- Target will typically refund or exchange any unopened purchases returned within 90 days.
- But occasionally, customers shock employees with particularly large or gross returns.
- Business Insider spoke with 36 Target employees about the strangest returns they have encountered.
- Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.
Target’s no different from its major rivals when it comes to attracting retail fraud and serial returners.
The company’s return policy allows customers to bring back unopened products that are still “in new condition and returned within 90 days” for a refund or an exchange. There are exceptions to the rule, and the retailer reserves the right to deny a return that is damaged or lacking a receipt.
That policy doesn’t prevent some shoppers from trying to skirt the rules. As a result, some Target employees witness rather odd things coming through the returns desk. A Target team member based in California even told Business Insider that they admired their colleagues working in returns, describing it as “a very tough position.”
Here are a few of the more memorable items that Target employees say shoppers have tried to return:
Target accepted a particularly stinky shirt.
A Target worker described an incident in which a person returned “a shirt that had been worn, washed, and reeked of cigarettes.”
“We didn’t even carry the brand that it was,” the employee added. The store accepted the garment, then tossed it in the trash.
Two women attempted to return a single razor stashed in a Walmart bag.
A Target employee told Business Insider that stores have a $US200 limit on returns made without a receipt. Customers who return items without a receipt receive store credit in lieu of money.
The employee described witnessing a shopper attempt to exchange a razor without a receipt.
“She had hit her $US200 limit, meaning that she couldn’t return it,” the team member said. “She left 20 minutes later. A different woman came in with the exact same razor – in the same Walmart bag, even – to return it with her licence. Not surprisingly, she had also hit her limit.”
One customer had no more use for hundreds of dollars in holiday decorations.
The months following the holiday rush usually bring about a lull in the retail business. But it’s a time that also brings some opportunistic returners out of the woodwork.
One Target team member of five years told Business Insider about a guest who took advantage of the store’s 90-day return policy by “returning roughly $US400 worth of Christmas decorations in late February.”
A family trying to sell their property returned enough home decor to fill a house.
Some shoppers seek to game both Target and the real-estate market.
A Target employee said they had seen “multiple returns of thousands of dollars’ worth of home merchandise made after the guests have staged their homes,” adding, “It is so unethical.”
A man successfully returned bedsheets that were likely from a secondhand store.
One Target employee told Business Insider that one man returned several sets of bedsheets, claiming that his wife had bought too many.
“They were $US150 apiece,” the Target worker said. “He had a limit on his ID. He didn’t have the receipt. We exchanged it for a $US450 camera. He bought those sheets from a secondhand store.”
One shopper returned a U-Haul’s worth of furniture.
“Someone ordered an entire lawn set online and brought it in on a U-Haul to return it,” a Target worker told Business Insider. “We had to use around 10 carts to bring it in.”
One Target employee encountered someone attempting to make a somewhat inappropriate return.
A Target employee told Business Insider that they once encountered a person attempting to return an old opened box of condoms.
Many guests attempt to return merchandise from Walmart.
Two Target workers described seeing shoppers attempt to return Walmart-branded clothing.
“I don’t work in customer service often, but I did have someone try to return a non-Target item,” a third Target employee told Business Insider. “She kept insisting she bought it here.”
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