Regan Ritter's mother searched for a video iPod at a rock-bottom price and bought one at a Target store in
Someone had apparently taken the iPod, replaced its weight with rocks, and then put shrink wrap around the box to make it look unopened.
Regan and her mother, Melanie Ritter, returned to Target and asked for another iPod. The store took her at her word about what had happened, but the iPod she wanted wasn't in stock. The
Target employees were apologetic but said that was store policy, Ritter recalls. Only customers who paid in cash could receive a cash refund. It didn't matter that Ritter had immediately paid the entire balance on the card. It didn't matter that she hadn't gotten what she paid for. No cash refund! Period.
Employees did call other Target stores to find a video iPod for her and found one in
So they did, and then Melanie Ritter opened the box in front of Target employees. And guess what? Rocks were in that box, too.
Again, the mother asked for her money back but store employees denied the request. The mother decided to stop arguing because it was her daughter’s birthday. She told her daughter to pick out $350 worth of items around the store to use the credit on.
They left, disappointed. Then the mother contacted The Watchdog.
I contacted Target's media relations office. It took two weeks for Target to get back to me with an answer. "We regret any inconvenience this situation may have caused Ms. Ritter, as it (was) never our intention to disappoint our guests," Target spokesman Amy von Walter told The Watchdog in a written statement. "Our Guest Relations department will contact her directly to discuss the situation." The statement concluded: "Our Investigations team is actively looking into this matter and will partner with local law enforcement as necessary. As this is an active investigation we are unable to provide further comment at this time."
A spokeswoman for Apple, which makes iPods, did not respond to a call and e-mail From The Watchdog.
I called von Walter with further questions. In a series of calls and e-mails, she wouldn't say much about the case. But she wrote me that the store employees who would not give Ritter a cash refund were following store policy. In a second note, she wrote, "In the end, we're pleased she was able to use her store credit in full to make other purchases."
That infuriated Melanie Ritter. "That's not the way to do business," she said. "It wasn't fair that I had to buy stuff that I really didn't want. I thought they didn't handle it properly."
It is quite a scam, isn’t it? Imagine the expression of the poor kid, Regan! And to think that it was her birthday! If we carefully think about this, no sale was ever consummated in the first place because the mother paid $350 for an iPod, not $350 for rocks. They didn’t receive the product that they intended to purchase! They received rocks! And all that Regan ever wanted was to rock and roll with her iPod on her birthday! I say Target sucks! I’ve heard and read similar store policies, but this is ridiculous! If I were in their shoes, I’d litigate Target and take them for every stone, err, penny, they got and make them realize the true meaning of the values they are supposedly promoting, i.e., responsibility, accountability, and commitment to continuous improvement! And I kid you not!
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