Several days ago my friend bought cotton bed sheets at Kmart. She took them home and without opening the package realised they were the wrong colour. (Having just bought a caravan, she was trying to match the decor in the bed base/seats which double as a bed). Upon returning them to Kmart she was advised that it is now their policy to ‘not allow such changes’. This begs the question of ‘consumer rights under the current laws’. Kmart said ‘haven’t you seen the signs up in the store about this’? Of course my friend hadn’t seen them and said so. My friend was eventually allowed to change the sheets, but was told, she would not be oermitted to do so in future. Is this permissible? No one also has these signs up that I could find today when I was in several stores looking a bed linen my self.
And Kmart’ change of mind policy…
Thank you for your reply and link. Having read this I checked other stores return policy, and have found most others have a far better return policy for unopened bed linen, providing it’s returned within a certain number of days with an appropriate payment docket. This (possibly new?) tightening of policy by Kmart - I’ve never had a problem prior to this event, nor have I heard of it from others - will certainly ensure I shop elsewhere, like Harris Scarfe, Myers ( who have THE BEST policy called no regrets) and even Big W will allow the return of bed linen, but not pillows or mattress covers, neither of which I have a problem. This was not just a change of mind, but a genuine error in the colour selection, which Big W had no problems with my friend returning other bedding items which were bought from them for the same beds in a caravan.
I am not sure if Kmart has changed (tightened) their policy recently, but change of mind does not come under the Australian Consumer Law.
It appears that change of mind policies are the discression of the retailer and why different retailers may have different policies (from none to customer favourable ones).
Kmart is in its rights to exclude certain items from its change of mind policy and it appears that those which have been excluded may impacts on Kmart’s ability to resell them…e.g. Kmart would not know if the sheets had been used or have been contaminated in some way after leaving the store. Similar applies to other items like underwear and swimwear. I can also see why printer cartridges are included as ones handling or storage (say in the sun for a few days) could impact on the quality of the cartridge for another unsuspecting customer.
Something to learn from this experience is to check with the store at the point of sale, their change of mind policy. If they won’t change a items you plan to purchase, which you are unsure about, it may be best to think again about the purchase decision one is about to make.
In the case you have highlighted and if colour matching was important, maybe something from the caravan with the colour (e.g. cushion cover/curtain) should have been taken on the shopping adventure to use for colour matching purposes.
I should also note that I ways ask about return policies when buying clothing for others, as a gift may not be the taste/or the right size for others.
I have no argument with you on these points, but I can assure you that I have returned unopened sheets and an unopened Doona cover to Kmart in the past. Perhaps overall many other people are not honest, but if they are, I have no idea how they would be able to fold the ‘opened’ sheets or Doona Covers in exactly the same folds that they were before opening the very tight packages that they come in.
Re the colour matching ‘problem’, every thing is good in hindsight. My friend has now taken a photo of the item/s she wanted to colour match, but has now sworn off shopping at Kmart for the way she was treated during the return of the goods (after less than 24 hours). The unopened items she had purchased from Big W approx 1 month previously, were exchanged for the correct colour without a drama, and she too acknowledges that she should have taken a photo of the item she wanted to match, but she also admits that she was ‘sure of the colour in her mind’. I will certainly think twice about shopping for these items Kmart. Whether other companies follow suit will be interesting.
I understand that it is a change of mind issue, which K-Mart (or any retailer) has discretion over whether they refund/exchange or not.
I have no problem with underwear, swimmers, and bed linen which may come into contact with the more intimate parts of the body being excluded from the return/exchange policy for health reasons.
BUT, having the item unopened negates the health argument in my opinion, as it is not possible for the item to have come into intimate contact with a body if it is still unopened in the wrapper.
So, on this occasion while K-Mart is within it’s rights, I think that they are being a bit harsh.
Harris Scarfe have a no return on mattress protectors either. I was advised this last week during the purchase of one for my caravan. Sure hope that it fits.
Thank you for your comment - I too feel that even though K-mart is within it’s stated rights, they are being too harsh when it comets a visibly unopened packet.
Yes, I am aware of this protocol, and have no problems with a mattress protector, a pillow or other similar items being not able to be returned, including items purchased from Harris Scarfe, but an obviously unopened pair of sheets or a Doona Cover? Kmart are being far too harsh in my opinion. I’m not impressed with the new checkout scheme anyway, so this is just one more thing I’ll be keeping in mind IF I’m shopping there.
I happened to be at Kmart yesterday and it appears that all the sheet packaging (fitted, flat and sets) are not in a sealed bag, but have a flap (or similar) that can be opened and resealed (has an adhesive strip along the flap).
Even though one may not have opened the package after leaving the store, a Kmart staff member would not know that this has been the case. If it has found to have been opened (say a pillow case carefully removed and not returned from a sheet set), this would become a problem for Kmart. Kmart, I expect, would not open and empty the contents to check they are all there as this would also indicate potentially to other shoppers that the sheet(s) may not be in ‘pristine’ condition.
It is also possible for water to enter the packaging after leaving the store (say it was placed on a wet surface and water entered through the corners…or during a heavy rainfall event). Moisture entering the sheets could render the sheets unusable should mould grow on the sheets or the cotton polyester fabric rot. A staff member is unlike to be able to determine if the moisture content of the sheets has been impacted post sale.
I expect if the packaging was 100% sealed and tamper proof, then their standard policy may be different.
I suppose, while Kmart’s approach may seem a bit harsh, it is important to know the change of mind requirements of individual stores/retailers when making purchases which could later be seen as a change of mind.
Even if the packaging had a tamper proof seal, most of the packaging has holes in it to stop children asphyxiating themselves. Consequently, the merchandise could suffer from the moisture incursions you describe through the holes.
So if that happened, who is liable? Would it be K-Mart for not protecting the merchandise sufficiently, or the purchaser for not keeping it in a dry environment? Is it six of one; half a dozen of the other?
If you read their return policy carefully, it only says bedding accessories (for example mattress and pillow protectors), nothing about Linen which is not usually referred to as a bedding accessory. Maybe it wasn’t Kmart’s policy but the assistant’s interpretation of it.
It just so happened that I just read Zanui’s policy on change of mind returns.
“For health and hygiene reasons, the following items are not eligible for a change of mind return: mattresses, bed linen and pillows.”
I completely agree with @phb
I think the other side of the argument could be, would you buy those items if you know that there’s a possibility of someone may had returned it?
Thank you for your comment, I re-read them myself, and you are precisely correct, it does not mention ‘Linen’. Next time I’m in the vicinity I will check what the signs in Kmart state. (if I can find them that is) My friend was asked haven’t you seen the signs? They were supposed to have been ‘all over the place’.
I was only interested in Kmart, and I too have found that the ‘returns policy’ changes from company to company. I fully understand that mattress toppers, mattress protectors, pillows and pillow protectors couldn’t be (and shouldn’t be) returned, but to have been spoken to in the manner in which my friend was spoken to, was (I think) totally unwarranted. I actually saw the article and its packaging, and it was in a totally sealed plastic cover, no flaps to pull it out, and with no holes (so that children cannot suffocate - in fact I have rarely seen holes in that type of packaging). The entire package would have had to be destroyed to even unpack it. So once again I say they were harsh under those circumstances.
According to your description, I also believe that they have acted a bit harshly here.
But unfortunately, this is not something covered under the Australian Consumer Law.
I have got positive results by simply asking the person dealing with you to check with someone else - for example their manager.
The Kmart change of mind policy states…“Bedding accessories (for example, mattress and pillow protectors)”. It provides two examples of what bedding accessories are…not everything which is a bedding accessory or what would be called a extensive list.
Sheets would be a bedding accessory, no different to the two examples they provided.
The only way to know what they mean by bedding accessories is to officially ask them at head office
I don’t know about you @dds , but I wash EVERYTHING we buy that comes into contact with our bodies before using it.
There may be stiffening agents, colouring, anti-mould, anti-vermin, etc to mention a few things, in contact with the product. And if you buy clothing, you just never know who had tried it on before you purchased it.
We aren’t too fussy about such things, because we also buy used stuff from op shops because we clean everything before use.
So, yes I would buy things from the majors even if I know it had be tried on, or returned.
I cannot but feel the general acceptance of a motel room is a case study in the fickleness about some things being not on, but is unquestioned routine in another setting.