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Jan 18, 2009 07:31 PM

Trader Joe's Does Not Honor Their Return Policy


I tried returning some fruit juice products last week at Trader Joe's. I brought back two of them, an antioxidant drink (fruit mix) and orange juice. The juices had gone bad well before the expiration date.

In the past, on the rare occasion I've returned items, I've never gotten grief. This time, the manager flatly refused. "No." I told him that I didn't want a refund, just an exchange for other products. "No." I told him I was a long time customer and rarely asked for returns, but believed Trader Joe's had a customer satisfaction policy. "No, try asking another manager." "Is he on duty? Can I speak to him?"

"When can I speak to him?"
"Try calling this number."
"But, he may or may not accept the exchange."

At this point, I was really getting frustrated by this person. Trader Joe's has a clearly stated policy of accepting items not only for exchange but for a refund, and I was not asking for a refund.

I tried to remind him of the store policy.

"I'm done."
The other manager on duty glared at me also.

I'm wondering if I should pursue this with the higher ups or just give up on this store for good.

I like some of their food items and have dropped a ton of money on their stores in the past, but this sorry state of customer service makes me feel comfortable never returning.

Have any of you experienced similar?

  1. There's the product guarantee on their website which hasn't changed.

    Call or e-mail them with your complaint and let us know what they say. I've never had a problem returning something and the workers encourage me when I'm contemplating even a wine....."you don't like it bring it back."

    1. Welcome. I see this is your first and only post on Chowhound.

      Where did this happen? It is very unusual and I am certain the management of the company would want to know.

      1. As Cathy noted above, welcome to Chowhound. I hope you will be a regular presence here. And I hope your future posts don't strain credibility as much as this one does. Sorry, but I find it almost impossible to believe that any Trader Joe's manager would so flagrantly and noxiously violate a cherished refund policy that is so well known, popular, and basically written in stone.

        8 Replies
        1. re: Arthur

          I was not only surprised, but shocked by the manager's response and behavior. I've spent many, many of my precious dollars shopping there and in the past, they've rewarded loyalty. For example, in the past, I've occasionally asked about specific products, whether they're good, etc. I was astonished when a cashier just gave me the product I was inquiring about for FREE! He just handed it to me! I've also been given a product for free for having to wait too long, or because there was an unfresh product. Of course, they'd see me there several times a week, so they knew I was a loyal shopper.

          But, I've moved and this is a different Trader Joe's and the experience has been quite different. I might give them another try, but I feel comfortable now simply saying adieu Trader Joe's! Adieu!

          1. re: NewDude

            Again, which Trader Joe's?

            We all would like to know.

              1. re: NewDude

                You are making a serious complaint about a specific manager of a store that has a very clear policy. There are more than 100 stores in Northern California alone. Which specific location?

                1. re: Cathy

                  I don't feel completely comfortable posting the exact location. I would like to maintain some anonymity on this board.

                  1. re: NewDude

                    And identifying the location would make your identity obvious? Was it the Neverland Trader Joe's? Are you Michael Jackson?

                    1. re: ferret

                      Wait, I thought he had to move out of Neverland!

                      1. re: rockandroller1

                        He shoulda saved on expenses with TJ's prepackaged instead of hiring chefs. Still would've saved money even if he couldn't return stale products.

        2. No. And I don't believe you did either.

          1. I emailed them. I'll let you know of their reply.