Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Goodbye, Books-A-Million

Media retailer Books-A-Million recently changed their return policy which allows for a refund or exchange only with receipt within 14 days of purchase. And furthermore, they now offer no store credit without a receipt.

I was not aware that their policy had changed and tried returning a couple items I bought as gifts (after I learned that the person I'd bought them for already had them). I was only a few days behind the 14 days and explained that I live nowhere close to the mall and could they at least offer store credit. They flatly refused, stating that because it was printed on my receipt (which I didn't think to check because most stores have a 30 day policy) and because the register recognized it as an expired receipt there was nothing they could do for me. (I added that there was nothing I could do for them either because their policy was anti-customer and I would no longer shop at their store.)

Since the store's management was so completely non-helpful, I called their corporate office.

They said they could issue me a gift card, but I said that was not acceptable because their mall store where I made the purchases was out of the way and had already cost me gas just to return the items. Returning yet again to redeem a gift card would just be paying more out of pocket.

I was then told that they would "try" to get a refund check for me, but that even if it was approved would take 2-4 weeks to process. I asked her to please try because I wasn't going to go any more out of pocket just to get an exchange.

It blows my mind that both their site and their store's advertising push making purchases as gifts, but their own store policy is anti-gift purchasing because unless you: a) remember to get a gift receipt; b) give the gift well under 14 days of purchase -- whomever you give the gift to cannot return or exchange the gift.

I explained to the customer service phone rep that their new policy is anti-customer and that once my refund is received I will not be making any future purchases at any of their stores or online, where I used to spend an average of $400-500 a year. This kind of customer-No-Service policy is what has led other retail companies into bankruptcy. I would encourage others to keep this in mind before shopping there in the future.

1 comment:

  1. I had the same experience too recently when I tried to exchange a book my daughter received at a baby shower (1 of 48 received). This store is the only large bookstore in our town, so I feel confident most of the books purchased were purchased there. We tried to return it the day after the shower because I had already purchased it for her weeks ago and sent it to her where she resides out of state. I have been building a library for the baby at the rate of 2 books per week and will continue to do so throughout her pregnancy, but not at Books a Million! I have never been offered a gift receipt, nor told to hang on to my receipt because of this ridiculous policy. I have not noticed this policy prominently displayed in the store. I called corporate HQ and the woman I talked to had never heard of this policy, told me she would have to do some checking and called me back within a day or two to report the policy is indeed the policy of their company and made me the same offer she made you. I too will not be shopping there again. I have sent an e-mail to the corporate office, will follow it up with a letter to the Chief Administrative Officer, explaining why this is a very bad policy, unless they intend to make it very easy to exchange or get refunds, and cut out this 14 day nonsense. Dillard's (dept. shore) has a system in which your purchase receives a yellow bar-coded label so that you can return it should you desire to do so, even without the receipt. Some sort of signage needs to be displayed prominently so that customers know to ask for a gift receipt. I would never have thought to ask for one in a bookstore. Until then, they will not be getting any more business from me. Amazon will get all my business.