Old folk at lunch

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.

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FROM:
Dr John Ray
Woolloongabba
Qld 4102
24 September, 2017

TO: Richard Goyder
CEO
Wesfarmers

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.

Yours faithfully,

Dr John Ray

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I emailed that letter on the Sunday night and got a phone call Monday lunch time telling me the cash was waiting for me!

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