You will probably be spending some amount of money on CDs, DVDs and console games this Christmas so please think twice before purchasing at HMV. Their return policy is not what you may be used to.
Basically, HMV offers no refunds or store credit; only exchanges are allowed and this only if the item is in “perfect condition and original packaging”.
The consequence is that if you purchase something wrong or get an unwated present the only option you have is to take it back to HMV and pick something else with “similar value”. If you don’t, or not to the full value of the previously purchased item, the money is lost. If you cannot decide on something to replace the item with (with the same value again) within 21 days, the money is lost… and, most annoying, make sure to carry the item with you at all times in case you happen to walk into an HMV that day and happen to find something you like.
This strict policy is printed on the back of the receipt but if you do have a read, it is already too late because the purchase has been made.
After the bad luck with the manager in the store I phoned up HMV head quarters (0207 467 1109) to confirm this strict policy. Yes, HMV changed their policy June 2003 due to “hard market conditions the passed year” was the answer.
I am not quite sure what it means but if it means that HMV has been affected by the recent recession in world economy let me just state that I too have been affected.
Apparantly it is up to the managers discretion to offer gift vouchers. I recall that when I mentioned this offer to the manager it was refused. I guess I was not representable enough or that the manager was having a bad day. Too bad that her bad day reflects this badly on HMV and will affect where I (and anybody I managed to inform) makes future purchases.
I was lucky enough to sell on the unwanted purchase to a colleague. If similar has happened to you, you can help by linking to this story (http://www.davidkaspar.com/archives/2003/12/hmv_uk_return_policy_beware.php) on your website to make more people aware and to try to send a message to HMV….
A reader has pointed out that the HMV return policy has changed. I have in fact not been shopping in HMV for the last 4 years so I cannot confirm this.
Best thing you can do is to ask a manager in the store about the return policy for “sealed items with original receipt” before you buy a present.