Woolworths / poor policy

South Africa Review updated:

I recently experienced the extremely poor customer return policy of Woolworths. I have always felt that when returning an item if it is being returned in the same condition in which it was bought and you have the slip to verify purchase, that the store should provide a full monetary refund and not a voucher Why should a consumer be held to ransom to purchase something at that store while they retain your money, earn interest and have the value of the returned product returned to their stock?

What makes this situation worse is that they are not upfront about this policy, they hide behind red tape. They say that they will refund a credit card payment with a credit card refund only to insist that the credit is applied to the same credit card number that the items was bought with. Only a cash purchase is refunded with a cash refund. The problem with this system is that it forces the consumer who did not buy the item to get a voucher. By forcing a voucher on to the customer, they are in essence coercing you into “a forced contract with them” where you can only spend that money at their store, while all this time having the money in their bank and the items back in their inventory. This leaves the customer with the risk of not finding the required item they need and having to spend additional money elsewhere while the value of your voucher gets reduced (inflation and no interest).

This means that if your credit card has expired before time of return of item you will not get a credit to your account. If you received the same items in a baby shower you will be unable to get the money back for the items you return.

In my case, my husband bought me a jersey and he specifically left the price attached and gave me the slip in order that I would have the option to get a refund or exchange the item. The jersey was not to my liking and I took it back to the store with the slip and price attached. The store refused to give me a cash refund or to refund my credit card (even though my husband and I have a joint account).

I find this practice extremely consumer unfriendly. It seems to be an excuse for Woolworths to insist on pushing their vouchers on to the consumer. They should be secure with their products and service to give a customer the choice of refund. As stipulated in the Consumer Protection Act, the customer is entitled to a choice and is entitled to not be forced into further commercial engagements or agreements with the vendor store.

It seems as if they insist on giving back the same R50 note that was given to them when the item was bought. They may refund with two R20 and a R10. By the same token I do not see how they have the right to insist on refunding the credit to the same credit card number that the item was purchased with. A credit is a credit!! The credit card number is incidental for them to refuse a simple refund. I do understand that in the accounting system it may not marry up 100% of the time but why should the consumer be responsible for their accounting inadequacy?

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  • Ka
      6th of Nov, 2011

    What cant you buy from woolworths though?? Spend the money on your groceries for gods sake.. what do you so desperately need cash for?

    +1 Votes
  • Re
      3rd of Mar, 2016

    I am a regular customer of Woolworths and I have never had any complaints at all. Today when I done my weekly shopping, I got home and started unpacking my groceries and noticed that the Cc's that I purchased were out f date by 4 months. I didn't even think it was legal to sell out of date products. The worst part is that when I returned to the store to get a refund, the lady actually refused to give me a refund. So I was left with food that I am basically going to have to throw out. Very dissapointed in Woolworths Inverell.

    0 Votes
  • Wi
      25th of Jul, 2016

    Most people can not read the date on a label. Did it say EXPIRE or did it say BEST BY or BOTTLE DATE? Or was there just a bunch of random numbers that you were assuming were the expiration dates? What are CC's?

    +1 Votes

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