By Kurtis Ming

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Call Kurtis’ hidden camera investigation caught Walmart shortchanging some customers when they returned items with gift receipts.    He uncovered it happening at three Sacramento area stores, and stores across the country in Philadelphia. Click here to read the original story.

Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett was outraged watching the report.
“I’m definitely going to look into this.  This definitely should be looked into,” Corbett from San Leandro said.   “Consumers shouldn’t be ripped off like that.   That just doesn’t make logical sense.  It doesn’t make ethical sense”

Our investigation found when you return something at Walmart with a gift receipt they don’t always give back the full price the gift giver paid.  David Schmitz of West Sacramento asked us to investigate after the West Sacramento store tried to shortchange him. 

“I bought the item.  I paid for it.  I paid $15.   I didn’t pay 7.50,” he said.

It wasn’t until he pushed back, he got the full amount.  During our three visits to Sacramento area Walmart Stores, we bought seasonal items knowing they’d most likely go on sale.   After the holidays, when we returned the items with our gift receipts, we too were shorted on every single item.

For example a pillow and blanket we bought around Valentine’s Day for $10, we only got $5 back.   We only got $4.50 for the $9 pajama bottoms we bought because they had since gone on sale.

 Add up everything we bought, we paid a total of $51.82 with tax, but only received $26.99 back.  Walmart kept $24.83 of our money.  

“If you give someone a gift, they should get the full value of that gift,” Senator Corbett said.

We learned the law is silent on gift receipts.

She feels gift receipts and regular receipts should be treated the same, and is now discussing options with her colleagues at the capitol. 

“Why should you have to pass a law for a retailer to treat their customers fairly?  But if that’s what you have to do, I guess that’s what you have to do.”

Consumer Attorney Bill Kershaw thinks it’s outright fraud.  His Sacramento law firm suspects Walmart; the nation’s largest retailer has made millions shorting customers.    His firm is now exploring a lawsuit. Click here to read a news release about their efforts.

“Walmart prides itself on being fair.  This is anything but.”
Walmart declined our repeated requests for an on camera interview, and didn’t return our calls today.   This is the only statement Walmart has released.

We are committed to customer satisfaction and apologize for any inconvenience to our customers. It is our practice to refund the original price paid to the customer when returning an item with a gift receipt. We will be communicating with our store associates to reinforce our practice. If a customer has a question regarding a gift receipt, we encourage them to speak with a member of management. -Ashley Hardie, Manager Media Relations

Comments (8)
  1. valerie says:

    Please, this is a computer programming issue. The store associates are just scanning the reciept. And do you think that the computer programs are written at each individual store? Clearly this is a company wide problem.

    1. Software Engineer says:

      I agree with you Valerie. This is a software issue that Wal-Mart is refusing to acknowledge. I feel that they more likely know this and are refusing to do something about it.

  2. jennifer says:

    There is just a training issue here. I work for a local store and had to look the process up myself. Our store does it the proper way. Management just needs to look up the guide and train the associates. I do admit however, every now and then we have a cashier come cover a lunch or break and they may not have been trained on the subject. Easy fix across the board. Each store just needs to take responsibility and train the people right.

  3. Sue says:

    It is not just WalMart. It is other stores also. My sister was given 3 undergarment items for Christmas that were the wrong size. When she took them back for an even exchange they told her that because the items were now on sale the price they were worth would only allow them to give her 2. So they got back 3 and only gave her 2 which means not only did they keep the original price of the first sale, they can resale the one extra pair that they kept.

  4. Kevin Fong says:

    Does this mean i can buy a sale item and return it later and make money, after the sale is over?

    1. Lola says:

      You should try it and let us know if it works. That would be wonderful if it works that way. AND if it doesn’t Walmart is a crook! Will never shop there again!

  5. Mary Ann says:

    In this age of computers, there is no excuse for this type of error. The SKU on the gift reciept should contain the purchase date and price. WalMart is worldwide. Can you imagine the billions, not millions, of dollars they have stolen over the years? No wonder their bottom line looks so good.

  6. Mel says:

    This has happened to me over the years at WalMart, Macy’s and Target. I think it is actually a “hidden” common practice at most retailers.

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