Can’t Refund The Police’s Time

, , , , | Right | June 14, 2017

(A customer is making a scene at the customer service counter. He wants a refund on a phone we don’t stock and has a receipt from another store with a name that sounds similar to ours but isn’t quite the same. I’ve had to call my manager over to explain we can’t refund products that weren’t purchased from us but this guy refuses to budge.)

Customer: “Listen, buddy, you are going to give me back the money I paid for this piece of s**** or I am going to dial the police right now and see how you like having to deal with them!”

Manager: “If you do that they’ll tell you they can’t do much. I’ve already explained, and my employee has already explained, that you didn’t purchase this from us so we can’t refund you for it.”

(The customer proceeds to pull out his phone and makes a show of dialing the police.)

Customer: “Yeah this is [Customer] at [Store] at [Address]… I need some boys in blue to come down and settle a dispute the s*** these employees are giving me! No… no, they aren’t armed… No, I’m not in any danger… Look, just send the d*** police, okay?! Thank you!”

(He turns and smiles smugly at us.)

Customer: “You two are in trouble now!”

Manager: “In that case, sir, please can you step aside so we can assist the customers behind you while we wait?”

(The customer does so but keeps smirking at us. Several minutes pass and he starts looking more unsure.)

Customer: “Well?”

Manager: “Well what?”

Customer: “Aren’t you going to try to get me to call off the cops?”

Manager: “Sir, I already told you they aren’t going to be able to do anything. Upholding our return policy is not a crime so all that’s going to happen is they’re going to come here, possibly take a statement, and tell you there’s nothing more to be done.”

(The customer’s smile slowly melts away.)

Customer: “You’re serious? You’re not going to do anything to stop the cops from getting involved?”

Manager: “I don’t know how else to say this, sir. You want to return something you didn’t buy here; we can’t do that because, as stated, you didn’t buy it here. If the only way you will believe me is if the police tell it to you then so be it.”

(The customer is now looking pale.)

Customer: “You… you a**-hole! I have unpaid tickets! I can’t talk to the police!”

(The customer bolted out of the store and quickly drove like a madman out of our parking lot. Several minutes later the police actually did turn up and confirmed the guy’s description and car matched that of a driver they’ve had to pull over multiple times for dangerous driving and who owed a fair amount.)

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  • Jennifer Smith

    Yeah, never threaten/promise something you can’t deliver on. Someone will always call your bluff. Also, the police are not your personal goon squad to force other people to do your bidding.

    • Rule one of smack talk: Never talk smack unless you can back it up.

      • Denton Young

        Yep. To quote from one of my favorite movies, “Bull**** runs the marathon. See ya…. and I wouldn’t wanna be ya.”

        • Rob Tonka

          New Jack City!

          • Denton Young

            You got it.

    • Beth Harvey

      I always say a threat is a promise and never promise anything you aren’t willing to do

    • Deadpool

      Exactly. They’re MY personal goon squad.

    • Kat

      Years ago, my mom’s car door dinged the car next to it. In her defense, the parking lot is on a downward slop so doors automatically just swing that way. The woman turned out to be waiting in her and she just lost it on my mom and accused her of all kinds of heinous acts (mind you it was a minor ding that nearly every car that has parked in a parking lot has) My mom apologized as much as she could but the woman threatened to call the cops on us. So I told her to do so. She called her husband first. Not sure what he said but she went from livid to extremely apologetic in two seconds flat. Eventually sped out of there. Moral: if someone threatens to call the cops on an insignificant issue, call their bluff.

    • TheRisky9

      I work in insurance and have had this conversation at least a dozen times.

      Customer: I’m upset right now. I’m going to call my attorney and have them deal with you!

      Me: I’m sorry you’re so upset. I’ll let the adjuster know and we look forward to hearing from your attorney.

      Customer: Didn’t you hear me? I said I’m calling an attorney.

      Me: Right. I’ll let the adjuster know you’re retaining an attorney and that attorney will contact us via letter of rep. Is there anything else I can do for you?

      Surprising very few people call attorneys once they realize they don’t intimidate us. Most attorneys are pretty nice and we’d actually rather deal with them in many cases.

      • Andrew Getting

        Most places I’ve worked for say the conversation’s over at the mention of calling an attorney. We were then to say that since it was a legal matter going forward, we could no longer discuss it but through our legal department.

        So many, many impotent threats then…

    • 白大福

      I can confirm so many people thing police would do whatever they ask.

  • Ebony

    Now they get your arse on unpaid tickets AND falsely calling the police. Enjoy your new silver braceletts

    • jaguargamma

      You forgot the attempted fraud.

      • Janina Andersson

        I think that trying to get a store to give you money you are not entitled to by threatening with unpleasant consequences is sort of attempted robbery. Although I doubt this guy would be convicted for that.

    • Novelista

      That reminds me of the story of the guy in the citizens police academy from a few years ago…seems like he had a warrant, though.

    • John L

      SILVER? Hmmm…you think if I get arrested they’ll let me keep’em? Bam…money!

  • Cassia212

    I’ve had people try and tell me that “all return policies are legally unenforceable” and that they’ll sue the company if they can’t get a refund. My dude, you want to try and drag the owner of the store into court because you couldn’t return a pair of jeans that we last sold a year ago without a receipt, you go right ahead. Have fun with that.

    • Kufat

      A fun thing to do once they threaten to sue is to tell them you can’t speak to them anymore and that all future communication will have to be through corporate counsel.

      • Abigail Hermione Irwin

        Absolutely. “So this is a legal matter now? Then I’m sorry but this conversation is over. Any future communications will have to go through our lawyer. Have a good day.”

        • Bonzi77

          That was actually the stores official policy when I worked in retail. The minute someone mentioned the word “sue” or “lawyer” we were supposed to tell them that we had to pass the issue to legal.

          • Ophelia

            I was eating at a hamburger restaurant and overheard this lady threatening to sue them because her beef was undercooked. At first, they offered to make her a new hamburger, no questions asked, but she said that didn’t matter. Then, they said that if she wants to take it to court, to call their legal department. She wouldn’t have that either (another “that doesn’t matter”) and continued to threaten to sue. I think at that point they realized the lady was full of hot air. I’ve driven by that place many times in the coming years and didn’t see anything indicating they were caught in a lawsuit, so I guess they were empty threats.

          • jimfromtx

            So, they want to sue, but refuse to call the legal department? I don’t think that word means what she thinks it means.

          • Ophelia

            I am certain it was an empty threat and that she only said she’d sue to intimidate the staff.

            That being said, she was threatening the staff as individuals, not the business. My impression is that to her, the business’s legal team is a bunch of distant people somewhere else. Something like: “I’m not threatening the legal department. Why would they get involved?”

            I never really was sure of what she wanted. She was turning down a free sandwich, a refund, and discussing the matter with the chain’s lawyers. It only ended when the cashier and manager just said “okay” to everything she said and she stormed out, taking her burger with her. Maybe she wanted revenge, but I think she was just lashing out.

      • Gnomer Denois

        When I worked for big corporations my favorite thing was when abusive customers said anything about a lawsuit or legal action because then I could tell them that I could no longer talk to them except to provide the number for legal.

        • Kathryn Baggs

          Yup. Most people can’t or don’t have the authority to deal with legal stuff. Always loved getting calls that were simple hand offs.

      • Rebecca Charlton

        That’s exactly what we’re told to do. I take complaints for hotels, if they threaten legal action, I clarify that they are planning to sue. If they say yes, then I am not to continue the conversation, and let them know that all further contact will have to be through our legal team, and end the call.

    • Kelly H

      I do think that’s technically true, but most return policies give you more rights than the law alone. You’re only legally entitled to a refund if the goods aren’t fit for purpose.

      • Andrew Getting

        Sometimes not even then — beware any contract with an “as is” clause.

      • Lev Borovoi

        Depending on where you are, you might be legally entitled to a refund for no reason, but only for a short period and only if the item is in new condition (unopened etc.)

    • Ophelia

      If that was true, then there wouldn’t be such a thing as yard sales, flea markets, or pawn shops, as people would just return the items back to wherever the nearest store is. The only things that’d actually be sold off to other people would be collectible items with a higher resale value than the original cost.

    • Don Roles

      …And they’re correct – at least in the U.S. No return policy AT ALL is required by law. Retailers allow/disallow returns solely at their discretion.

      • Kufat

        Eh, implied warranty of merchantability and/or fitness for purpose still applies, usually, depending on jurisdiction.

        • Don Roles

          Not to the retailer… The manufacturer. Retailers are under NO obligation to accept a return.

          • Kufat

            You’ve got it backwards. Generally speaking, the buyer’s contract is with the seller, not the manufacturer. If I buy a roll of 3M Scotch tape from Wal-Mart and it’s not sticky, Wal-Mart is the one who sold me the defective goods.

  • It’s probably safe to assume he doesn’t know misuse of emergency lines is a misdemeanor.

    • NessaTameamea

      Yeah, I would have loved to see him actually try to call them off.

  • Denton Young

    Why did he even bother actually calling if he knew they were looking for him? That just makes no sense.

    • Vulpis

      He expected the store to cave first. Stupid him. 🙂

    • NessaTameamea

      I think he was so determined to prove his point that he didn’t think twice about it when calling the police, and, like Vulpis said, that the store manager will cave before they even show up.

  • Jackie Fauxe

    This is kind of a hard story to swallow. Why would the customer expect that tactic to work? Did he really think he could call back and cancel the police, especially after several minutes had passed? Why didn’t he expect them sooner? Why would he even take that risk with unpaid tickets–wouldn’t he do his best to avoid the police? Why not just fake the call?

    Most importantly, did he really say “boys in blue”?

    No, but seriously–did he hang up on the police? There’s no way on earth in this non-emergency situation they would have ended the call without getting his name and information. And how dangerous of a driver is he if he still has his license but these random officers know exactly who he is? Did he have a really distinct car or something? Furthermore, is it normal for the police to share that information with just anyone?

    I’m totally willing to buy the story of an irate customer who doesn’t get why a store won’t return their purchase from a different store, and I can even believe they would try to get the police involved if they truly thought they were in the right. Everything else, though, I’m struggling to believe. Did you leave out or change anything that would make this make more sense, OP?

    • SeaCrest

      He gave his name (presumably his real one) when he talked to the operator. Not going to comment on the name and information part of the phone call, because I don’t have an answer. And again presumably, the employees relayed the story to the cops who eventually showed up, and they ran his name and/or plate number in the database to take a look, either because they thought they had time to catch them, or merely out of morbid curiosity.

      • Jackie Fauxe

        My apologies, I should have specified they would have asked for his full name. And, if that’s what he gave them, then my goodness was that a stupid decision.

    • Jay Mockingbird

      Some people are, truly, this stupid. I’ve seen similar happen in my town.

    • Christine Wood

      My dad is an excop. He can give you so many examples of stupid 911 calls that make this one look rational.

      • Jackie Fauxe

        Based on the response time, I don’t *think* the customer was stupid enough to call 911 in this story. We can only hope he had that much sense, at least.

        Like I said, I can absolutely believe an irate customer calling the police for something this stupid, but some of the other details in the story are a little farfetched–though not impossible.

    • Annie Dodd

      I agree. It’s hard to swallow him blurting out his “confession” about traffic violations.

    • Bonzi77

      That seemed weird to me too, but benefit of the doubt, it could be a paraphrasing of what the full conversation was.

      • Jackie Fauxe

        Could be! We’ve definitely seen that happen in other stories where a bit of paraphrasing makes things seem off.

    • heymoe2001

      I agree there are some parts that seem embellished. I can’t imagine the cops “confirmed the guy’s description and car matched that of a driver they’ve had to pull over multiple times for dangerous driving and who owed a fair amount.”
      That was an unnecessary addition to a decent story making the whole thing then sound doubtful.

    • Jami

      People have called the cops because they couldn’t get chicken nuggets. They’ll call for anything.

  • Bethany Lieflijk

    Mary had a little lamb and he was on the lam.

  • termt

    This story actually made me laugh. The big dumb bully gets the police involved despite KNOWING that he has unpaid tickets.

    • Max

      He’s probably used to throwing his weight around and having people cower and then it doesn’t work and runs off with his tail between his legs.

  • Simon Atford

    I assumed at first that he only pretended to call the police to try to and intimidate the employee and manager into giving something free to make him go away. What a prize idiot.

  • Federico Molinari

    Something similar happened to me. A customer threating to call the police because I wouldn’t budge. Strangely when I offered him the store cordless phone he refused it, got out, and made a show of making a long call with his cellphone. I wonder why…

  • Blake Barrett

    I had a hotel guest try to bluff me with cops. She had paid another night for a room, but it was in her friend’s name. Not long after she got kicked out so she demanded a refund. I told her I would not, and that’s an issue between her and her friend.

    She makes a big deal of calling the cops. I even hand her a business card so she can have the address. She goes out to have a smoke. She comes back in and again demands her money back. I suggest we wait until the cops arrive so they can help us handle this.

    Guess who never showed up.

  • Christine Wood

    911 is not a toy, children.

    • SadlySensible

      Tell that to the idiot woman who called the cops because her chicken nuggets weren’t made fast enough.

      • Katrin Schirmer

        that’s a thing? i cant even….

        • Lunam_Kardas

          There was a guy who called 911 because his pet ate his burger. I swear to god.

          • Katrin Schirmer

            that is so ridiculous my brain might have exploded from that level of stupidity.

      • Rebecca Charlton

        pretty sure the operator chewed her out. There’s a distressing number of idiots like that though so I might be thinking of a different one.

  • Mataeus King

    To the customer: “Congratulations, you played yourself.”

  • Ian Rennie

    Amazing. This is the kind of stupid that takes meticulous work.

  • Kitty

    Did you get the guy’s license number? I’m sure a visit by the, uh, ‘boys in blue’ at home will (hopefully) teach him something.

    • Dsru Bin

      He has outstanding tickets, so they (presumably) already know where he lives.

  • emax4

    The stupid is strong with this one…

  • Lev Borovoi

    I vote for giving this story the “extra stupid” tag.

    • Andrew Getting


  • Even if they were refusing a refund you had the right to, it’s not a criminal offence and the police can’t get involved. You can try suing (Everyone sues in America) or you can try getting industry regulators involved.

    But the police are just going to fine you for wasting their time.

    • Cipher

      Yep, we are a sue happy culture…

  • Katherine Alice Thompson


  • FU2

    I keep reading these and wondering is there limit on stupidity.

    • Dsru Bin

      Yes, but it’s only theoretical at this point, and morons aren’t good with theories.

      • Hahn Ackles

        I think there’s a famous quote about that… By some guy named… Onestone? Except in another language. I just can’t remember… 😛

        • Cally

          I really wish I could give you more than one upvote.

        • Dsru Bin

          Well played, sir.

    • Denton Young

      The two most common things in the Universe are hydrogen and stupidity.

  • bermie

    I wish, with people like this, one could simply pull the trigger and put them out of their misery. I DEMAND A REFU- BANG. Dead. Next, please.

  • John L

    If criminals weren’t stupid…they wouldn’t be criminals….

  • Matt Westwood

    In the UK there is a prosecutable crime called “wasting police time” which I have a feeling this guy would be likely to have fallen foul of had he tried that here.

    • Dsru Bin

      He’s already in trouble with them

    • Serabeth

      Yeah, in the U.S. too if you call to dispatch the police or 911 or the fire department, stuff like that, without there being an actual emergency, there are penalties because it’s illegal to do so. I don’t know the specifics of what the penalties are, though. Probably a fine for the first offense.

      • Janet Miles

        I think that if you have good reason to *believe* there is an emergency, and/or that a generic reasonable person would believe there was an emergency, it’s not an offense. However, I’m not a lawyer and I could be wrong.

        I know that I’ve called 911 several times to report plumes of smoke even though I wasn’t close enough to specifically identify a fire, and once for “I drove past the lumber yard and saw what looked like a fire, then went around the block and drove past again and still saw it.”
        I called 911 once when I overheard (from a restaurant parking lot) a screaming argument at the hotel next door, and saw, through the fence, a man shoving a woman around, and we called 911 once from home after hearing a loud argument and what sounded like it might have been a gunshot from the house down the street.

        And a few years ago one of my managers called 911 for a coworker who had become violently ill — she was throwing up repeatedly and was in horrible pain. She had a history of abdominal surgery, so there was a real fear of something like adhesions or something having separated. At the ER, it was determined that she had a really severe stomach virus, but nothing came back on her or the manager about illegal or improper use of the emergency line.

        Or, I suppose, it’s possible that it may still be an offense but they don’t bother pursuing it unless it’s really egregious (as in the original post).

        • Myles Bennett Dyson

          When I was a kid I dialed 911 on a pay phone and didn’t think anything would happen because I didn’t put any money in the phone. I was wrong and the police showed up.

    • In the states, it’s a misdemeanor. Depending on the state and the severity, you can get a fine and/or jail time.

  • Doom Shepherd

    Guy sounds like the type who, if caught by the police, would act a fool with them and end up getting himself shot up. Which would be hilarious.

  • Abigail Hermione Irwin

    What a complete and total loser. What is it with some people that they figure the mere mention of “THE COPS” will cause other people to fall to pieces?

    • Ophelia

      Well, this guy has done some illegal and/or reckless things, according to the cops themselves, bad enough things (or a large quantity of little things) for the cops who arrived to immediately know who this person is based on a description of him and his car. That must mean he has some fear of the police. It’d make sense if someone as egotistical has him thinks everyone else fears the police the same way he does.

      Also, when I was little, I saw a lot of movies and TV shows in which the main characters get in trouble with the cops for things they didn’t do (as well as stories about killers disguised as cops, like Terminator 2), and that became my perception of the police until I was around 9 years old: I thought that the police were supposed to look for people to chase after and shoot, picking targets as they felt like it. If I was in a car, and directly behind us was a police car, I would panic. Of course, as I mentioned, it didn’t take long for me to learn that wasn’t actually the case, and this guy is an adult.

    • Andrew Getting

      It’s a scare tactic, intended to make people irrationally submissive to their demands. Someone like this may for instance assume that since he himself has a long list of problems with police, as do most of his friends, this is common with other people. Therefore, per his “logic,” any attempt to call the police should result in the exact response he himself gave: mindless panic and disbelief.

  • Bonzi77

    I assume that if you call 911 for something like this the police will absolutely show up, but only because they figure the store is dealing with a crazy customer who needs to be removed. It’s like calling the cops on yourself.

    • arglebargle

      News of the Weird reported on this a couple decades ago. The real winner was the guy who tried to rob a gas station and the clerk was behind bullet-proof glass and refused to budge. in frustration, the guy threatened to call the police if the guy didn’t open up. As it happened, he made good on the threat and when the cops showed up, he was hauled off. Almost as fun as the guy who went into a police station and asked “are there any warrants for me?” “Yes, there are. Let me show you to you room.” These and other stories of stupid were in the news. So anyone who says “nobody can be that stupid” clearly has not been on this site very long.

  • RyderOrRiot1

    Ladies & gentlemen,I present to you the dumbest person who ever lived!

    • EJ Nauls-Poland

      Oh no, there are many people on this planet who are severely more stupid than him. He does rank in the bottom 50% though.

    • OccasionalOctopus

      nah, at least he realized the police would take him in for the tickets. the state i live in issues a bench warrant for arrest if you have an unpaid traffic ticket. while waiting to register a new car at the DMV, I watched about 10 people get taken away in handcuffs because they didn’t make the connection between the DMV office, their outstanding warrant for unpaid tickets, and the sheriffs office NEXT DOOR.

      • Andrew Getting

        One time at the DMV I saw, not a word of lie, a man doing a line off the dashboard of his car maybe six parking places from the DMV door. The cop on duty thought I was joking at first.

  • jimfromtx

    This is what happens when you roll a 1 on your Bluff check.

    • Andrew Getting

      And have a 3 wisdom.

  • Lord Circe

    Surprise, surprise. Just because you’re a criminal and afraid of the cops, doesn’t mean everyone is.

  • Ilya

    I so hope this is true because it’s freaking hilarious and satisfying.

  • Ilya

    When I was younger, I actually called the police for a stupid reason. It was because there was a snake in the house. I panicked and dial 911. Thankfully, the operator was nice about it and told me to call Animal Control and gave me the phone number instead of sending someone out to scold and fine me for misusing 911.

  • Carl Collier

    I’m still wondering where these people get told to call the cops on employees.

    Did their pappy sit them down on their knee, poke them on the nose and go

    “Now son, I’m going to tell you something important in life.”
    “What is it, Papa?”
    “When anything goes wrong, even if someone won’t sell you something based on the rules, you call the cops, ok?”
    “Yes papa!”

  • Ms StoneMaven

    if it’s DC, probably a congresscritter….