Monday, September 25, 2017
Cash refund or credit note?
When a store accepts back unsuitable goods, the customer expects a full refund. In the bad old days that often did not happen. All you got was a credit note to enable you to buy other things at that store.
In the early '60s I bought some tapes for my tape recorder from Dixons in Elizabeth St., Brisbane. Dixons was the local tentacle of a big British electrical goods retailer. It still exists there.
When the tapes were not suitable I took them back and was hit with the credit note caper. I refused it and insisted on cash. No luck
So the next Saturday morning I got an old white t-shirt and used a big black marking pen to write on it: "Dixons are dishonest" in big letters. I then wore that shirt and paraded up and down in front of the shop entrance -- chanting "Dixons are dishonest. They swindled me. They may swindle you". I saw no one enter the store while I was there so I gather I destroyed their entire Saturday trade.
I got a cheque in the mail for the required amount the next Tuesday.
As I understand it, the credit note caper has been long ago outlawed in most jurisdictions so I was surprised to encounter it at Officeworks last Sunday. This time, however, I was a bit more wised up so simply wrote a letter to Mr Goyder, CEO of Wesfarmers, who own Officeworks. Below is the letter.
Dr John Ray
24 September, 2017
TO: Richard Goyder
Dear Mr Goyder,
As a long-term Wesfarmers shareholder, I have always taken a keen interest in the business and have written to you a couple of times before over policy matters. I have been very impressed by your courteous responses.
I am writing this time over what seems to me to be a surprising refund policy at Officeworks. As you will be aware, the ACCC recently levied large fines on some retailers over their illegal refund policies. So I was surprised today when I took in a faulty armchair for a refund to be told that I could get only a credit note, not a cash refund. My information is that a customer is always entitled to a cash refund for defective goods.
Being a cautious person I paid for an extended 2-year warranty when I bought the chair on 19/10/2015 for $190 and I still have all the relevant paperwork. So when the seat started to fall apart recently, I concluded that I was entitled to a full refund.
So I took it in today and was then told that I had to ring a number to get the return authorized and even then only a credit note would be issued. As I needed a new chair immediately, I bought another one there and then for cash. So a credit note would be useless to me.
Please instruct Officeworks at Woolloongabba to give me a cash refund of $190. They already have the chair and I have the sales receipt ready for inspection.
Dr John Ray
I emailed that letter on the Sunday night and got a phone call Monday lunch time telling me the cash was waiting for me!