Walmart Canada: Where the Customer Comes Last

2019, Jan 01    

I’ll admit it. I was swept up in the Sony Playstation Classic hype.

I managed to grab a pre-order through Wal-Mart’s site as a last resort since I couldn’t get one anywhere else easily. I figured I would at least keep the pre-order until more information about the system became public. The information back in September of 2018 was quite sparse with a teasing of more information to come in the future.

As further information came out in regards to the Playstation Classic the more uninterested I became. The title selection, use of PAL versions of a number of these titles and general rushed appearance of the unit was too much to bear for the price point. I made my mind up to cancel the pre-order.

I call up Wal-Mart Canada using their number 1-800-328-0402.

My notes from my last dealing back in 2017 were quite relevant as their phone system options have changed. As of December 2018 there is no easy option to get to a human. Pressing 0 multiple times simply disconnects you. The only way to get a human is to press 1 for online orders and then 1 again for online groceries. Then and only then will it actually transfer you to a human. The amusing part is that this is clearly their general customer support queue as there is no reference to online groceries or pickup.

My previous notes have the old way of obtaining an actual human and they still work although they have simply removed the mentioning of said option. Press 1 for online support and then press 6 to get to an actual human. They have simply left this option off their prompts as any mention of the number 6 which was previously for “all other questions” has been silently removed. This is shady as hell!

I’m now connected with customer support. I ask to cancel my pre-order back in early November 2018. They refuse and say that they can’t do it. After speaking with numerous people they simply cannot do it. This is standard company policy. Their solution is to receive the package and simply return it via a store or by using their prepaid shipping label. This is the first company that I’ve ever seen with this type of policy.

I later find out that Wal-Mart Canada also has another policy about cancelling orders. You may ONLY cancel an order within 30 minutes. Most online merchants allow cancelling an order as long as the item has not shipped. Another huge red flag.

Further questions are posed in regards to the online return policy. They tell me that when I initiate an online return that I will receive a prepaid shipping label from Canada Post. I can then affix this to my package and drop it in any Canada Post mailbox or take it directly to one of their stores. All costs involved would be picked up by Wal-Mart Canada.

I receive the now unwanted product.

Upon making my initial pre-order I used a guest account for payment. If one wants to make a return via Wal-Mart Canada you MUST have a account. I’ve never seen this before from an online merchant but given my dealings already I’m not in the least bit surprised. I make the online account solely for the return of this item.

I open up a return claim online and receive an email stating that I will receive the shipping label and further instructions in 24 to 48 hours.

48 hours comes and goes without anything being received via email.

I call Wal-Mart again and they mention something about shipping being cancelled. The customer service representative still could not give me a straight answer after more prodding. I reconfirmed that I am still waiting on my prepaid shipping label and I want it to be sent out immediately. He says he is “expediting” the label and it will definitely be there in 24 hours. Yeah right.

24 hours come and go with no shipping label. This time I decide to use their online chat feature since I’ve never tried it before. The online chat feature is always a horror show and in this case it’s no different.

Explaining my situation about not receiving my shipping label is of course not understood and they end up sending me the same confirmation email that I received days ago. They also now tell me that a courier will now be sent to pickup the package unlike what I’ve been told and expected thus far. I ask for a manager to straighten this out.

I receive a call several minutes later not from the manager but from the representative I was chatting with. This rep transfers me to a manager after putting me on hold for close to 10 minutes. I immediately try to get some information out of this person. I ask for first and last name. They refuse giving only their first. I ask for a direct means of contact for them for future reference as I know for a fact this is will not be the last time I’ll need to deal with this issue. They refuse. I ask if they can give me anything to reference this interaction. No.

The opposition to customer is expected and fierce as usual since these companies really don’t want to deal with customer issues. I relent as I’m given no way to prove that this interaction has even taken place.

I explain the situation yet again. I’m now told that a courier pickup is the only way for this interaction to work. I prod more about these new regulations in my dealings with Wal-Mart. They tell me now that my package was initially delivered by UPS and since UPS delivered the package THEY and only THEY will be forced to pickup the package. Days have passed since my initial return confirmation email stating that I would receive my shipping label; I ask if I can return the package to a store. The manager puts me on hold for 4-5 minutes, returns and simply says yes. I tell the manager I am returning this package to the store right now and that the situation is finished. They agree.

I pop into my nearest Wal-Mart store begrudgingly as this is not what I wanted to do in the first place. This is also the first time I’ve even been in a Wal-Mart before and sure didn’t leave a good impression. I find the return centre. I am the third person in line so I figure it won’t take long to get this over with and get Wal-Mart out of my life.

30 minutes pass before I actually get a chance to get up to the counter. I give the returns clerk my invoice from the package. They punch in the order number and tell me that the product has already been returned. I hold up the package in my hands and let me know that it hasn’t been returned as I am currently holding it in my hands right now. They look at the package and tell me again that it has been returned. I jokingly say that I guess this package is free since you are telling me that I already returned this. They look back at me and say no.

The employee mills around in the back for a bit and tells me that they will take the package and mark it as returned in their system. I ask for a receipt and she tells me that they don’t provide a physical receipt and your receipt is online. I tell them that I need something since an online return would of course expect the item returned to their online warehouse; if the online warehouse has no record of the return then I wouldn’t be getting a refund and losing the item to boot.

The returns employee reiterates that this is how they do returns but she will sign that my invoice detailing that they have indeed received the product. She begins by simply writing “Item received”. I look at her and tell her that I’ll need a little more than that to prove that this item has been returned. She writes her first name. I ask her to write the store number and all phone numbers on there too.

I ask her yet again. Is this the official way you handle returns as I have no confidence with this process at all. She reiterates, this is how we do things in the return centre.

I uneasily leave the store as I’ve never seen a business behave in such a manor but given my previous dealings already it was in line with my previous experiences.

Later that evening I receive a notification of pickup from CanPar. As usual, the previous manager I spoke with did absolutely nothing and now they scheduled a pickup for an item that has already been returned. I reply to the email that is no doubt not monitored explaining that a pickup isn’t necessary and to contact Wal-Mart Canada if they have concerns.

Once again I call up Wal-Mart Canada. Explain the situation yet again. Now they are telling me that they have no record of the package at their online warehouse. I explain yet again that they will have no record at their online warehouse but the record would be with the physical store I returned the product to. I ask specifically why they are now sending a courier and they can’t answer. She now tells me to simply ignore the email even though an individual from CanPar will be showing up looking for a package. I ask if they have a record of the return at the store. They tell me yes. I ask why you told me initially that you have no record of my return and they can’t tell me.

I must mention at this point that after every question that I posed to the representative they would ask me after either replying or not if they could now hang up the call. It’s very clear that the representative had no clue and was simply saying whatever they could to end this call. This is of course is totally unacceptable and I have absolutely no confidence in Wal-Mart Canada at all.

At this point I’m done. Wal-Mart Canada has wasted enough of my time and it was time to get my credit card company involved.

I call up the phone number on the back of my credit card. 35 minutes later I get to a customer service rep. I briefly explain the situation and they issue a chargeback. If they need any additional information they will contact me.

A chargeback against Wal-Mart was issued from my credit card company in less than 24 hours. Impressive.

Weeks later and still nothing has changed. I try to delete my own account and I simply cannot without contacting Wal-mart. As usual, this is the typical behaviour expected from Wal-Mart.

Not only do they not refund the money they get free product.

Good riddance!

Wal-Mart packing slip complete with spelling errors and incorrect date!

This is what I am told passes as a receipt of a returned product at Wal-Mart; incorrect date and spelling errors included.