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Ace Hardwaretaking advantage of customers facing snowstorm: no returns allowed

Hello, I previously wrote to you from your website and received no reply.

My complaint is that in the third week of January, when we were expecting a blizzard in Maryland, I went to Zimmerman's Ace Hardware in Burtonsville, MD to purchase ice melt. I am a 66-year-old woman and did not know how much to buy. I purchased four bags @ $19.99 apiece, one 8-lb jug of Safe Step Sure Paws ice melt @ $15.99, and a shovel @ $19.99.

One of our neighbors used his snow blower to clear our walk and put down his own ice melt several times. We used the Safe Step for our dog and kept one bag of ice melt in case we needed it. My son carried this bag for me, but I left the other three in the SUV because I cannot lift them.

After the storm, I took the three bags of ice melt in my car back to Zimmerman's with my receipt, and a young man carried them in. The clerk who carried in the bags did not indicate they could not be returned. He simply verified to the check-out clerk that I had returned them. However, Zimmerman's would not refund my money. The check-out clerk said the receipt stated at the bottom that no snow-related items could be returned. However, no one had told me this before I paid for the items, so I could not have known before I paid. Customers should have been told before purchasing that they could not return anything related to the snowstorm. This is dishonesty by omission!

The check-out clerk agreed to give me three of the Safe Step in exchange for the snow melt because I cannot lift the snow melt, and credited me with the $12.00 difference. I later found out that this same product sells for $5 less per jug at Do It Best hardware stores and $3 less at Home Depot. Let alone that I could have purchased it for $9 less per jug on the internet!

I believe Ace should have either allowed returns or informed customers that the normal return policy did not apply to ice melt, etc., BEFORE customers bought the items. I also think Ace's exorbitant prices confirm a mentality of taking advantage of customers when they are vulnerable.

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