No Return No Exchange

The other day after supper I had the strange urge of going to our favorite wholesale store, wanting to check out items on sale. The sun sets at 9pm these days so the extended daylight hours is a big boon to malls and retailers as customers try to shop on weekdays to reserve weekends for short out of town trips. As I was walking down the electronics section, I noticed the car GPS unit I bought had been marked down by 50 bucks. I bought my GPS over a month ago but my wife insisted that we ask for a rebate. Luckily, the receipt was still in my wallet , amidst the junk I haven’t dumped in almost a month. We went to customer service and showed our receipt and presto, the store credited my credit card back the 50 bucks. No questions asked.

Coming from Pinas where returns and exchanges are governed by a different set of restrictive conditions , where the notion of a purchase is pretty much akin to the “touch move” rule of tournament chess, the instant rebate looked utterly ridiculous, if not laughable. Here the notion of consumer protection extends beyond allowing the return of shoddy or faulty products. In the attempt to deliver total satisfaction, it covers abstract things such the customer’s “change of mind”, giving the customer certain amount of time, sometimes up to 90 days to return the product if it doesn’t meet his expectations. Contrast this with the rules in Pinas where refunds and exchanges are only allowed if the item purchased is deemed to be defective. Sometimes stores would agree to exchange the product but will never give your money back. During our last vacation in Pinas, my wife bought me Large size shirts that didn’t quite fit . We wanted to return them but the store refused but would allow an exchange to the XL size. I find that Asians in general despise the idea of returns and exchanges. Chinese stores here aren’t too keen with the country’s liberal return and exchange policy either. The “touch move” rule appears to be for the most part, an Asian phenomenon.

The return and exchange rules, as lax and liberal as they are, are not exempt from shrewd customers who abuse a system that is primarily geared to protect their interests. I have a friend who worked at a large department store and she told me horror stories she experienced at the store’s customer service counters. Yes, there are people who insist on returning items without the receipt ! There was this woman who insisted a refund on the pair of pants she claimed to be defective ( minus the reciept), asked for the manager and started making a scene. The manager simply looked her in the eye and told her off “ nice try but we don’t carry this brand of pants in our store” . Slam dunk 🙂 If it so happened that the store carried the brand, methinks the nervy woman might , although the probability would be less than 50 percent, have her dubious wish fulfilled 🙂


At the pharmacy the other day, the pharmacist was explaining to an elderly Pinoy man who was with his likewise elderly wife, the dosage of the doc’s prescription. I was sitting waiting for my eye antibiotic ointment and was within earshot distance from their conversation.

Pharmacist : You must take two tablets of the antibiotic once a day for your lung infection as per the doctor’s prescription

Man : Should I take one tablet in the morning and one in the evening ?

Wife : No, you should take one tablet after lunch and one after dinner. It’s better for you to take medicine after a meal so it does not harm your stomach.

Pharmacist : no,no.. as I explained, take two tables at time, ONCE every day.

Wife : You must take the tablets for one week.

Pharmacist : no, no. until the medicine is finished, for 10 days.

The poor guy’s mouth was agape the whole time, unable to spew his thoughts out as an unsolicited intercessor, who played the role of doctor and pharmacist, hijacked the conversation. Lucky the pharmacist had a truckload of patience, else he could have lost his cool and dissed the old lady with some nasty words like – “ you’re not the patient. Why don’t you shut up?” I just hate unsolicited meddling 😡


28 Responses

  1. Unsolicited meddling is very common in hospitals. I remmber one time a mother was telling me not to rotate the knob that controls the drop rate of his son’s IV. She was like, “Baka malunod.” I said, “Maam may bilang po yun.” And she said, “Baka mlamigan sya dyan sa tubig.” hay nako.

    Marami pang iba tulad nito

  2. Returning without receipt? That’s unheard of 😦

    I notice that elders are by nature unsolicited meddlers. Maybe they think they are wiser.

  3. here in pinas, i think the return policy is good for 7 days and obviously, one needs to present the receipt. what about in canada? does it have an expiration date?

  4. You know I like their return policy here. I bought a camera thru costco. It has a one year return policy. Before the year was over, my camera broke. They replaced it without question.

    Every time we buy something electrical, my hubby asks what the return policy is. He is quick to add if he can return it after he sees the same product marked way down from another store. They always say that they’ll give us back the difference in store credit.

    Anyway, I had the guts to tag you BW. Hope you have time and/or patience to do tags (hehehehe).

  5. Richmond – one of my pet peeves is unsolicited meddling when it comes to health and medication issues. Man, I just grit my teeth in frustration when ill informed people take matters of health into their own hands. I know of people who talk like they’re better than doctors duh 😦

  6. Irrealis – strange – isn’t it ? Well, did you hear about that guy in the U.S. who was able to claim the lottery jackpot without a ticket? He claimed he bought a ticket but lost it LOL 🙂

    Yep, old people think that by default they’re wiser 😯

  7. Mari – depending upon the merchandise and conditions of sale, it’s normally up to a month. The strange thing is you can return because you changed your mind. Of course, such goods must not have obvious signs of wear and tear 🙂

  8. Ewok – Costco is the best. THat’s where I actually bought the GPS 🙂 You’re pretty much covered with electronics purchase here but it also makes sense to take extended warranty sometimes because repair costs here are quite high 😐

    Sure – it is my pleasure to do the tag 🙂

  9. maybe the pharmacist should have said to the old lady: okay you want to take that dosage? go ahead, as long as you take them yourself. lol

  10. I think the Asian mentality is driven by the fact that once a sale has been made, it should remain so. Thus, returns or “cancellation of a sale” are frowned upon and discouraged.

    The worst form of unsolicited meddling is the one that gives wrong advice. I absolutely have no patience with know-it-alls. I take advice from people as long as the advice makes sense.

  11. Prinsesa – LOL.. that would have been my reply too 🙂 Dang, I have very short patience for makulit people 😡

  12. Panaderos – true because even in a shopping paradise like Hongkong they’re not very keen on returns and refunds.

    You said it – people giving wrong advice esp in issues of health irks me the most. I have a friend who is nearing retirement who for works as a clerical staff at a hospital here who openly tells our other friends not to take anti cholesterol pills because they’re not good for health. Working at a hospital for many years now, the younger folks who look up to her with respect may believe what she says, duh 😡

  13. Abuse of the system by unscrupulous persons (and there are a LOT of them mind you)is primarily the reason why store owners aren’t too keen on copying the western style of customer service.

    Many years ago, a friend who worked as a merchandiser for a department store told me a story about this woman who wanted to return a gown she bought from their store a week earlier, saying that it didn’t quite fit her hefty frame. They would have gladly replaced it, were it not for the fact that the gown had an “anghit” smell which was really overpowering… 😀

    Man, don’t you really hate those meddlers? they’re kinda like backseat drivers.

  14. the store credited my credit card back the 50 bucks. No questions asked.>>> astig!

    oo nga. pansin ko din yon kasi may nagkwento din na may isang lugar kung saan pag bumili ka ng book, tapos inuwi mo at hindi mo nagustuhan, pwede mo pa itong ibalik basta’t may price tag/sticker pa rin.

    sadly, kaya hindi to pwede sa mga pinoy kasi maraming abusado.

  15. Sngl – there are always opportunists – there’s no shortage of these people 😡

    LOL… body odor did what it was supposed to do hehe 🙂 I think one of the reasons for the lax policy is because people here have the proclivity to sue left and right so dept stores have been very accomodating to customer demands. Likewise, they need to compete with online stores whose policy includes a very accomodating return policy. What people don’t realize is when you return stuff from an online purchase because you changed your mind is you are liable to
    pay for shipping charges which is an added expense 😦

    Yeah – they’re backseat drivers for sure. Once I played golf with this loquacious guy who said he was a certified instructor – just a random pairing on a normal weekend game – and this guy almost gave me a lesson for free after the game at the parking lot lol 🙂

  16. Dong – yeah, it was instant rebate .. astig hehe 🙂 It also gave me more money to shop
    around kaya wala rin na save hehe 🙂

    There are always people who tend to abuse but for the most part, people appreciate the very accomodating return and exchange policy of stores here.

  17. Ang galing naman jan. Dito mauubos oras sa kakausap ng mga tao sa customer service at kung medyo tatanga-tanga (for lack of better term) pa yung customer eh uuwi sya ng luhaan.

  18. i’ve wanted to buy a GPS device too. it’s a nice to have…what did you buy? garmin?

    dami talaga loko dito kahit sa mga returns section. you need the receipt and the tag in place to get a replacement, not a refund

  19. that kind of consumer protection won’t work in the Philippines. people will just abuse it. i myself can think of countless ways to abuse the system and get away with it should it be applied here. i’m evil like that. LOL! 😀

  20. yea it’s really crap when it comes to that policy here in the Philippines. sometimes even if you show them the receipt they won’t do anything about it! talk about that huh? lol

  21. Lawstude – that time that I exchanged my L to XL shirts at a large, well known dept store sa Glorietta, naghintay ako ng more than 30 minutes dahil sa katakut-takut na manual documentation to be done, even if there was no money
    differential in the exchange. I can live with that but I agree with you, kung hindi ka mapusok, baka hindi mo makuha ang
    gusto mo 😦

  22. Tutubi – I got a Magellan 250. It’s great but just make sure when you buy one, it is voice activated and has loaded the road maps and points/places of interest of the country you’d be driving !

    The local laws in Pinas had given the customers protection from shoddy and faulty products. Problem is ang mga stores minsan pinapahirapan ang customer na kahit may depkto na, pinapalabas kasalanan ng customer 😦

  23. Piapot – true..many times and this is quite frustrating, the customer service people are quite ignorant of the rules and even interpret the rules on their own !

  24. Barry – you’re evil 🙂

    Due to stiff competition esp from Internet purchases, stores here become more conscious of the potential of online purchases which has a very flexible return/exchange policy hence they become more accomodating in order to compete 🙂

    One one hand, the “change of mind” return is great for compulsive buyers like my wife hehe 🙂

  25. That is surely a nuisance. But if it’s the wife — isn’t she entitled .. to meddle. 🙂 I would too. Pero nuisance nga dahil this particular wife seems to get it the wrong way. One shouldn’t if not sure.

    Consumer protection is well enforced where you are .. Canada, right? Oo nga, I’ve also heard of stories of abuse by the consumers. We’re still in the Stone Age here in Pinas as far as consumer rights are concerned. 😦

  26. Ths59ers – I like your honest reply – ” the wife is entitled to meddle ” hehe 🙂

    That seems to be the always the case isn’t it ? 🙂 It can be a real drag though when a nuisance becomes an embarrassment !

    Consumer advocacy groups have lots to do with the advancement of consumer rights in this part of the world. It’s not perfect but it’s nice to know that it is constantly being challenged and improved with the help of the government.

    Thanks for dropping by 🙂

  27. It’s a lovely place to be for consumers. So there, the warning should be ‘sellers beware’ rather than ‘buyers beware.’ Galing.

  28. Annamanila – there’s a joke here that if you are really hungry, consume 2/3 of your sandwich, put a dead fly on the sandwich, come up to the cashier and complain ” HEY, THERE’S A FLY IN MY SANDWICH!” and you’ll get another one – guaranteed 🙂

    I think consumers here are quite serious with quality of customer service and sellers likewise take them very seriously.

    However I can say that when it comes to attitude in providing service, Pinoys are more respectful without a shadow of a doubt . It’s the rules that drag the service down, not the people.

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