Some retailers allow shoppers to keep refunded purchases to avoid restocking

Shawn Knight

Posts: 12,803   +124
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Facepalm: Unsurprisingly, cyber criminals are already aware of the strategy and are taking advantage of it for personal gain through social engineering or flat out lying. As such, the exact specifics of what constitutes a "keep it" return will likely confidential (and fluid) in order to deter fraud.

The uptick in online shopping over the past year has prompted some retailers to rethink how they handle returns.

According to The Wall Street Journal, some major e-commerce players including Amazon and Walmart are employing artificial intelligence to determine what step to take when processing a refund. For inexpensive or large items, it may often be cheaper to simply refund the purchase price and have the customer keep the item.

A spokesperson for Walmart said the “keep it” option is sometimes used for merchandise they don’t plan to resell and is based on metrics like a product’s value, a customers’ purchase history and how much it would cost to process the return.

Target said it will refund a purchase and encourage shoppers to keep the item or donate it in a small number of instances where it is easier than returning the item. Amazon was mum when asked for comment.

In year’s past, retailers would encourage customers to return unwanted items to local stores. Not only was this cheaper in terms of freight costs, it gave retailers yet another opportunity to make a sale as customers would tend to make additional purchases while at the store. This option isn’t as feasible given the pandemic, however.

Image credit Tero Vesalainen, cybrain

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scavengerspc

Posts: 833   +687
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How could this possibly benefit the sellers with what will probably become an online ploy to get free stuff?

Why don't they just fill a Super Soaker with skunk spray and draw a big target on their noses?
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 4,064   +4,165
I bought my mom a Fitbit 3 years ago (instead of doing what I should have done and bought an Apple watch).

The Fitbit didn't work, from day one, but the store couldn't take it back because the model was discontinued (Blaze).

fitbit mailed me a new one, and didn't bother asking for the old one.

Why?

The stuff, in many cases, is so cheap, it's not worth the return processing.

Further, in order to maintain customer service "excellence" they just want to make you happy.

I've learned that writing a letter to a corporation and complaining about a defect is an EASY way to get a refund or replacement. They do not want you complaining for very long.
 
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NicktheWVAHick

Posts: 224   +247
How could this possibly benefit the sellers with what will probably become an online ploy to get free stuff?
I think it really depends on the customer’s buying/return history. If you spend all of your income on Amazon and get 3-4 deliveries a day and return only 1 or 2 a month they will probably opt for allowing you to keep a lower value item.
 
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scavengerspc

Posts: 833   +687
TechSpot Elite
Why?

The stuff, in many cases, is so cheap, it's not worth the return processing.

Further, in order to maintain customer service "excellence" they just want to make you happy.

I've learned that writing a letter to a corporation and complaining about a defect is an EASY way to get a refund or replacement. They do not want you complaining for very long.
All good points. But these sellers aren't going to just eat the loss. They have to find a way to make up for the cost. And you know what that means.
 
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nodfor

Posts: 39   +65
All good points. But these sellers aren't going to just eat the loss. They have to find a way to make up for the cost. And you know what that means.
The whole point of this is to actually lower costs. The article mentions that fraudsters could take advantage of this, but I doubt it will be implemented on expensive and easy to resell products that would attract a fraudster. Plus with modern CRM systems, companies can easily keep track of refund requests and request a return of the item in sketchy cases.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 5,569   +3,753
I have returned many items to Amazon over the years. For one of those returns, they said "keep it." The it was a cable for a raid card. I never had Amazon tell me to keep anything else, though.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 7,770   +6,401
Not to sound pro-Amazon but they have a number of retailers that have been doing that for years .....