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ICFE eNEWS #18-13 - May 21st 2018

Read The Fine Print!

By Jim Garnett, a/k/a Ask Mr.G, a member of the ICFE's Board of Educational Advisors

Recently I ordered two bottles of cologne from Walmart.com. Our area Walmart has this product in their store, but because of so much shoplifting of cologne, they have it under lock and key. At times I have waited as much as twenty minutes to have someone open the locked glass doors so I could get the product. So, to avoid this frustration, I decided to order online. As you know, Walmart.com has no shipping charges and their products can be shipped to your home or to the store for pickup. Either way, it is more convenient.

The cologne took almost two weeks to arrive this time, which was significantly longer than any of the previous orders. Since it was just cologne, that was no big deal. But after I used the cologne once, I figured out why the bottle looked so much different than what I was used to - it was the wrong cologne! That's right, I ordered Jovan instead of Coty. That I had order the wrong cologne was confirmed when my wife asked me, "What is that awful smell in the house?"

So, I took the two bottles of the wrong cologne to Walmart this morning to "trade" them for two bottles of the right cologne. I secured the two bottles of the right cologne from the locked glass display cabinets and headed to Customer Service. It was then and there that I learned that numerous vendors sell their products on Walmart.com, and that this cologne was sold by one of them, Pharmapacks. Walmart said they would not be involved in any returns. I would have to deal directly with the vendor who sold it.

I consider myself fairly astute when it comes to buying and selling, but I have to tell you, I did not notice that there are different vendors' names underneath many of the products. In fact, if I had noticed that, it would not have made any difference to me. I was under the impression that Walmart would stand behind the products they sell on their website. Guess not.

Here's the return policy for Pharmapacks: "Sorry for your return! All product returns must be in unopened, unused and salable condition upon arrival at our warehouse within 30 days of delivery in order to receive a refund. Any products that have been opened or used will be refunded less a 15% restocking fee." The policy goes on to say that if the product purchased is over $500, there is a 50% restocking fee!

Out of curiosity, I called Pharmapacks just to see what the procedure would be for returning the cologne, and they told me that they would refund 85% of my purchase, plus I would be responsible for paying the return postage.

I am sharing this story with you to make you aware that when you order products from Walmart.com, you need to find out if it is being sold by someone other than Walmart. If so, Walmart assumes no responsibility for returns for any reason, even if the same item is available in their own store. If the product is being sold by another vendor, you will be dealing with the policies of that specific vendor, not the policies of Walmart.

That means there is more risk involved if I buy from an outside vendor on Walmart.com and that can cancel out any "convenience factor" I may be receiving. If there are mistakes or problems with the product, I am most likely not going to receive a 100% refund, plus I might have to pay for shipping to send it back.

Many in our society are shopping from home today, and little "tidbits" of information like this can make a huge difference in our decision to buy online, even at a huge retailer like Walmart.

To be fair to Walmart, all of this information was listed in the "fine print," but I simply did not take the time to read it. In my thinking, I was buying from Walmart, and that gave me confidence that things would be hassle-free. Such was not the case.

An up-side to this situation is that when I called Pharmapacks to inquire about their return policies, the customer service representative insisted that they refund my monies. This was in light of the fact that I told her several times that I was not asking that they do anything for me. I was my error for not reading the fine print. She said she wanted me to shop with them again, and this was no way to begin our relationship. That was very unexpected but very much appreciated.

So, I ended up not losing money while at the same time gaining wisdom.

Ask Mr. G
Jim Garnett, The Debt Doctor
AskMrG Consulting, LLC
2216 SW 35th Street
Ankeny, IA 50023

Paul S Richard PhotoICFE eNEWS is available FREE upon request by visiting our Web site and filling out the contact form, and selecting "Yes" for "Add to Mailing List. Please pass this eNEWS on to your peers and interested others and invite them to subscribe for free. Also, visit the ICFE's new Web site: StudentDebtHelp.org

Sent by:

Paul S. Richard
President - Executive Director
Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE)

About the ICFE:

The Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE) was founded in 1982 by the late Loren Dunton (creator of the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation and founder of the College for Financial Planning in Denver, CO.) The ICFE is dedicated to helping consumers of all ages to improve their spending practices, increase savings and use credit more wisely.

The ICFE is an award winning, nonprofit, consumer education organization that has helped millions of people through its financial continuing education courses programs and resources. In addition to eight Certification courses covering identity theft, credit files, credit repair and credit scoring, among others, it also publishes the Do-It-Yourself Credit File correction Guide, which is updated annually. The ICFE has distributed over one million Credit/Debit Card Warning Labels and Credit/Debit Card Sleeves world wide.

The ICFE is a partner with the national Jump$tart Coalition for Financial Literacy and the California Jump$tart chapter. The ICFE staff is also active with San Diego Saves and Military Saves, both offshoots of America Saves.

The ICFE is also an on-line help for consumers who spend too much. ICFE's spending help was featured in PARADE Magazine in the Intelligence Report section. The money helps and tips are from the ICFE's Money Instruction Book, our course in personal finance.

The ICFE helps consumers and students with mending spending, learning about the proper use of credit, budget and expense guidelines, how to set up and implement a spending-plan and also how to access financial education courses and how to teach children about money. Other ICFE services include: Ask Mr. G library, a free eNews service, and an online resource center for students, parents and educators, plus financial education learning tools in the ICFE Book Store.

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