Hy-Vee hopes to reassure customers that products have remained in their stores the whole time by suspending its return policy during the coronavirus outbreak
One unforeseen consequence of the coronavirus pandemic is its effect on grocers’ return policies. For instance, Hy-Vee Inc. has temporarily suspended its return, refund and raincheck policy until further notice, citing “the health and well-being of [its] customers,” in the words of Chairman, CEO and President Randy Edeker.
As of March 24, the grocer’s stores across its eight-state footprint won’t accept returns or issue rain checks for products.
“Because we can’t trace where our products go after they leave our store, we can no longer accept certain products for return,” explained Edeker. “With this change, our customers can feel safe knowing that all products they purchase at their local Hy-Vee have been in our stores the entire time.”
Certain exceptions apply: If customers find that any fresh product, including produce, meat, seafood or deli items, don’t meet Hy-Vee’s freshness standards, then those products can be exchanged for a new product, but nonperishable items won’t be accepted. If customers have purchased a defective product, that can be exchanged for a new item, since defective products won’t be re-stocked. Further, due to unprecedented demand for certain products and limited product availability, Hy-Vee will temporarily stop issuing rainchecks for out-of-stock products.
The company’s other in-store protective measures include installing windows at checkout to limit contact between customers and cashiers, and banning reusable bags to prevent possible contamination.
Other grocers that have suspended their return policies during the pandemic include Albertsons Cos., Publix Super Markets and Costco. Meanwhile, other types of retailers, including Apple, Macy’s, The Gap and Sephora, have actually extended their return windows to accommodate customers unable to return items to currently closed stores.