A few weeks ago, my wife started complaining that our cordless phones started dying. So, I decided to get a new battery and see if that fixed the issue or I’d have to get a new set of phones due to bad charging circuits. I bought a battery from Fry’s and it failed to charge, so I suspected that the charging circuit was bad. Since I didn’t need the battery, I went back to Fry’s to return the battery.
When I presented the battery to the returns clerk, he looked at it and was a bit suspicious as he said that Lenmar batteries usually have a label on them with the Lenmar name. At that point, things began to click. When I brought the battery home, it looked identical to the battery I already had with the exception that the code on it was a little different. The package said 850 mA whereas the battery (and the ones in the phones) said 800 mA. The clerk went back and retrieved another battery and it was yellow (the ones I had including the replacement I bought were white) with a Lenmar label on it.
Now it was Fry’s word against mine; I said that I bought the battery I was returning. I couldn’t prove I hadn’t swapped the batteries and they couldn’t prove that the battery I took home was the real Lenmar one. The clerk asked his manager and the manager said to go ahead and accept the return. That was a big relief; I almost had to eat $10 for the battery. So it looks like someone swapped the battery in the store (the packages for the batteries only has a stable at the top and you can easily slip the battery out). Normally this kind of theft just impacts the store (and the consumer indirectly with higher prices), but in this case, I almost got stuck with the bill.
Normally Fry’s is an easy target for me to pick on as their staff isn’t the most helpful, some of their sales tactics are questionable (I’ve seen returned items shrink wrapped and resold as new), and I only shop there as a last resort. However, in this case, I was quite pleased with their customer service. Maybe this is way manufacturers put products in the bubble packaging to prevent people from stealing like this.