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Don't get ripped off on returns

There are cashiers . . . and then there are returns cashiers. 

Jeremy Striz is a store manager at The Home Depot.

"Returns cashiers go through a rigorous training process to ensure that they fully understand the expectations set upon them as a Home Depot associate on our behalf, but also from customer service standpoint, too," he says.

He's seen it all -- even people trying to put used toilets back into packaging to get refunds. 

"There have been instances where we have had packages resealed, anything from a toilet to a light fixture," he recalls. 

So returns clerks have to be careful, checking every item before placing it back on the shelf. 

"If we are not careful, it can impact us tremendously," says Striz. "We are a for-profit business, so it's critical for us [to] process returns properly." 

And that protects customers, too.

If workers slack off, you may be paying the price. 

Michaela Plaza says it's happened to her. She shops often for her new home and baby. She bought a fan from a hardware store and the blade was broken.

She returned it without any hassle, but what happened next left her speechless. 

"They actually put it right back on the shelf, which I was really surprised they would want to resell that," she says. 

Keith Ferrell is the president at AVAC of Myrtle Beach. Their return policy is strict: To keep customers and the store safe. 

They have a seven-day policy on most electronics, but you can't return computers. 

Ferrell says that's too risky. 

He says some chain stores are so lenient that customers and manufacturers end up in bad situations. 

"They will buy products and take advantage of the exchange policy and rob the components out of it, hard drives and memory boards and things of that nature," he says. 

The best thing to do to protect yourself is make sure you understand the return policy before you leave the store. And be cautious of opened boxes or anything that looks like it's been taped back together.

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