Two days prior to Christams I purchased several items at Canadian Tire at Davenport and Bloor in Toronto. Two of the items were a phone and a space heater.
When I got home I discovered that the phone didn't have a hole for a head set, the caller ID display was hard to read and after talking on the phone for 5 minutes my ear got hot...so I decided to return it. I plugged the space heater into an outlet and a very strong chemical odour emitted from it (apparently all space heaters now use a fire retardant plastic - very toxic)...so I decided to return it too. Five days later, I returned to the Canadian Tire store fully expecting that they would refund my money, as any big box store graciously would have (ie Walmart, Zellers, HBC etc).
The woman at the customer service counter told me the items were now considered "used" and therefore I could only get a credit note. Because I have a wallet full of credit notes (that I never use) I asked if they could simply refund the money to my credit card ($45). They refused. I asked to speak to the manager (Sara P). She refused. I said that I knew that it was possible for them to make an exception and she said that because the item had been taken out of the box, they absolutely would not give me my money back. I asked to speak to someone who had more authority and she said that there was no one else in the store who could help me. I asked to speak to the store owner and was told he was in a meeting until 5 pm and they wouldn't contact him. For 20 minutes I asked the woman to make an exception (knowing full well this could be done) but the more I requested, the more she dug in her heels and refused. She said the the company never makes exceptions to this rule, even though I knew full well that they could.
When I asked to exchange it for a the same model in a different box, she did, but she flagged me in the computer as a "problem" customer and gave me a new receipt that stated "exchange only" so I couldn't try to refund it at a different location.
Regardless, I immediately went to the Dundas and Bay location (after repackaging the phone so it looked as tho I had never taken it out of the box) and the people at the customer service desk were helpful and friendly. I explained what had happened at the other location and even though I now only had a receipt that said "exchange only" and I was now coded in the computer as being a problem customer, they immediately refunded both the space heater and the phone to my credit card, as they should have at the other store.
I totally wasted my time and my energy having to go to two stores, and will NEVER shop at the Davenport location again. For an iconic Canadian company, they should have a customer service policy that rivals other large chain stores. A friend had warned me that Canadian Tire "the worst" policy for refunds, but this took me by surprise.
Canadire Tire, take note. Spend less effort on all of your silly ads (though I do love the whistling) and more effort on customer relations.