Monday, December 29, 2008

An Open Letter to Toys 'R' Us

December 29, 2008

Toys"R"Us, Inc. Headquarters

One Geoffrey Way
Wayne, New Jersey 07470-2030

Re: Customer Service

To Whom It May Concern:

I have been a customer at your ________ St, _____, __ location for the past nine years. I can tell you, from a preliminary perusal of my credit card transactions, I have spent at least $571.00 in your toy store in the last twelve months.

I am writing about your “new” return policy. I have rarely had a problem returning items for exchange at your store in the past. I have occasionally found your customer service to be mediocre, but the convenient location and large selection warranted putting up with your unhappy employees.

I am afraid that is no longer the case.

Yesterday, I took my son to the store to exchange a duplicate gift he received for Christmas from his five-year-old cousin. (He received a copy of the Nintendo DS Game “Right Brain Left Brain, which he already has.) The package was un-opened, it was still sealed in plastic wrap and it had a Toys 'R' Us sticker on the front.

We were not allowed to exchange the item because we did not have a receipt, despite the fact that the store manager acknowledged that the game was a Toys ‘R’ Us product and she acknowledged that it was unopened.

The manager looked at me as if I had grown a third head when I asked to exchange the item. She also behaved as though she thought I was not very bright, as she kept repeating that this was “store policy”. She also stated that this has been your corporate policy for “years”. This is simply NOT TRUE as I returned a 'Moon Sand' set to your store without a receipt in November 2007.

She also insisted that Toys R Us “provides a gift receipt for every product and if the gift giver doesn’t include that with the gift that is between you and gift giver.”

This is also either an outright lie or a serious stretching of the truth. I know this because on December 18, 2008, I purchased three (3) items in your store, and I requested “gift receipts”. (I had to REQUEST them.) The cashier printed out a SINGLE gift receipt (not three separate ones) and when I asked for three separate ones, the cashier acted as though I was requesting a kidney from her first born child. As such, I left the store with a single gift receipt. I can only assume that almost all of your other customers did as well, which makes it RATHER DIFFICULT, if not COMPLETELY IMPOSSIBLE to attach a gift receipt to every Christmas gift.

The gift receipt also says, “THIS RECEIPT WILL EXPEDITE ANY EXCHANGE OR RETURN OF MERCHANDISE.” It does NOT say that no exchanges will be allowed without it.

Because of my own direct experience with your gift receipt policy, I am not at all surprised that the gift giver was not able to attach a gift receipt to my son’s game.

Please note that I was not asking for a refund – I was asking to exchange the game for another game at the same price. The game was un-opened and clearly from your store. Your refusal to allow this even exchange at Christmas time, with so many gifts being given from your store, is unreasonable and impossible to explain to a little boy.

I ask that you rectify this situation by allowing my son to return the game. Otherwise, I will have to take my toy buying dollars to Target and Kohl’s, where I have never been made to feel like a criminal or a stupid person for simply trying to exchange a duplicate Christmas gift.

I would also like you to know that you made a little boy cry yesterday, which I’m sure is hardly the goal of your company.

Very truly yours,


I suppose it's totally possible that I am over-reacting and that writing this (which I did mail to Toys R Us) on my lunch hour was a waste of my time. What makes me most angry was the store's insistance that they provide a gift receipt with "every item". Because they DON'T. And I don't like being made to feel stupid or as if I am trying to pull something over on the store. I just wanted them to do what was FAIR, and they refused.



Blogger Patricia said...

Do you have another Toys R Us nearby? Another location might have a less stupid manager. I'm so sorry they made Gabe cry. :(

Monday, December 29, 2008 6:55:00 PM  
Blogger Graced said...

You have usurped my MIL's title as letter writer in chief. :)

Monday, December 29, 2008 8:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

Excellent letter. And the part about making a little boy cry not being the company's goal? Superb. I mean, obviously not superb that they made Gabe cry, but superb that you included it in the letter. I bet you will hear back from them, especially with the current economic climate. Nobody wants to hear the dollars will be spent elsewhere.

Monday, December 29, 2008 9:30:00 PM  
Blogger B said...

Last month I had an opposite experience (at a Canadian Toys r Us). I opened, tossed out the wrapping and washed a diaper pad cover. It frayed along one seam. Never used but I had no receipt, no packaging and a washed item. They quickly and easily gave me a store credit when I pointed out that the item was of poor quality and the baby to be changed on it was still in Vietnam.

I think you will certainly hear from them.

Monday, December 29, 2008 10:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Nicki said...

overreacting is going in and telling them that they are very lucky that you did not bring a gun in with you (which may or may not be something I did last fall when we waited for TWO HOURS for them to ROLL a bike over from the bike section to the checkout). I think your letter was probably far more useful, rational and helpful. TRU is the worst of the worst, imo. I have never once had a good experience. I avoid it like the plague now. I only go there when ALL other options have been exhausted. Next time return it to Walmart who would probably take it WITH the TRU sticker on it :P They'll return ANYTHING and although they are their own brand of Satan's Spawn, they are now a step above TRU in my book. And you really only touched on one really whacked out area of their return policy. It gets worse!!

I almost cried reading your letter. PTSD!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008 12:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done. Hopefully, you identified the store where you experienced this problem. Often, individual establishments "make their own policies" to make their own lives easier, unbeknown to the corporate office.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008 7:43:00 PM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Oh...I'm so sorry. We learned about the "no receipt, no return" thing at birthday time. Yeah...that was fun to explain to a six-year-old. We no longer shop there (unless we're looking for something specific).

Tuesday, December 30, 2008 8:59:00 PM  
Blogger NeuroMama said...

Ackkk...I tried to return a Toys r Us brand train set today without a receipt (it was a gift) and they wouldn't take it. It was not opened and you can only buy it at Toys r Us. Guess I'll be donating a rather nice train set to Toys for Tots next season. Now, where will I store that big box until then?!?!?!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008 9:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh good grief, how stupid can they be? Do they not KNOW that there is a recession going on and they should be all the more thankful and courteous to the customers they do have?!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008 10:40:00 PM  
Blogger teahouse said...

That's outrageous! I think it's a combination of bad policy and moronic employees. Good luck!

Wednesday, December 31, 2008 1:13:00 AM  
Blogger maxhelcal said...

I hate TRU! As a word of caution...never order anything online from them. I placed an order last year and they ended up canceling most of it saying it went out of stock (after my order went through and was charged on my credit card). I had to call over a dozen times to get the right refund and they would not adjust shipping cost. Then a week later my items came up showing "in stock" but now not at the sale price I initially ordered them for and they wouldn't honor was crazy...never again.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008 12:15:00 PM  
Blogger sheilah said...

Make sure you send it to customer service and it wouldn't hurt if you did a little googling and then sent it to the CEO and some of the executives.

My FIL has done this on a few occasions and it hasn't failed to loosen up a tightened corporate 'policy'.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger Nicole said...

You are NOT over-reacting.. I guess BRU and Toys R US have new return policy's. I was told by an employee they can look up the receipt if you have the phone number of the person that purchased the item.. I hope they let you exchange the gift. They are going to make people NOT even want to deal with them and us people will go to kohls & target!

Wednesday, December 31, 2008 5:13:00 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

Just rip the sticker off and take it to Walmart....I mean...Thats too bad. What a bummer.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008 5:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Antonette said...

I think Toys R Us provides comprehensive training in stupidity, rudeness, eye-rolling, and incompetency at both the associate and management levels nationwide, since it's pretty widespread behavior at every store I have been in.

I won't shop there. I loved your letter, and would have been willing to sign my own name to it.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008 5:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love your letter. As a matter of fact, they changed their policy on price meeting as well. And we too were met with look of "disbelief" when we asked, "Since when?". We too were told, "Years!", when they many times had done price matching in the past! Ugh.... I'm not a fan of theres any more.. Target, Walmart, all much better places to buy my kids toys. Hope you get an answer and they rectify their situation! Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 31, 2008 6:28:00 PM  
Blogger Terri said...

Excellent letter, and excellent points, all. I would have probably had a hissy fit at the employee. But at least here in Georgia, Target is equally unyielding regarding returns without receipt. We had the identical situation last year, except with a DVD (unopened and wearing the Target security stickers) and they refused to let us exchange it for a like item because we didn't have the receipt. Good luck!

Sunday, January 04, 2009 10:11:00 PM  
Blogger Isleblue65 said...

Bravo! Excellent letter. Would you mind if I used it for my own TRU situation? Your story and mine are nearly identical!

My 1.5 year old daughter got some clothes and 2.5 year old son got a toy firetruck from their uncle in California for Christmas. Max already had the exact same firetruck and Lily was already too big to fit into the clothes that were sent. The tag on the clothes items was a "Toys R Us" tag, and the price sticker on the Tonka firetruck was "Toys R Us". Their uncle did not send a gift receipt, but I assumed I could do an exchange, plus spend and extra $50 to $75 as I had some other kid stuff to purchase.
Max and I headed into the Toys R Us store and he was excited to go pick out a helicoptor toy in exchange for the firetruck. At the return counter, the clerk asked for the receipt and when I told her I didn't have one but showed her the price tags from her store on the items, she told me about their return policy. I explained that I didn't want to return anything, I wanted to exchange for something else, and I also needed a new car seat plus some clothing items for my kids. When she said (with an emotionless expression) again that I could not return or exchange without a reciept I asked to speak with a manager. After a few minutes, the clerk and the manager came out and the manager had an attitude right off the bat (the clerk had told him the basics of why I wanted to speak with him). Before I had a chance to explain that I was here to spend much more money than the items I wanted to exchange were worth, in addition to not wanting to return anything, the manager said "I could get fired for taking these items back, and my job is worth much more to me than that" It came out as a clear statement that the customer doesn't matter.

I left Toys R Us disgusted and frustrated, and much the same as with the story above, my son Max cried because we could not exchange his firetruck.

Our family has a policy now to never ever shop at Toys R Us again. It is ingrained in my son's memory that Toys R Us is not a happy place, but a place that does not treat people fairly. He experienced this first-hand.

Friday, January 30, 2009 11:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Saturday, February 07, 2009 2:57:00 AM  
Blogger Catherine said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009 4:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to work for a major toy maker and TRU was one of my accounts. This company is suffering from the trickle down effect. The people at corporate level I dealt with were completely inflexible, not very smart or technically savvy, and operated the same way they had for decades without making obvious advancements and improvements. When I go to the store, I see the same problems. I cannot believe they are still in business and avoid that big box store at all costs! Plus, it seems that they carry mostly toys with TV characters on them anyway and I'm not interested in that for my child. There are so many other wonderful local toy companies out there to support with our money!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009 4:30:00 PM  

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