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Thu Jan 11 2018 14:49:19

Costco Accepts Return of Dead Christmas Tree

By: Ina Steiner

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Retailers like Costco are setting the bar low when it comes to buyer behavior. This article in Fortune declares, "Woman Returns Dead Christmas Tree to Costco on Jan. 4."

According to the article, a shopper behind the woman posted the story on Facebook. "The refund attempt riled up people online who couldn't believe someone would try to return their Christmas tree well into the new year," according to the article. (Given the outrageous stories we've heard about online returns, we wonder how many people who were outraged about the tree have engaged in some questionable behavior themselves.)

At least the customer had to return the item to the store and didn't incur shipping costs for the retailer.

Stories like the "expired" Christmas tree reinforce the idea of shopper entitlement. What's the craziest thing someone asked to return from you, and how well do ecommerce platforms and payment services protect you from bad buyer returns?



Comments (24) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Costco Accepts Return of Dead Christmas Tree   Costco Accepts Return of Dead Christmas Tree

This user has validated their user name. by: BuildingMyOwnSite

Thu Jan 11 15:34:25 2018

Big Deal.  I 'spose everyone from sellers, to outraged consumers will jump on this.  POOR Costco.....

What it WON'T provoke is truly justified outrage against buyers that return used underwear, bathing suits, and rented, stained clothing.  Online sellers have been taking back returns like these for years.   Christmas trees? Big Deal.  They're at least still sellable.  Just flock 'em good, wrap 'em in poly, and throw 'em up in the stockroom for the next 11 months.....  

Blue, Green, or the new PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet Color of the year 2018.  Glitter is cheap and can add $10.00-$15.00 per tree over standard flocking.  Red brings up the possibility of a new Valentine tradition, and cuts down severely on FBA Long Term Storage Fees.

As I've said many times, my own “extended” family is responsible for UNTOLD price increases, at the local malls, particularly the “OUTLET” malls.  Been doin' this for YEARS!   Only good thing there is that some stores are finally cracking down on returns, & building lists of bad buyers, off of drivers licenses etc.  We need to do this online NOW, before we have an entire generation of babies that think they're entitled to this kind of behavior.

Ebay will now certainly be in favor of real buyer “penalties”............   won't they?

Perminate Link for Costco Accepts Return of Dead Christmas Tree   Costco Accepts Return of Dead Christmas Tree

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Thu Jan 11 16:06:17 2018

Costco is just making it hard for other sellers with their ridiculous return policy. I guess their customers think it's okay to rip off the company since they have to pay $60 a year to shop there. (I let my membership lapse many years ago as standing in line for a half hour or more to check out every time I shopped there was not worth the money I saved on the merchandise).

The craziest return request? Several years ago I sold a Barbie doll which was mint in a sealed box. The doll came with the bicycle which she "rode." Barbie's knees were jointed so she could work the peddles to spin the wheels.

A week after receipt, I got an e-mail from the buyer asking to return the doll. She admitted to having taken the doll out of the box, combing the hair, and playing with it (rendering it virtually worthless). Her reason for the return? The doll wasn't what she "expected." Apparently, because of the joints in the knees, she couldn't make the doll stand on its own so she could pose it with her other Barbie dolls. She said she kept all the twist ties which held the doll in position in the box and could put everything back the way it was originally in the box and I could resell it as mint in the box (so basically she want me to be a liar). I refused to accept the doll back, and she gave me negative feedback.

I now have a strict policy of no returns unless I send the wrong item or the item is grossly misrepresented.  

Perminate Link for Costco Accepts Return of Dead Christmas Tree   Costco Accepts Return of Dead Christmas Tree

by: Studiolines This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 11 16:08:35 2018

Sadly Walmart B&M is the same way. I live in a beach resort area and It is the local joke. Walmart rentals.  The tourists come in and get their  umbrella, surf boards, ice chests, fishing pole, pop-up tents and such. They actually are gutsy enough to drag them back into Walmart with sand, scraps, pings et for a full refund a week later. This is a  moral issue I think to some extent. Pretty sure these are the same types that are return abusers online.  

Perminate Link for Costco Accepts Return of Dead Christmas Tree   Costco Accepts Return of Dead Christmas Tree

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Thu Jan 11 20:23:29 2018

These absurdities didn't begin until ebay and Amazon began logging sellers to put up with such garbage.

For many years, Nordstrom's was the leader in liberal return policies but that was well before online "managed marketplaces" created the disease of Liar Buyers which is now an epidemic.

Until Walmart/Sam's Club/Costco/Target clean up their return policies(aka lose too much money) we online sellers who want to see our products seen will have to tolerate the scourge of continued interference of mandatory unprofitable return policies.

Perminate Link for Costco Accepts Return of Dead Christmas Tree   Costco Accepts Return of Dead Christmas Tree

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 11 21:10:38 2018

When you are a large company and you can either A) absorb these kinds of things or B) can force things back on vendors - they happen.

They always will.

In the great race to earn a buyers "loyalty", store will do ANYTHING ..... and why not ????? its just some poor shmoe in corporate that has to deal with it. Just put it in the truck and send it back to corporate.

If managers or store employees had to eat the cr@p, it would stop in a minute.

Same with eBay and Amazon. NEITHER have to eat he cr@P - its all pushed on the sellers (instead of the vendors) so they dont feel it at all.

Amazon is one thing - eBay is quite another - since they know or SHOULD KNOW that smaller sellers have no way in H_LL to deal with this stuff.

Let Costco eat the garbage ... they deserve it  

Perminate Link for Costco Accepts Return of Dead Christmas Tree   Costco Accepts Return of Dead Christmas Tree

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Thu Jan 11 21:29:22 2018

That should be flogging not logging in my previous post but it's all the same thing.

Perminate Link for Costco Accepts Return of Dead Christmas Tree   Costco Accepts Return of Dead Christmas Tree

This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Fri Jan 12 00:16:47 2018

I sold a used DVD player, and nearly two years later, I get an e-mail from the buyer that they wish to return it.

Reason? "We didn't really use it, and don't watch that many movies anyway. Certainly you can just resell it once you get it back".

This was one of those players which bleeped out offensive language, and was very expensive at the time of sale. Two years later, though, the price on these units plummeted. Not sure if the company is even still in business. Of course, I denied the return.

Perminate Link for Costco Accepts Return of Dead Christmas Tree   Costco Accepts Return of Dead Christmas Tree

by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 12 06:28:35 2018

Since the returns are a high percentage, I predict the stores will start giving "store credits" instead of cash refunds.

Perminate Link for Costco Accepts Return of Dead Christmas Tree   Costco Accepts Return of Dead Christmas Tree

by: Daisy909 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 12 07:05:13 2018

I work for a mail order gardening company and customers call in for a reship of a plant they said died. Always fun to tell them that they called 3 years ago about the same plant and we have already refunded them for it.

Sadly it is very rare when a customer who was refunded for a dead plant calls in to pay for their now live and growing plant.

Perminate Link for Costco Accepts Return of Dead Christmas Tree   Costco Accepts Return of Dead Christmas Tree

by: TrickyMick This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 12 08:12:41 2018

I was under the impression that COSTCO doesn't own anything they sell... with exception of their store branded items.  The sellers provide their merchandise to costco, and get paid when costco sells the item.... Costco... is just like ebay with returns, it's not coming from their pocket per say... but the Christmas Tree supplier's pocket.  I could be wrong, but I thought... that's how they operate. Floorplan style fronted by manufacturers/suppliers of goods.

Perminate Link for Costco Accepts Return of Dead Christmas Tree   Costco Accepts Return of Dead Christmas Tree

by: CA This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 12 08:23:16 2018

The credit card companies are all joining together against "habitual returners" and are not going to issue credit to them, as reported on the news last week.

Perminate Link for Costco Accepts Return of Dead Christmas Tree   Costco Accepts Return of Dead Christmas Tree

by: lessthanthreerecords This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Fri Jan 12 10:47:04 2018

This is not big news.  I can't count the number of times I've seen dead plants in with the pile of returned items at my local Costco.  Costco has a generous returns policy - a bit too generous in my opinion, at least in some cases.  But that's their choice.  I would feel more than a little embarrassed returning something like that, and I wouldn't fault Costco one bit for not taking it back, but again, it's their business, it's their choice.

Perminate Link for Costco Accepts Return of Dead Christmas Tree   Costco Accepts Return of Dead Christmas Tree

by: Noneya This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 12 11:02:06 2018

There are more than a few ebayers who shop garage sales specifically for used big ticket costco items in order to exchange them for other big ticket MIB items from costco to resell. Stores with these types of policies DO hurt smaller sellers just like the myth of free shipping does.  

Perminate Link for Costco Accepts Return of Dead Christmas Tree   Costco Accepts Return of Dead Christmas Tree

by: smallstuff This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 12 11:32:10 2018

''There are more than a few ebayers who shop garage sales specifically for used big ticket costco items in order to exchange them for other big ticket MIB items from costco to resell.''  I don't understand how this would work unless the fraudster had actually purchased the same item as they are returning.  Every time I have returned something to Costco, they pull up my purchase history (since you have to be a member).  

Perminate Link for Costco Accepts Return of Dead Christmas Tree   Costco Accepts Return of Dead Christmas Tree

by: madam H This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 12 11:35:34 2018

What people do not know is that most retailers send returned merchandise BACK TO THE VENDOR, often deducting the 'value' of that merchandise from a future invoice.

So the liberal return policies at these retailers doesn't hurt them, it affects the MANUFACTURERS, who are then are forced to factor that extra percentage of 'damages and/or returns' into the cost of manufacturing,  passing it on to the consumer.

If certain vendors/manufacturers refuse returns, or void invoice deductions, the retailer(s) will extort them with the threat of dropping their products.  Or giving them less-visible shelf space. (making that item a bit more difficult to find among the sea of competitors' items)

How do you think all these liquidators make a living?  They buy PALLETS of returned goods, shelf-pulls, and damages for pennies on the dollar, and flip them to resellers.  One reseller is 'Dirt Cheap'.  Visited one of their locations last year out of curiosity.  Filled to the gills with Target-branded merchandise, which after thinking about it, wasn't all that surprising... since Target's sales have been declining since their CEO went stupid.

Don't think for a minute that retailers do not SELL their shelf space either.  Want your items to be at eye-level?  Pay for it.  Want an endcap display?  Pay for it.  Want a floor display?  Pay for it.  Appear in the warehouse monthly specials catalog? Pay for it.  It's endless.  Those sale, 'mark-down', or other 'bonus' prices are also charged to manufacturers.  Retailers do not give up their margin to put something 'on sale'.... every discount is accounted for, back to the manufacturer, one way or another.

Nothing is free.  Or 'discounted'.

Many years ago while working at a warehouse club, a woman entered with SIX GALLONS OF GREEN MILK.  Not the brand the warehouse sold, but another local grocer.  Admitted she'd forgotten them in the trunk of her car for a few days.  Wanted a refund.  I refused, as I don't believe rewarding stupidity.  She called for a manager, who promptly gave her a refund for the milk.  And that was the LAST time the manager put me behind the returns counter.  Fine with me, I didn't mind being a cashier.

Perminate Link for Costco Accepts Return of Dead Christmas Tree   Costco Accepts Return of Dead Christmas Tree

by: Studiolines This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 12 12:40:30 2018

@Madam H
Good for you
Very true what you are saying about retail space. Works the same way with getting things in retailers catalogs sometimes too. Manufacturers pay for visibility and eat those returns. I think best solution for most online sellers is to build own site and concentrate on driving traffic.  

Perminate Link for Costco Accepts Return of Dead Christmas Tree   Costco Accepts Return of Dead Christmas Tree

This user has validated their user name. by: SalesBoy

Fri Jan 12 12:54:25 2018

Costco will live to regret that idiotic return authorization.  Problem is, so will many, many other retailers who will see similar hare-brained return attempts because the Costco one will fuel lots more of them in this entitlement society the U.S. is becoming. Expect customers whose return attempts are refused to call 911 to complain!

Perminate Link for Costco Accepts Return of Dead Christmas Tree   Costco Accepts Return of Dead Christmas Tree

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 12 13:46:15 2018

"What people do not know is that most retailers send returned merchandise BACK TO THE VENDOR, often deducting the 'value' of that merchandise from a future invoice.

So the liberal return policies at these retailers doesn't hurt them, it affects the MANUFACTURERS, who are then are forced to factor that extra percentage of 'damages and/or returns' into the cost of manufacturing,  passing it on to the consumer."

%10000 correct :)

"If certain vendors/manufacturers refuse returns, or void invoice deductions, the retailer(s) will extort them with the threat of dropping their products.  Or giving them less-visible shelf space. (making that item a bit more difficult to find among the sea of competitors' items)"

This is EXACTLY what Amazon and Walmart do.

"How do you think all these liquidators make a living?  They buy PALLETS of returned goods, shelf-pulls, and damages for pennies on the dollar, and flip them to resellers." .... akak liquidation.com

"Don't think for a minute that retailers do not SELL their shelf space either.  Want your items to be at eye-level?  Pay for it.  Want an endcap display?  Pay for it.  Want a floor display?  Pay for it.  Appear in the warehouse monthly specials catalog? Pay for it.  It's endless." ... done industry wide ... pioneered ages ago, refined by Savemart in NY ... they sold EVRYTHING they could!

madam H - has it all EXACTLY correct :) smart cookie !

Perminate Link for Costco Accepts Return of Dead Christmas Tree   Costco Accepts Return of Dead Christmas Tree

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 12 18:41:42 2018

Back in the stone age, decades before the net when I was dating, the young lady I was with decided the sun was too bright that day and she had left her shades at home so could we just stop by the convenience store so she could buy a pair?

I offered a spare I had in the glove box - no need to spend...she declined.  No problem she contends.  She'll just return them later for a refund.  

Questionable consumer ethics weren't invented with eCommerce.  We didn't have a second date either.

Perminate Link for Costco Accepts Return of Dead Christmas Tree   Costco Accepts Return of Dead Christmas Tree

by: geoffreymason This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jan 13 08:38:08 2018

At least she didn't return her dead dog to the pet store.

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