I purchased a scanner at my local Staples store on 12/13. The store personnel couldn't figure out how to either generate my rebate forms from the register or give me a blank one, so after ten minutes of their fumbling around and handing me things that had nothing to do with the scanner I'd purchased, I asked for a refund. My refund was processed within ten minutes of the sale. I used my debit card to purchase the item for $108.23, and the same amount was credited to my card.
When I got home, I checked my online banking statement. The sale transaction had already been processed, so Staples sucked $108.23 out of my account on 12/13. The credit had not yet appeared. Today is 12/17, and the credit still has not appeared on my statement. So, Staples has been holding my money for four days now.
Now, I'm fairly certain that if I told the store personnel that I intended to hold the scanner for four days while I waited for the funds to appear in my account, I'd have been arrested on my way out the front door. However, Staples is holding both the scanner and the funds used to purchase it. Is this right? Is this fair? Why are they entitled to hold the money of dissatisfied customers and collect interest on it?
Staples has over 2,000 stores around the world. If they do one refund of this size at every store, they are holding about a quarter of a million dollars of customer funds. Let's say they do that same refund at every store every day of the week---that's 1.75 million a week. Anybody got a calculator? How much money are they making off this policy?
If the folks at Staples are smart enough to suck money out of my account within moments, they should be smart enough to come up with a system that puts it back with the same speed---or they should pay me interest for the use of my funds.