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Cabela's Refund & Exchange Policy / unauthorized retention of personal, private data

1 LA, United States Review updated:
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I am of the opinion that Cabela's is using unauthorized means to collect personal, private identifying information. Their policy is disturbing, questionable, and suspicious. If you read the fine print of their return policy, the "100% gaurantee" is apparently a half-truth.

In order to complete a return or exchange the buyer must "present a valid photo ID that will be recorded and retained in a database to be used only for authorizing returns." "Recorded, " i recently found out at their store in Louisiana, means electronically swiped.

What is Cabela's doing with this information? Who might they be selling it to? By what means is it protected? What legal standing do they have to require this information except for the purchase of a firearm?

The stated purpose, that it is used to "authorize returns" is nonsensical. A receipt and presentation of the return merchandise are all that is necessary in any retail establishment.

Unlike a credit card company, for example, with which the consumer signs an agreement and the company's privacy rules are legally binding and public information, Cabela's is taking this information without authorization, almost through what could be characterized as a mild form of extortion, and without any written agreement on its use or protection.

Other agencies, a bank or the Transportation Security Administration at the airport, these have legal standing to require an i.d., and even still they only look at it, not record it electronically.

Cabela's policy is unjustifiable and shameful. They should change it immediately.

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  • Bo
      19th of Feb, 2009
    +1 Votes

    Cabela's does not store this information. The information is collected through Cabela's, yes, but the database is maintained by The Retail Equation, Inc. The information is not accessible in any way by Cabela's, and none of the information from your driver's license is recorded.

    If you've shopped with Cabela's for any length of time, the information the store itself does collect is nothing they don't already have on file. If you do mail-order, they've got your name, address and phone number.

    For example, if doing a return without proof of purchase, Cabela's employees will ask for your name, address and phone number. This information is added into the register and is used for few purposes: to assign your name to a gift card, if they issue one as a merchandise credit; or to identify excessive returns. (IE, once the account is created, a line will be added for each item returned.)

    You state "The stated purpose, that it is used to "authorize returns" is nonsensical. A receipt and presentation of the return merchandise are all that is necessary in any retail establishment." Did you ever ask about the policy? I did. They're apparently tracking return frequency customer by customer. Bass Pro does it, too. It's part of shopping in the modern world. Too many people abuse the lax rules, and retailers clamp down. No different than any other business. Present a receipt and merchandise all you want: what's to say I didn't break into someone's car and steal something they recently purchased? And don't think some thieves are above printing false receipts. The materials are out there, I'm sure. Register paper probably isn't that hard to find.

    I think this is fair. With the amount of fraud going on in the world, stolen credit cards and returns, I think providing my drivers license to do a return is no big deal. Wal-Mart has been asking for it for years, and if you do more than three returns in a period of 6 months they cut you off. This is probably the sort of thing Cabela's is trying to establish. Again, far enough. If I purchase something big-ticket, I keep my receipt. If they want to put my license on file, fine. I have nothing to hide. I have trusted Cabela's for 20 years not to sell my information. I don't believe that they do.

    Most of this information is available at The Retail Equation. If it's not there, ask the cashier at Cabela's-- they'll be honest. That's how I found this out. Again, I don't see any reason to be suspicious unless you've got something to hide. I'm sure you don't... so why the hostility?

    As with most stores, 100% satisfaction usually refers to the merchandise, I've come to find. There's no way I'm ever 100% happy with the way Wal-Mart treats me.

  • Pc
      13th of Mar, 2009
    +1 Votes

    The previous poster is correct. I am a Cabela's employee, and am surprised it took us this long to crack down on returns. We are simply trying to protect our assets by identifying and stopping return fraud (whether it be through misuse of employee discount, theft, price tag switching, etc).

    What this boils down to is that Cabela's, along with any other company, is free to set the terms on which you must do business with it. If we say you have to have an ID to do a return, you have to have an ID to do a return. If you don't like it, don't buy things from Cabela's. Our prices may be higher, and we may have a strict return policy, but you are not going to find a company that treats its customers better. That's the bottom line.

  • Ho
      10th of Apr, 2009
    +1 Votes

    I have no problems with the policy. With the return abuse I have seen, I am suprised cabelas waited this long. I was in line once while a customer was returning a pair of boots the employee was having a hard time finding. The boots look like they have been used for 10 years. And that customer was allowed to return them.
    Another time I was in line waiting to get a fishing license and this guy was trying to return a crossbow without his receipt. The employee told him she needed to see his driver's license. The customer said he had to go to the car and get it. Another employee came up and I overheard them talking about the crossbow. It appears the customer took it from the sales floor, removed all the tags in a blind and tried to get some money for it. The customer never came back into the store. He probably knew he'd been busted.
    Anyway, many big businesses require a photo id to do returns. They do have a right when it is their assets at stake. I have no problem giving it to them when I return something because I have nothing to hide.
    It seems to me that the ones who have problems with proving to cabelas who their are, are probably the ones who are abusing the return policy and have something to hide. If I owned a business like cabelas, I would rather lose those people as a customer than let them continue the abuse.

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