Shopping Discussion

Once you return a defective item, where does it go?

  • Last Updated:
  • May 30th, 2008 4:02 pm
Jr. Member
Jun 30, 2007
184 posts
Most retailers such as Staples, Best Buy, FS have an area in the back (Receiving) where they keep RTV (return to vendor) items. Essentially, all defective items are returned back to the vendor.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Mar 29, 2006
1786 posts
The issue at hand is "defective items", not including "opened and returned" items. These just sit somewhere on premises until they are sent back to the vendor. If the item is brought back under a replacement plan claim (i.e. ESP) then the item is destroyed.

Opened and returned items are formatted/recovered if necessary, repacked and placed back for sale. Sometimes a discount applies, but it shouldn't be expected by anyone.
Aug 17, 2005
4 posts
I bought a $200 laser printer at Staples a couple of months ago. When I opened it, I found some parts where missing, and the toner cartridge/drum was already installed.

I returned it, no apologies from Staples, but I did get another one. The guy I dealt with didn't bother verifying that it was used, he said he could tell it was used because there was two layers of packing tape on the box. So now I try and remember to check for this when I buy something expensive.

Also, I bought a bathroom cabinet/vanity a few months ago. It had a very minor nick in it, I didn't notice it but the guy in the warehouse where I picked it up pointed it out to me. It was a fancy vanity, almost $400 - I just expected them to replace the glass door. Instead the manufacturer shipped them a whole new unit. All the store wanted back was the glass door. I assume they trashed the door (and took pictures?) to prove that the item was returned. What a waste, I ended up throwing the original cabinet out.
Deal Expert
Mar 23, 2004
27587 posts
I'm surprised that no one mentioned the liquidators. :confused:
People mentioned RTV, refurbished goods, back on shelf, etc., but no one mentioned the liquidators? Perhaps it's the vendors that resell this stuff to the liquidators? But that wouldn't make sense considering the variety of goods they get and the nature they get it in.

There's tons of these sellers on eBay selling back stuff that was returned from major electronics retailers like Best Lie, FS, etc...

A lot of them are located in Toronto, in the Concord area. A buddy of mine once looked into opening one of these businesses and he found out these returns are sold by the pallet, often in truckloads, to the liquidators that test and resell them, mainly on eBay.

Many of the items they sell even have store tape/stickers on them from Best Lie, etc. This stuff certainly isn't stolen (there are a lot of businesses selling this stuff back both in Canada and the US) and a lot of it works perfectly (I've bought several items from various sellers), so it has to be the returns that they are getting sold.

You can snag all kinds of "accessories" from liquidators for real cheap too. Speaker stands for like $10, centre channel shelfs (bought two of these and netiher cost over $8 even with the pickup fee, which is usually $5-$6), video game controllers, etc... These things retail for $50-$100 in FS but you get them as the returns/damaged packaging items from places like this, and it's dirt cheap. Most things I've bought are either brand new or darn close to it. They also sell all kinds of other stuff but how cheap you get them depends on how many people bid on it. Since most of it is sold as-is though, it's best to stick to the "accessory" type products.