Sears, Roebuck and Co. will pay the state $150,000 over a deceptive refund policy related to its “Come Back Cash” promotion, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Thursday.
The investigation was spurred by a complaint from a customer at a Sears in White Plains who said Sears didn’t honor the terms of the promotion.
But if a customer returned an item, a pro-rated amount of the gift card was deducted from the return—even if the card had not be redeemed or even if the total amount of purchases minus the return still exceeded the threshold.
Sears, based in Hoffman Estates, Ill., has since changed the policy, and the settlement says Sears “neither admits nor denies the attorney general’s findings or conclusions of law.”
Sears has 45 stores in New York.
“This settlement ensures that consumers who participate in a promotion of this type and later return merchandise will receive a full and fair refund – and not a penny less,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “Sears’ refund policy improperly reduced refunds to customers whose purchases stayed above the qualifying threshold in the promotion, or whose promotional award card had already expired without being used.”
There was no immediate comment from the company about the settlement.
Schneiderman said his office’s investigation found that 25,998 transactions involving New York consumers whose refunds were improperly reduced, totaling nearly $83,000.
In the White Plains case, a customer bought seven items totaling $164.65 and thus received a $10 award card. The consumer later returned three items for $29.97, but Sears deducted $3.67 from the refund and returned $26.30 to the consumer.
For information about consumer issues, visit www.ag.ny.gov. Or to file a complaint, visit (800) 771-7755.