Avoid getting burned on returns, know what to look for

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) People spend a lot of money on big ticket items, like televisions and computers, but there is a good chance the product has already been used by someone else.

It's a frustrating situation, but it happens often.

It all comes down to training store workers properly to make sure damaged goods don't get back on store shelves and end up in shopping carts.

Jeremy Striz, a manager at Home Depot, said,  "Returns cashiers do go through a rigorous training process to ensure that they fully understand the expectations set upon them as a Home Depot associate on our behalf, but also from a customer service standpoint too."

He said he has seen it all, even people trying to put used toilets back into packaging to get refunds.

Striz commented that returns clerks have to be careful and check every item before placing it back on the shelf.

He said, "If we are not careful, it can impact us tremendously.  We are a full profit business so it's critical for us. We process returns properly."

Often workers at various stores slack off and you pay the price.

Michaela Plaza explained how it's happened to her while shopping for her new home and new baby.

Plaza said she bought a fan from a hardware store and the blade was broken. She returned it without any hassle, but what happened next left her speechless.

"They actually put it right back on the shelf, which I was really surprised they would want to resale that," said Plaza.

She's also been the victim while shopping for clothing for her son.

Plaza explained, "I bought something for my new baby and I got it home and I was like, 'I wonder what this is', and I saw something kind of gross on it. With the germs going around and everybody being sick I was just kind of disgusted by it. When you buy something and you expect it to be brand new, it's kind of gross."

Clothing is one thing, but an expensive electronic is another.

Keith Ferrell is the president at AVAC of Myrtle Beach. Their return policy is strict to keep customers and the store safe. There is a seven day policy on most electronics, but you can't return computers.

Ferrell says that's too risky. He said some chain stores are so lenient, customers and manufacturers end up in bad situations.

"They will buy products and take advantage of the exchange policy and rob the components out of it, hard drives and memory boards and things of that nature," said Ferrell.

The best way to stop this from happening, is to check store return policies and make sure boxes are not opened before you buy products.

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