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What Happens To A Customer Returned Item

We are obsessed with buying stuff; a trip to the local Walmart will always include staple items, but we also end up purchasing merchandise on impulse. Don’t worry…we all do it on occasion. Sometimes this extra merchandise is justified and we’re glad to have finally broke down and bought that George Foreman grille, but what happens to a product when we come to our senses and decide to return that unneeded item back to the store?

Retail returns represent a huge aspect of retailing and all large department and discount stores have their own procedure for processing the items you and I deem returnable. Next time you are standing in the customer service line returning that pair of pants you thought you could fit into, pay close attention to the employee behind the counter. You will notice that each time someone returns an item it gets placed into a bin or perhaps back into shopping cart.

Items that are returned to the original store which do not display any signs of product damage or packaging distress will often make it back onto the retail shelf for the next customer. But what about that item you are returning? You had a tough time getting that Sham Wow package open at home and you are almost embarrassed to even ask for your money back? Do not fear, they [the retailer] will gladly give you your $19.95 back!

Have you ever fibbed about a product in hopes of receiving a refund? “I got it home and it is broke!”. There is no lie detector test utilized, the minimum wage clerk simply marks the item damaged and moves on to the next remorseful shopper. Lets face it, do you really think most people step up to the counter and proclaim they made a silly impulse purchase? There is always a story behind a customer return, and many times it is just that…a story.

Items that exhibit packaging distress or items that are somehow defective or broken are not returned to the shelf for round two. These gems are placed in a special area where they pile up high! Items that are deemed “unfit” for re-merchandising are collected and sent to the stores’ processing center to be liquidated.

“G54.…..Bingo!” Small and mid size resellers are clamoring to purchase pallets and truckloads of customer returns direct from large retailers with the intent to resell these items at a fraction of their original retail selling price. Purchasing customer returns represents an excellent way for the small eBay reseller or discount store owner to source name brand merchandise below wholesale. The small entrepreneur can finally compete with the big box stores!

Be prepared for some missing pieces and/or broken items when you buy customer returns in quantity, but savvy resellers still find tremendous value in this inventory! Damage ratios will always vary, but remember, many consumers return items out of remorse!

If you are looking to source name brand merchandise for your business at liquidation pricing…purchasing a load of customer returns might be worth second look. You can buy pallets and truckloads of customer returns from wholesale liquidators or, in some cases, buy directly from the originating store!

The Liquidators Guide! - 121 pages of purchasing information & liquidation sources in a fact-filled guide that wholesalers and liquidation brokers do not want you to get your hands on! I have been buying and reselling wholesale liquidation merchandise for ten years...and I am going to share my knowledge with you!

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3 comments to What Happens To A Customer Returned Item

  • I appreciate you sharing your info. with me. Thanks, Tim

  • Charles White

    Kelly, good stuff. I am learning as I am going. What I got from your book is that I should work as closely as possible to the manufacturer or retailer as possible. I will keep you posted on what we do. All the best!

  • Bought your book about a week ago and we’ve already purchased a “customer return” pallet of 20 different name brand home theatre systems for only $1,400!!!
    Thanks to you and your book filled with tips on where to go for the best deals on wholesale liquidators, we have finally got the ball rolling for our eBay store!
    Heather & Rick

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