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Who’s the Joker behind this policy?

My wife had ordered a set of Batman and Robin walkie-talkies on-line from the website of a national toy retailer. After they arrived and my boys had a chance to try them out, we learned that the reception was poor if the handsets were more than one or two rooms apart.

The retailer has a store in my area, so I stopped by to return them. I explained the reason for the return to the customer service rep and provided the receipt from the on-line purchase. Unable to authorize the refund, she called her manager.

A minute later her manager appeared and, after assessing the situation, told me that no refund or in-store credit could be given because I didn’t have a “bar code receipt that would have accompanied the product.”

I responded that I was not aware of another receipt and that the receipt I had was, to the best of my knowledge, the only one issued from the on-line transaction.

The manager said, “I know, I know. But we were bought by new owners about a year and a half ago and they’re sticklers for the new policy.”

I asked him what the new policy was and he said, “That all product returns are accompanied by a bar code receipt.” He then poured salt in the wound by saying, “Before the new policy went into effect I would have at least been able to give you in-store credit, but now I’m afraid I can do nothing for you.”

Then I asked him what he thought Nordstrom would do under similar circumstances.

He said, “Yeah, I know.”

I was clearly disappointed by their restrictive return policy and said, “Listen, I know it’s not your fault. Someone else developed the new policy. But my son’s birthday is coming up and if I had received in-store credit, I’d be shopping here today. But, since I didn’t, I’ll be shopping elsewhere.”

What restrictive policies does your company have that may be driving customers away—along with their referrals and future spending?

Order Delight Your Customers: 7 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary by Steve Curtin or purchase from select retailers, including Barnes & Noble.
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