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Went to return a few items to HD this past weekend. One item was not on the receipt. The CSR swiped my Drivers License (previously they used to type that in manually) and an immediate denial was displayed on her screen - "Return denied".
The CSR shrugged and said: "There is nothing I can do, we have just downloaded this software and it does not allow any overrides."

When a manager came he was helpless too and I was sent on my way.

The printout that the printer spewed out was saying something like this:

"The customer's return was denied because we used a formula (some abbreviation) to come to our decision. The customer cannot
return any items without a receipt for the period of 90 days."

This is quite upsetting. I do a lot of home improvement and purchase of lot of stuff from both HD and Lowe's using gift cards obtained at a discount online. Try to keep my receipts in order but some of them get lost sometimes.
One reason for this is the cryptic nature of the entries. It takes a detective to interpret SKU # / UPC code and a string of abbreviated description. The HD website is not always helpful since their inventories differ from brick-and-mortar stores.
Another reason - receipts use cheap paper and ink and get faded quickly.

I know that HD keeps track of number of returns but this was uncalled for. It's been quite a while since the last return and it seemed to me that
the decision was "auto denial" rather than actual consideration.

This makes me think of a couple of strategies for the future:

1)Scan all my receipts as I get them and mark all the items on the receipt to interpret their meaning.
2)Forget about 7-10% discount using a GC and use a credit card (easily traceable history).

Be extra meticulous and diligent, DIY-ers!

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Well I just joined the TRE blacklist club today. I bought some new Dewalt power tools using gift cards but later decided... (more)

sharkbiteattack (Aug. 19, 2014 @ 8:09a) |

I too just joined the The Retail Equation (TRE) blacklist. I purchased $82 worth of stuff using my CC and the remaining ... (more)

ephillipsorama (Sep. 10, 2014 @ 7:39p) |

So these companies are sharing your data with another company without your permission?

aadam101 (Sep. 11, 2014 @ 3:41p) |


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LOL, bring them their faded rcpt. That is so true. On large purchases I scan rcpt as it will fade. I also save up items to do one larger return.

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I have not had problems with returns at Lowes without a receipt, although I get a weird look from the cashier everytime. I guess they will follow soon as well.

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The are probably using retail equation to track. I think they look at not just the returns in HD, but overall return activity,

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I returned an air compressor without a receipt last week to Home Depot and didn't have any issues. They did ask for my driver's license though.

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JaxFL said:   LOL, bring them their faded rcpt. That is so true. On large purchases I scan rcpt as it will fade. I also save up items to do one larger return.You bet. I've noticed that many if not most receipts I get these days fade more quickly than they used to, or so it seems. Maybe it's just my own paranoia, but I really wonder if it's not partly intentional. It's funny - the printed output of laser printers has achieved better resolution as the years have passed as well as more resistance against fading, and the laser printers themselves have also gotten cheaper. But with receipts, the resolution is the same or maybe very slightly better, but they fade much faster.

I don't scan the receipts but for large purchases (for both possible returns, and in some cases copies for tax deductions), I make photocopies with a quality laser printer at work.

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There are two sides to the story. I know you are justified in your return, but allowing returns without receipt sometimes also allows people to return merchandise they acquired elsewhere at different (read lower) prices.

Its a trade-off that they will have a cooling period when more than certain number of returns appear without receipt from one person/source. I can totally understand your position and also that of the store.

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I have seen with Lowes receipts, the more I fold them the quicker they will fade. Go ahead, laugh that I have actually done that experiment. I usually keep my Lowes receipts since I end up overbuying for my project and then 3-4 months later get around to actually returning the overage.

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Its not so much the ink that fades. Its the waxy like paper used.

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Or it could be you should just return something in a timely manner instead of a quarter way through the year. lol

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We returned a gift to Target a couple of days ago and they did the same with my license. I asked why he needed my license and he replied that each person is allowed only one non-receipt return per year. I guess a lot of places are tightening up.

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It is necessary to read the return policy carefully for our customers.

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This has been going on for years at Staples and many other places....the license check is triggered by lack of receipt..even for Staples branded stuff. People do shoplift and get the most cash by making returns instead of the pawn shop or craigslist.

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The item that I needed to return is a huge unopened bucket of primer. How does one shoplift that?

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Since a Federal court recently upheld the rights of retailers to collect and share return habits of their customers without their customer permission, companies like Home Depot who had previously severed their relationships with these return tracking companies are once more starting to rely more and more on these companies like The Retail Equation Inc. (aka The Return Exchange in their former life) more freqently to handle loss control from potentially fradulent returns due to anything from customers who use stores for free merchandise rental to outright fraud from returning stolen merchandise.

The sad part is that the three major credit reporting bureaus as well as all major credit card merchant banks are also starting to invest in this type of data and it will eventually end up in credit scoring models. However, just like your credit report your return report can contain inaccurate information due factors such as outright retailer incompetence to identity theft so it is a good idea to occasionaly check your return activity report for errors if you end up in the OPs situation. The Retail Equation Inc. is currenty the largest player in this return behavior data collection so that is the best place to start. You can get free copy of your return report from them here

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ivanivanix said:   The item that I needed to return is a huge unopened bucket of primer. How does one shoplift that?

If you are really looking for a way to do so.

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how about pick the primer and run out like hell.

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cnIsfg said:   Since a Federal court recently upheld the rights of retailers to collect and share return habits of their customers without their customer permission, companies like Home Depot who had previously severed their relationships with these return tracking companies are once more starting to rely more and more on these companies like The Retail Equation Inc. (aka The Return Exchange in their former life) more freqently to handle loss control from potentially fradulent returns due to anything from customers who use stores for free merchandise rental to outright fraud from returning stolen merchandise.

The sad part is that the three major credit reporting bureaus as well as all major credit card merchant banks are also starting to invest in this type of data and it will eventually end up in credit scoring models. However, just like your credit report your return report can contain inaccurate information due factors such as outright retailer incompetence to identity theft so it is a good idea to occasionaly check your return activity report for errors if you end up in the OPs situation. The Retail Equation Inc. is currenty the largest player in this return behavior data collection so that is the best place to start. You can get free copy of your return report from them here


We could all get quality fake IDs to beat them at their own game.

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Geckogod2 said:   Its not so much the ink that fades. Its the waxy like paper used.So why do those receipt remain legible for years when kept in the dark?

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I'm not a big fan of providing my DL or other non public info to any retailer. I consider that to be a breach of privacy and totally unnecessary. I hate returning items but I like to know the retailer has a good return policy just in case I do need to return something. I generally hang on to the receipt. The day I'm required to provide a DL for a return is the day I stop shopping at a store. I didn't have to show a DL to purchase the item so why would I need allow them to collect non public info on a return. HD has just disempowered their employees and managers from doing the right thing for a customer.

OP could always open a compliant with the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse complaint center
https://www.privacyassociation.org/publications/prc_unveils_onli...
http://www.privacyrights.org/new-year-for-privacy-prc-launches-o...

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By the way, I think I know what triggered HD and the retail eqution to blacklist me. Since I purchase most of my construction supplies on those gift cards, whenever I return such an item and provide a receipt, HD clerk asks for a Drivers license. I guess that made me into a "serial returner". Same risk is in using a credit card since it's attached to my name and billing address.
I think the best strategy is to stick to cash from now on.

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jeeves said:   The are probably using retail equation to track. I think they look at not just the returns in HD, but overall return activity,

IIRC, they can only use information related to returns by the consumer at that specific store when determining eligibility for returns.

Another thing to note, in most states just because a store uses TRE doesn't allow them to circumvent posted return policies. If there is nothing in the return policy about discretion or being denied by a TRE type company, they aren't allowed to deny the return simply because you've returned a lot of merchandise to a specific retailer.

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bobley said:   cnIsfg said:   Since a Federal court recently upheld the rights of retailers to collect and share return habits of their customers without their customer permission, companies like Home Depot who had previously severed their relationships with these return tracking companies are once more starting to rely more and more on these companies like The Retail Equation Inc. (aka The Return Exchange in their former life) more freqently to handle loss control from potentially fradulent returns due to anything from customers who use stores for free merchandise rental to outright fraud from returning stolen merchandise.

The sad part is that the three major credit reporting bureaus as well as all major credit card merchant banks are also starting to invest in this type of data and it will eventually end up in credit scoring models. However, just like your credit report your return report can contain inaccurate information due factors such as outright retailer incompetence to identity theft so it is a good idea to occasionaly check your return activity report for errors if you end up in the OPs situation. The Retail Equation Inc. is currenty the largest player in this return behavior data collection so that is the best place to start. You can get free copy of your return report from them here


We could all get quality fake IDs to beat them at their own game.


Are you allowed to have drivers licenses in multiple states?

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jetsfan92588 said:   Are you allowed to have drivers licenses in multiple states?

I'm not sure about a driver's license, but I've has one license and another state's non-driver ID at the same time.

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MrNutz said:   We returned a gift to Target a couple of days ago and they did the same with my license. I asked why he needed my license and he replied that each person is allowed only one non-receipt return per year. I guess a lot of places are tightening up.
Target's policy is actually up to $70 in returns without a receipt per year, NOT one return per year.

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larrymoencurly said:   Geckogod2 said:   Its not so much the ink that fades. Its the waxy like paper used.So why do those receipt remain legible for years when kept in the dark?

It's thermal printing. Light, heat, pressure, etc. alter the longevity. I've tried complaining to my elected officials about it because it's an erasable contract. One said roughly "oh yeah, my warranty receipt was illegible," and then shrugged.

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I have always found Home Depot to be more difficult for returns, especially without a receipt. I have noticed that it varies by Home Depot store as it does by Lowes store. Lowes in one part of my town is easier to make returns to than a Lowes on the other side of town. Regardless, my advice is do not hesitate to try. If you have a problem with a return at any store, get the District Manager's name and number. Google the company headquarters address to get the correct BBB and file the complaint (simple and quick to do online) with the Headquarters office, not just the local store. Then call the District Manager and let them know you have reported it to the BBB. Doesn't always work but is a lot easier to get a phone call from a corporate headquarters office instead of wasting time with some 800 number customer service line that never goes nowhere.

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I don't think they are targeting 'serial returners' b/c if so I would have been blacklisted like 5 years ago. I routinely buy 2-3 of similar items (all shaped differently) b/c I know I need an X but don't know exactly what size. Then I get home and find the one that fits (I try not to open them, but do have to sometimes) and return the rest. Seems like every few weeks I have 10+ items to return. I buy it all with my AMEX and used to keep track of the receipts but now just use my credit card (and sometimes even if I had the receipts they would just scan in my credit card). The credit card acts like a virtual receipt- they have the specific purchase tied to your specific credit card.

So I don't think returns are the problem, even returns with a credit card but no receipt. Returns with NO receipt for items bought with gift cards- now I could see that as a problem- that type of return is easily easily abused- stolen items returned, items bought elsewhere returned, etc- so I am not suprised they are limiting you. I think if you can keep your receipts (I would scan them like you said, with annotations) you will be fine.

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are you saying that this year I won't be able to return my brown Christmas tree to HD because "it dried out"?

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The issue is: I had a number of returns of things purchased with gift cards with receipts. While Lowes asks for no such thing, HD asks for my drivers license every time anyway. I may only assume that this "suspicious behavior" got me on their blacklist since the number of things returned without receipt was minimal.

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Nothing new, in Alabama they were always asking for DL for no-receipt returns. They don't scan it but manually enter DL number into their system (HD, Lowes, WM - any place I used with no receipt return). I think you are allowed not a number of returns per year (here at least) but the system tracks the ratio of purchases to the ratio of returns. If you use CC, it keeps your name in it and compares it. I may be wrong. I have never had a problem. Have returned 5-6-12 months after the purchase tons of items that I was getting for projects and not using. Probably in 3 years did 40 returns in Lowe's and 25 in HD with no receipt. The only problems I had when the item was not carried in stock anymore - so old the returns were

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Some of the Home Depots in my area have seeming become openly hostile to their customers. The store in Redmond, WA has security cameras at every register with video monitors right in front of your nose showing your ugly mug, live and in color. There's not a much clearer way of saying "Home Depot is watching you because you're gonna steal from us." (This store is in a very low crime suburban area.) I used to shop there regularly, but haven't spent a dime in the store since they put the cameras in. I go to the nearby Lowes instead.

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jetsfan92588 said:   Another thing to note, in most states just because a store uses TRE doesn't allow them to circumvent posted return policies. If there is nothing in the return policy about discretion or being denied by a TRE type company, they aren't allowed to deny the return simply because you've returned a lot of merchandise to a specific retailer.

An increasing number of stores do have that language in there though - I know for sure that Home Depot, Staples, and Hobby Lobby specifically have words in the return policy to the effect that they can deny any return they want regardless of the policy. Staples even says they can limit or deny returns WITH a receipt.

BostonFan said:   Target's policy is actually up to $70 in returns without a receipt per year, NOT one return per year.

Target also does receipt lookup, though, so if you bought it with a credit card (and know which one), even if you don't have the receipt, it doesn't count as a non-receipt return.


qcumber98 said:   are you saying that this year I won't be able to return my brown Christmas tree to HD because "it dried out"?

You can still do a chargeback

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Target also does receipt lookup, though, so if you bought it with a credit card (and know which one), even if you don't have the receipt, it doesn't count as a non-receipt return.

Anything with a number that is tractable, even a checking account number if paid by check.

I hardly ever pay with cash anymore but like the OP I do use gift cards purchased for promos. Any retailer could implement a customer loyalty card program and use that to track your purchases like they can with your credit cards. If they already had your info they would only need that card and not have to ask for your drivers license. Shopping clubs do not need your DL, only your member card.

I have returned items to Staples without a receipt and told them how much I paid. But the system returned a higher price and with no way to alter the transaction they had to refund me more than I paid.

Just like theft, loss from fraudulent returns affects everyone. Higher prices and stricter return policies. We all suffer the consequences.

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i also ran into problems because i had made quite a few returns lately without receipts or purchased with store credit, so last saturday to my surprise they didn't let me return stuffs bought with merchandise credit even though i had the receipt, however another receipt showing goods purchased with gift cards and cash was no problem, i even got a partial refund in cash, cashier told me it takes 2-3 months to get off the blacklist LOL, in the meantime i'll just ask my buddy to do the returns

it seems everytime you return without receipt or even with store credit receipt, they ask for DL and you are tagged

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Geckogod2 said:   Its not so much the ink that fades. Its the waxy like paper used.That's thermal paper, much cheaper than laser or even inkjet because there's no 'ink'. It's written to using heat. That's why receipts printed on thermal paper turn black when left out in the sun (or any heat source for that matter). As for folding causing faster fading, not sure why but maybe some sort of chemical reaction occurs when the front side touches itself (haha). But yeah thermal paper receipts are annoying.

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nwrain said:   Some of the Home Depots in my area have seeming become openly hostile to their customers. The store in Redmond, WA has security cameras at every register with video monitors right in front of your nose showing your ugly mug, live and in color. There's not a much clearer way of saying "Home Depot is watching you because you're gonna steal from us." (This store is in a very low crime suburban area.) I used to shop there regularly, but haven't spent a dime in the store since they put the cameras in. I go to the nearby Lowes instead.

Lowes return desk also has the cameras posted, not sure why. I guess you can see yourself returning items and feel guilty about making them work.

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Target also does receipt lookup, though, so if you bought it with a credit card (and know which one), even if you don't have the receipt, it doesn't count as a non-receipt return.

My experience is that Target is able to see how much you paid for the last time you bought an item using a credit card.

Let's say use the same credit card and buy an item first at $X then buy the same item again at $Y. When you return without receipt, they scan the card and their system only sees $Y and will only allow you to return one item at $Y.

Got burnt once when I bought something and then it went on clearance. Bought another one (at clearance price) thinking I could return the one I bought at full price. Only got the clearance price back.

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I love Menards' receipt lookup kiosks by the return desk. If you paid with credit cards or checks you can look up and print receipt as far as two or three years back. That's why I make 99% of my purchases there using my CC because I know I don't have to worry about saving the receipt. The only thing is that if you buy and return a rebate item then you must have the original receipt with rebate receipt printed at the bottom else they'd deduct the rebate amount from the refund.

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So these companies are sharing your data with another company without your permission?

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