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
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.
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.
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
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
So, I ended up not losing money while at the
same time gaining wisdom.
© Jim Garnett, The Debt Doctor
AskMrG Consulting, LLC
2216 SW 35th Street
Ankeny, IA 50023