How to Return a Product to a Store, How to Talk to Store Manager

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You have just made a major purchase at a local store that has left you feeling disappointed.   You are debating on what you might say to the store manager and are unsure if this is the best approach.  You know what the store policies are, but you also know that the product you now have in your possession is not working as promised.  You have called everyone but the manager, complaining about why you don’t want it.  Now it’s time to meet with the store manager and you want to do it in such a way to get the best results in the least amount of time.

Problem Product

The first thing you will want to do is list what is wrong with the product or service before you decide to meet with the store manager.  Is it too big, difficult to operate, defective, or worse broken?

Next, take pictures or video of any visible problems when you have larger items such as furniture that can’t be immediately returned to the store.  Make a copy for your file and one to carry with you when you meet with store management.

Read your contract and other materials you were given during your store visit.  Although the contract may state that you can’t return a product, a store manager may make an exception to the rule if the product is defective in some way.  Make a noteof anything you see, feel or smell that may be cauing problems to your health.  For instance, if you purchased a mattress to help your back pain, but its causing more problems for you then there could be something wrong with the way that has been made.

Customer Service

Contact the phone number given in your documents for customer service issues.  Some concerns may not be addressed by the store manager first and may have to go through customer service first.  Explain to the customer service representative what your issues are with the product.  Note his or her name and the date and time you spoke with her.  You will need this information later if you have to file a formal complaint with another company.  Refer to the list in step one when you explain your situation.  If the customer service representative isn’t helpful, ask to speak to his or her supervisor or manager. 

Visiting the Store Manager

Call the store to be sure the manager is available; rather than making a pop visit.  Sometimes managers will step out the store, take vacations or work at other stores.   This will make you feel more frustrated than you already were prior to visiting the store.  Making an appointment to see him or her is optional especially if you have been given the run-around by his or her staff in the past.  When visiting the store, ask to speak to the manager in a polite tone while presenting a peaceful demeanor.  You will refer to your list of issues you have with the product.  You will also provide him or her with photos or a video of the item(s).

Listen to the instructions the manager gives you after you have expressed your concerns.   Follow them only if you are sure the instructions are similar to what you were told by the customer service representative you called in Step Four.  If not, call the customer service representative back stating the manager has been uncooperative in your situation.

Company’s Financial Department

Contact the company’s financial department if the item was paid for using their in-store credit card.  By doing this, the credit department that issued the store their credit line will investigate the matter.  This can go on the store’s record as a negative. 

Store’s Corporate Office

Find out the name of the person who works in the store’s corporate office, contact him or her.  Once again, explain your situation by using the list of problems you created previously. 

Write a letter to an executive or someone in high authority about your concern mention the names of people who promised to look into your issue or return your phone calls.

Follow-up Phone Calls

Follow-up with all phone calls to customer service representatives, supervisors and managers. If you need to fax information, be sure you have supplied all necessary information to avoid delays such as: an account number, concern, and a request which would mention your need for an exchange, an in-store credit or a refund.  In addition, mention what steps were already made by the store and yourself to resolve this issue.

Better Business Bureau

File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau (B.B.B.) if the matter has still not been resolved.  The complaint can be made online or via phone.

Wait for a response from the B.B.B. it may take anywhere from a week to almost a month for a representative to address your concern with the store.

Respond to any correspondence or phone messages.  Failing to do so may delay your issue or it may be dismissed.

In closing, the results may end in your favor, but then again they may not.  Sometimes there are no ways around certain contracts.  Other times businesses are having trouble so they can’t bend the rules for a customer’s special situation.  Whatever you do and whatever the result, be at peace knowing that you did your very best.

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