Since we live in the age of Amazon, most major retailers have upped their e-commerce game to compete with the online retail giant. Walmart, for instance, has opened up its online shopping platform to third-party vendors, which includes large companies and lesser-known vendors. While a rich, open marketplace might seem like a good thing, opening Walmart.com to, well, pretty much anyone the company wants to work with has led to a misleading return policy, consumers say.
In a viral Reddit post, a frustrated Walmart.com shopper explains that when they tried to return furniture that arrived damaged, they discovered that the retailer’s generous return policy did not apply to their purchase as it came from a third-party vendor. That's because some Walmart.com sellers can simply “set their own return policy,” meaning that they don’t have to honor the retailer’s 100% satisfaction guarantee.
“It’s honestly scam territory,” the original poster wrote.
Other Redditors shared similar experiences about both Amazon and Walmart websites. How can you avoid getting burned yourself?
Whether it’s on Amazon or Walmart.com, savvy shoppers say you should avoid third-party sellers altogether. And if you must buy from an external vendor, be sure to read the fine print.
“Every time I shop online at Target, Walmart, or Amazon, I make sure to filter the options to show me items that are only sold by that company,” one commenter writes, adding that they’d “rather not risk it.”
Shoppers also lamented the rise of the online marketplace and the Amazonification of companies like Walmart and Target. To compete with each other, they’ve moved to a hybrid business model, selling their own goods while also doing business with other vendors.
Walmart’s website, a commenter writes, “used to be really good. Then they wanted to be Amazon 2.0. And now it’s terrible.”
Cheapism has reached out to Walmart and will update here if and when we hear back.