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EDIT 5/19/16.  I’ve written many times about Walmart that that kind of success does not happen by accident.  I had them over a barrel here–it is not the same model and that has nothing to do with your return policy–and that was not my intention.  I really wanted to just find out what I had, and if I should keep it.

I had acquired this Walmart credit card mostly because of the promotion and used it only to buy this $125 TV.  Now my balance on the card is a $175 credit and I guess the TV was free.  That is really all I know.  I would like to thank them or explain but I don’t know how to.

RE the TV, initially I had some problems with it for about a month but I am pretty sure that was my cable company.  It works great and I am almost certain that it is a newer, smaller, better model than the one on their website.


Walmart eCommerce
850 Cherry Avenue
San Bruno, CA 94066

This is a revolt against surveys.  Surveys were my chosen profession.  I got out in many respects–never really in theory–just around the time it was changing from people to electronics.  Boy oh boy, it is harder than ever to break through.

eBay has changed the world, or at least the one that includes most Americans.  I don’t really know what it is like where maybe the delivery options aren’t as good or where it would be easier, better, and more fun to walk around and buy something.  For many purchases aside from gas, groceries or entertainment today I find that if I don’t check eBay I may not be getting what I really want and for a really good (actually, the best) price.  And eBay sellers are virtually without exception responsive as hell.  Anyway, the eBay process and protocols, in my opinion, have become the de facto standard for ecommerce.

Walmart has many advantages over just about everyone.  Insert Jerry Seinfeld returning his antelope-button blazer out of spite.  “What difference does it make why I want to return it?”  Man, the consumer is king, and Walmart is the champion in this respect.  Have you ever seen–or participated with–the people lining-up to return just about everything?  No questions asked.  I wonder how many other products fit the category of car baby seat.  You know, we will rent a car, buy a car seat at Walmart and return it after the trip.

In the past couple of months I bought three tablets and two TVs from Walmart.  I have purchased a few refurbished items from in the past and have always been very pleased–they appear brand new and, even though maybe not promised, they included all accessories, etc.  They didn’t come from some refurbisher who knows where, they were like-new items directly from the manufacturer.

So in this case the model number and the TV are slightly different than the refurbished one I bought.  It is a model number that does not exist anywhere, including on the Element website.

“You can return it,” they say.

So I did a little bit of research–it wasn’t easy with the people at Element–and it seems that in most ways this unit is newer and better than the one I thought I bought…  But I can’t really tell, because the model number (ELEFW328C) doesn’t exist.

Walmart has another problem with their website.  The product information is terrible.  It is always bad business when everyone–Walmart and the manufacturers–are blaming each other and no one has the authority or interest to do anything about it.  Anyway, the fail-safe is always “You can return it.”

Back to my research.  I wanted the smallest 32″ LED with specific but relatively common features.  (28 or 29″ tvs are about the same size as 32’s; I believe 1080p is generally not needed on smaller TVs; and in at least the less expensive ones, they are very much the same with interchangeable brand names.)  The Element is 29″ x 17.5″ x 3.75″ deep attached to the wall and I believe that is quite compact.  I think it looks better and performs better than the Sceptre with the NON-metal (Walmart description) plastic bezel.  But the Sceptre is modern and compact (it too is is a different/newer model than that pictured!).  The TV I have is smaller than the one I thought I purchased; it is also 1080p instead of 720p.  Walmart and Element promote “assembled in USA” (Element categorizes it’s products that way) and this one was made in Mexico in June, 2015).

But the model number does not exist anywhere other than in my home.  You can return it they say.  That’s all they say.


I learn by studying the best and Walmart is the best.  (My experience includes a nearby, crowd-free store.)  Like eBay, buying something at, or shipping something to, this local store is almost always a good option.

Part of their formula–I don’t know how Sam Walton could have envisioned this at the outset–is to make things so procedural and mechanical that human thought is not needed.  At least from the outside looking in, every employee looks replaceable.  So the return thing is perfect, and few retailers can claim the clout to do it on such a scale.  They’ve even ratcheted it up a notch:  I noticed on the website that I could send the TV back free, and I am curious to try that.  All the dates are right there too.  They’ve taken a cue from eBay in terms of easy website everything, including shipping.

Although it may look like it at times, eBay, to the best of my knowledge, doesn’t sell anything.  They rely on everyone else to do it.  So they’ve invented this ingenious workaround that, if it isn’t as pictured or described, it is free.  My experience with lots of eBay sellers is almost none of them understand it.  Maybe some sellers don’t read the fine print, and it does change quite a bit.  My experience is many are too quick to grant refunds and freebies.  eBay has put the fear of eBay into them.

So back to Walmart.  One thing that has always annoyed me is, if something is mismarked, they don’t give it away and it takes forever, under sometimes…  Again, take the labor, or at least decision, out of the equation.  So what did they do?  They changed it and promoted it and trained it and, they changed it.  They listened and responded.  Employees do have more authority (very old adage:  empower the front line).

Will Walmart match the eBay way?  Maybe not everything is free, especially if it is a higher priced item and there has to be something about trying to correct it.  But I really don’t want more boxes from Walmart.  Do I want a civil, i.e., $$$ remedy?  It is a little interesting that I signed-up for this Walmart credit card, and there’s a promotional $25, and I don’t even know if Walmart owns the bank or not.  (EDIT:  Synchrony Financial is the former GE Capital Retail; not sure of Walmart’s influence.)

Marketing boredom.

Oh.  So sorry.  The email from San Bruno, CA said please complete a survey on your experience.