days to return their merchandise to receive their money back. 
  • With a receipt, the customer has 90 days to exchange their merchandise. A direct exchange may be done if the new item is the same as the old item, just different size or different color. However, if the customer is not exchanging for the same item, a difference in price may have to be paid. 
  • With a receipt, the customer may bring back damaged items within 90 days. 
  • The above three rules apply to all merchandise except jewelry and electronics.
  • Jewelry items can only be exchanged or returned within 30 days after purchase, with a receipt.
  • Electronic items have special rules. Customers can only return an electronic item within 30 days after purchase, with a receipt. Any type of video game, CD or DVD can not be returned if has been open. If a video game, CD or DVD is damaged but has been open, the customer can only exchange for the exact same thing and must have a receipt
These rules are stated on the receipt of every purchase and are also displayed above the service desk. Most items in the store give the customer the option of purchasing a replacement plan. These plans range from $4.99 to $49.99 depending upon price of the item being purchased. Replacement plans guarantee that if the item becomes damaged or parts are lost, the manufacturing company (not Kmart) will replace the item or fix it. 

The rules are simple. So why do they cause such commotion? One if the problems resides in management. We as associates are told to follow the policy, bottom line. However, a majority of the time, if a customer complains, management adjusts the policy to fit the customers' needs. We are told to give gift cards for the merchandise if they do not have a receipt. We are told to let them exchange an item that is electronics. We are told to do all kinds of things that DO NOT FOLLOW POLICY. In my opinion, this leads to Kmart management looking like push-overs and the associate looks as though they do not know how to do their job. 

However, sometimes the policy is followed and the commotion then comes from the customers. Customers do not seem to care what the policy is. They often get very angry when we simply explain that we can not take back their merchandise. Some customers understand, but others are very irrational. An example of an irrational customer is one that tries to bring back a Playstation 3 and expects to get a new one without a receipt and after having it for several months. When told that this is not allowed, the customer threatens to call corporate, the same people who implemented the policy.

Customers do not understand that some of these policies are not just for Kmart but are a result of laws put into place to protect people from theft of serial numbers and rules put into place by electronic companies to diminish piracy of their material.

Because of the customers' lack of abiding by the  policy, I often find myself saying, "No, Curtis Customer, we can not take back the boots you have had for 3 years and give you a new pair", when I really want to say much more. The customer is not always right.