A local woman who ran into huge trouble when she tried to return a product she bought online has turned to NBC4 Responds for help.
Recently, Deborah Taylor had both of her knees replaced and needed something to keep her active.
“Your knees can, like, tighten up on you, stiffen up on you,” she said.
She bought a treadmill small enough to fit in her house but powerful enough to get the job done.
“My price range was no more than $250,” she said.
Taylor found the treadmill on Walmart.com and bought it. She says it worked for a few months before it stopped working.
She contacted Walmart customer service to start a return thinking it would be easy.
“I had dealt with Walmart before and really had no problems with Walmart,” Taylor said.
But this time it was different.
“I thought I was dealing with Walmart, but found out I wasn’t dealing with Walmart, I was dealing with another party,” she said.
Although Taylor purchased from Walmart.com, the item she purchased was sold and shipped by a Chinese company. Walmart allows third-party sellers to sell their products directly to customers, and these companies may have their own return and refund policies.
Taylor contacted the company directly from China.
“I called them. They asked me to write them a letter, email them a letter. I did. No response,” she said. “Then I called them back They said they never received it.
After trying four more times, even sending the company a video of the broken treadmill, Taylor still heard nothing.
NBC4 Responds contacted Walmart because the company in China was not responding.
“I contacted you because my neighbor told me you were a great person and would solve the problem, and you solved it just like that,” Taylor said.
The company contacted Taylor and offered her a full refund, which she got a few days later.
Target, Amazon, Etsy, and Overstock are also among the top online retailers that use third-party sellers, and while the majority of these sellers are good companies, there are a few bad apples.
Before buying the product, find out about the seller and read their reviews, not just product reviews.
Look for return policies. Walmart.com has a page dedicated to purchases made by third parties and how to return or get refunds.
At checkout, check if the seller is verified by PayPal or Amazon Pay. This is usually a good indicator that it’s a legitimate seller that has been vetted – but not a guarantee, so always read reviews.
Not all major retailers clearly indicate that a purchase is from a third party, so you may have to dig a little deeper.
Taylor isn’t giving up on getting back on a treadmill, but this time she’s going to buy one in person with her refund.
“I never received a response from this company until you informed them, and I want to thank you very much,” Taylor said.
When dealing with an unresponsive third-party seller, write a review about the experience. Major online retailers can remove the third party from the website if they find a series of issues.