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Bruce Wrenn
04-22-2019, 9:56 PM
Today, I was in local Lowes paying my bill. Customer in front of me was returning both a shovel and tamp. Shovel was HEAVILY RUSTED where it had been stood up in the dirt. Handle on tamp had rotted off from being left out in the weather, yet he got his money back! A few years back, I purchased a "used " lawnmower for about 35% of new cost. Sales guy says this happens all the time. Customer moves, but house hasn't sold. Rather than contracting for lawn services till house sells, they go to Lowes, buy a mower, cut the grass, and then return mower. This liberal return policy drives up the cost of the items that "honest customers" buy. Last year, just before hurricane Florence, Lowes stocked up on generators, which flew out the door. When hurricane had passed, returned generators were stacked like cord wood in Lowes. Ace Hardware has a "No return policy" on storm related items. I think Lowes should have charged a 25% restocking policy on these generators that are bought within a week of an anticipated storm. What is even funnier to me is no one was buying heavy duty extension cords to use with generator. I guess they thought they could run the whole house off that 16ga cord that they use with leaf blower

Jim Andrew
04-22-2019, 10:18 PM
I used to buy material at a Hughes Lumber store, and knew a subcontractor who was struggling. He would go buy a special tool for a specific job, do that job and then return the tool. Power tool. Made some good buys for others, as they could not sell it as new. Think I got a great deal on a new ROS, bought it from Bosch as refurbished. Really amazing sander.

robert wiggins
04-22-2019, 10:58 PM
How about returning clothes purchased for a wedding, including shoes and possibly socks. Disgusting people I'd rather not have as a neighbor.

Wade Lippman
04-22-2019, 11:02 PM
Don't have too much sympathy for poor Lowes. I used to sell to them. They just throw it away and deduct from the manufacturer's invoice for a defective. In the end though, yes, we all pay for it, one way or another.

Aaron Rosenthal
04-23-2019, 2:27 AM
It'll be interesting to see what happens with that return policy now. Martin Elison (sp?) is the new CEO, and he's shaking the trees to make Lowes profitable.
We used to have a nation wide retailer named Eatons, who put up with that kind of abuse , returning used items, until,they went broke.
Even the orange Borg has changed policies.

Flamone LaChaud
04-23-2019, 11:56 AM
Just a point or two of clarification:
Lowe's does have a very . . . . liberal . . . . return policy on items, but they have to be items that Lowe's handles. There have been several people turned away for trying to return items that very clearly had HD's logo on them, or power tools from brands that Lowe's has never sold. The thought process is that they'd rather have the customer happy and willing to come back to shop than to quibble over a few bucks.
As far as the generators - at least in this area the issue isn't that they are getting returned . . . it's that they seem to walk out of the stores before payment has been made. That's why they keep a display model out, and the rest are kept on top of the racking.

Source - a friend who works in Lawn and Garden at the local Lowe's, and a friend who handles Loss Prevention for her Region.

Bruce Wrenn
04-23-2019, 10:07 PM
As far as the generators - at least in this area the issue isn't that they are getting returned . . . it's that they seem to walk out of the stores before payment has been made. That's why they keep a display model out, and the rest are kept on top of the racking..Here, customers were lined up when truck arrived. Generators weren't 'top stacked," but rather literally tail gated. Fork lift would bring in a pallet, and employees loaded them onto flat carts for customers, who then had to go thru checkouts. As soon as threat of storm was over, here came the generators back. If someone wants the peace of mind of knowing they have a generator in case of power loss, why shouldn't they pay for it. Basically, they are renting it for FREE. But there are some thing that don't make sense. Moen makes faucets that carry a lifetime warranty. Leaks, they will send you a new innards to fix it. Only problem is you need a "special tool" to replace it. Lowes sells such a tool, which are often returned the next day. Moen needs for stocking dealers to have "loaner tools" available to replace parts instead.

Günter VögelBerg
04-24-2019, 10:18 AM
I keep a bag in my laundry room that accumulates all the various plumbing, electrical, hardware, etc. bits from Lowes and Home Depot that I did not end up needing. About once a month I go to both stores and dump everything on the counter. The clerk scans each item and the ones that store does not stock go back into the bag to be returned to the other. All of the items are in new condition and can be re-stocked, so i do not feel like I abuse the return policies, but I do feel bad for the clerks. The one at Lowes knows me and knows this routine. I always intend to keep it organized by store but I always fail.

Dave Lehnert
04-24-2019, 7:05 PM
I worked in retail for 25 years.

Customer returns are a big problem. You always want a good customer to return something they are not happy with but how do you make that judgement?

I ran a garden center for a large retailer. Trees and shrubs had a one year guarantee. People would return stuff that were never planted. Left to die in the pot. Buy new plant and bring their old dead plant back the next week. (you know what they did but how do you prove it?) I had one guy who purchased all new trees and shrubs every year to redo his landscape, In spring pull up everything and let it die so he could return it.

Don't get me started on lawn mowers. We stopped selling them.

Just for the record. When I make a purchase I ALWAYS check the store return policy. I don't take advantage of the return policy unless the item I purchase turn out to be junk. So if Lowe's started charging a restocking fee, Off to Home Depot I go.
Last year I purchased a very large tool box $$$$ sight unseen on line. The only reason I took the chance was because I know Home Depot would take it back. Turned out to be on of my best purchase for the shop.

Barry McFadden
04-24-2019, 7:26 PM
Moen makes faucets that carry a lifetime warranty. Leaks, they will send you a new innards to fix it. Only problem is you need a "special tool" to replace it. Lowes sells such a tool, which are often returned the next day. Moen needs for stocking dealers to have "loaner tools" available to replace parts instead.

I've replaced cartridge in a Moen showerhead and a kitchen faucet ... both I got no charge at Home Depot. They each came with the "special tool" which was nothing more than a plastic piece that goes over the end of the cartridge to twist it back and forth to release it if it was stuck ... the same could be done with a small wrench or vise grips...

Günter VögelBerg
04-24-2019, 7:52 PM
Once I bought a frost free hose bib at home depot, installed it and it leaked. The seal on nth rod assembly was missing. I took the rod assembly out and took it back to home depot and explained the problem to them and was told that I had to bring in the whole product to get an exchange. The problem was that the rest of it was soldered to my house and I was not exactly willing to cut it and solder in a new one. After arguing with the kid for a while they got a manager who told me to just take the new one.

Ted Calver
04-24-2019, 11:44 PM
In our area of Va Lowe's will not accept any generators for returns that have had gasoline in them.

Myk Rian
04-24-2019, 11:49 PM
Once I bought a frost free hose bib at home depot, installed it and it leaked. The seal on nth rod assembly was missing. I took the rod assembly out and took it back to home depot and explained the problem to them and was told that I had to bring in the whole product to get an exchange. The problem was that the rest of it was soldered to my house and I was not exactly willing to cut it and solder in a new one. After arguing with the kid for a while they got a manager who told me to just take the new one.

Did you remove the innards before soldering?

Günter VögelBerg
04-25-2019, 10:29 AM
Did you remove the innards before soldering?

Yes, but I did not look at them very closely. It was the first time I had installed one of those. I took the inner assembly back to home depot and compared it to the others in the store and there was definitely a missing piece of rubber.

Myk Rian
04-25-2019, 7:03 PM
You may have melted the valve washer. Make sure the seat inside the valve is not all gummed up with it.

Stan Calow
04-25-2019, 7:20 PM
Between these return policies and the people not scanning stuff through the self-service checkouts, its a wonder they make any money at all. Oh, I guess they pass the cost on to the rest of us.

Günter VögelBerg
04-26-2019, 10:37 AM
The Home Depot I go to has reconfigured their registers to be like the self-checkout, but there is someone there to do the scanning for you most of the time, but it is a little awkward because they are standing next to you instead of on the other side of a counter. It is very strange. I'm still unsure of the protocol.

Kevin Beitz
04-27-2019, 11:55 PM
I don't think you should be aloud to return anything unless it's defected.
If you bought it it's yours...

Edwin Santos
04-28-2019, 1:08 AM
I don't think you should be aloud to return anything unless it's defected.
If you bought it it's yours...

There's nothing stopping you from adopting that policy for yourself.

There are lots of good reasons these stores have such liberal return policies. These are multi-billion dollar companies, they're not stupid nor gullible. They may take it on the chin now and again, but a liberal return policy is a net win for them at the end of the day.

Brian Elfert
04-28-2019, 4:08 AM
The big box stores encourage purchasing additional items for projects as they know a significant percentage of the unused items will never be returned. I knew the returns person at the Menards near my old house personally as I returned some unused item on just about every trip. However, I bought many times more than what I returned.

Dave Lehnert
04-28-2019, 11:38 AM
I don't think you should be aloud to return anything unless it's defected.
If you bought it it's yours...



Wont work.
As a retailer if you are not happy with an item I would much rather you return it in usable condition.
If my policy was "No return unless defective" you can bet if the item was not defective it would be by time they returned it.

Edwin Santos
04-28-2019, 1:12 PM
I don't think you should be aloud to return anything unless it's defected.
If you bought it it's yours...


Wont work.
As a retailer if you are not happy with an item I would much rather you return it in usable condition.
If my policy was "No return unless defective" you can bet if the item was not defective it would be by time they returned it.

Not to mention that the customer would not shop in your store again if you enforced such a policy. Retailers spend millions on marketing. Yes a percentage of people will abuse a return policy, but a large percentage will not. Return policy losses are a comparatively inexpensive form of marketing, customer acquisition, goodwill building. Plus the largest retailers have negotiated with their suppliers to share or bear the cost of returns and defective items. And they join in because it's worth it for them to do so.

A good retailer is looking at the customer for a relationship, not a single transaction. Most of the larger hotel chains look at customer service in the same way. Sure they'll draw the line at some point, but the goal is to make it the exceptional circumstance where you have to say no to the customer. They've crunched the numbers, they wouldn't do it if there wasn't a payback. The studies show that people are fairly loyal to their chosen brands be it Marriott, Home Depot, Apple, Amazon or whomever. The return policy is one of many tools for reinforcing that loyalty. This is what they told me in business school at least.

I guess another way of expressing the theory is that running a customer off on over a $5 item may be the right thing to do on principle, but it's generally considered to be bad business in the long run.

Edwin