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Walmart is Working on a Way to Let Customers Return Groceries from Home

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Walmart Customer Service area

Walmart hopes to make it easier for customers to get refunds on select items!

Even the savviest grocery shopper gets it wrong sometimes. Maybe you grabbed some meat that looked fine but failed the smell test once you got it home and opened the package. Perhaps you opened a package of bagels to find mold that wasn’t visible from the outside. Or maybe you just grabbed a can of decaf coffee by mistake.

Finding the receipt, driving back to the store, and standing in line for a return can be a time-consuming hassle. Many shoppers may just toss an inexpensive item and take the loss, rather than sacrificing the time and effort required to get their money back. For Walmart shoppers, there may be a more convenient way to process returns coming soon!

holding phone with open Walmart app

Walmart is developing a new online returns process that will allow customers to return damaged or unwanted groceries without ever leaving the house! So far, this new process is only in the developmental stages, but the company has applied for a patent that gives us a peek at how this new system of returns might look.

Under the new system, customers would be able to use an app to scan a product’s bar code, provide a reason for the return, and request a refund. The app would then perform a cost-benefit analysis to determine whether an in-person return is required. Sometimes it costs more to process a return than an unusable product is worth. In these cases, customers will receive a refund or credit without having to return their item to the store!

walmart manager at register

Some in-store returns would still be required under this system. If it’s decided that you do need to return a product back to the store, Walmart is hoping to streamline this process for in-app returns with a “speedy return counter or a kiosk” mentioned in its patent application. Here, customers with preauthorized refunds could easily drop off their return and skip the long line at Customer Service.

Walmart’s new return process would have built-in fraud protection, too. Anyone requesting too many returns in a certain time period would be flagged and prevented from using the online return process in the future.

Girl removing items from Walmart grocery order

It’s interesting that Walmart had to apply for a patent for this process, because it appears that other online retailers are already doing something similar. If you do a lot of shopping on Amazon, you know that once in a while, the company will issue a refund for an inexpensive item without requiring you to send it back.

There’s no word from Walmart regarding when they hope to have this new return process up and running, but it looks like it has been in the works for a while. Although the patent application was only recently published, the company applied for the patent back in January of 2019.

Have you tried Walmart Grocery Pickup & Delivery yet? New customers can save $10!

Join The Discussion

Comments 17

  1. PrincessMom

    They already do “return-less returns” when you do pickup orders. I’ve had to request a refund a couple of times when we’ve gotten moldy raspberries. (HOW do they not notice that when picking my order?!? BLEH!) They just tell me to throw them away and credit my account.

    • Krissy

      I’ve been able to do this with my pickup order as well. I’ve gotten poor produce and mouthwash with a broken seal and by clicking through the prompts my refund was approved in moments! Love this feature! Also had if you use Walmart pay, starting a return is easy. Start the process in app. And just scan code at the store.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks so much for the helpful tip! Good to know!

    • Momofzander

      I had no clue you could do this! Thanks. I got very wilted asparagus yesterday and just tossed it figuring I was out the money. I rarely buy produce at Walmart because I have such bad luck there

      • PrincessMom

        If it was just yesterday, go into the app and let them know. They should credit you for it. The last time with the raspberries I didn’t notice until the next day when I actually opened the package because I’d been in a hurry putting things away.

  2. singinghope

    We’ve been having groceries delivered since Covid started. Walmart has been excellent with any returns that we’ve had. Usually they just credit my card, but a few they’ve required me to return in store. For the in person returns, I’ve contacted customer service and explained that I’m not able to shop in stores, and they’ve credited my account every single time. I’ve been so pleased and grateful.

    • ImThatJennay

      Ah, good to know! I’ve made the effort to go and it’s not fun. I don’t feel comfortable going in for a return for $8. I’d rather just stay home and be out the money but go anyway. Wish I’d known this sooner. Thanks for sharing!

  3. mykidsmom

    I had an order delivered late one evening with individual frozen items – cafe steamers which have open corners. The driver must have smashed the bag because all of the seals were broke open and the contents spilled out into the bag. Annoying, but no biggie…I throw it out last night because it’s open and spilled all in the bag. I request a refund online this AM indicating it’s damaged and they wanted the items back. Lesson learned. Make sure you save everything….they want the spilled rice. LOL

    • chesca


  4. Tess

    We also do the order ahead and pickup at Walmart as well. For one order I found out I already had the same item on hand and ended up just ordering a duplicate, so went thru the return process in the app. The product was less then $3 so they just credited it back to my card. Another item in the same order was more expensive (about $9). Again just processed the return thru the app. But I did need to return it in store to receive the credit. It just shows the return as pending, until you bring it back to the store. The way it’s supposed to work is the associate is just supposed to scan the bar code in the app and then the bar code of the return item and you’re supposed to be good to go. But, unfortunately, the in store return system at customer service has trouble just scanning the bar code. The two times I’ve attempted to start the return thru the app, they associate has had to just start it over. Not sure why there is a hitch in the store with processing the return from the app. Once they work out that link it will be awesome. And so much faster!

  5. Csandst1

    Amazon has a similar policy. A number of times I’ve received a refund without returning an item. has the same return policy as Amazon re cost vs returning the item.

    • hip2trade

      Happened with me also. I received a bag of bath salts with a hole in it. Received a refund and no return necessary.

  6. hip2trade

    Makes sense to return food products online because they are required to be trashed anyway. I’m not sure why they want some to be returned to the store unless it was a huge return of food or something like that.

  7. Rebecca

    I do weekly grocery pick-ups there & will often get something wilted, damaged etc. No issues getting refunds without returning, but of course these are small items. I’ve been ordering more from Target (pickup or regular shipping) since Covid started, and they offer free returns by mail. I’ve started returns for several items thus far (up to $15 in value) and have yet to have to actually send anything back, says keep or donate items, still get refund. While this is nice, it makes me nervous they’ll cancel my account! I’m so willing to send back in mail, just let me!😂

  8. mimi

    This would be great. I am having to return a large package on pepperonis that had mold in them this morning. The date was good but the product was yuckie.

    • Olivia

      I just had to return gray pepperoni as well. The expiration date wasn’t for months! They must have had a pepperoni problem. Was it Great Value brand? Mine was.

  9. Alice

    Walmart is clearly responding to customers complaints about old, wilted, moldy food items and defective and/or broken items. I’m not sure we should applaud them for doing the ethical “no brainer” thing that any business who values our patronage ought to do. Seems to me, what they do now or are proposing to do in the near future is the very LEAST they should be doing in the first place. Sad to think that business standards have slipped this far that we are “grateful” for the crumbs being thrown to us. Think about that and the millions more of dollars they have profited since COVID-19 and remember their employees often don’t have health benefits and earn wages that consistently are below or just at the Federal poverty guidelines. Walmart; I’ll pass until working conditions improve for all their employees NOT just their shareholders.

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