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ConsumerWatch: Walmart Accused Of Shortchanging Gift Receipts

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Walmart Worker (2007)

A Walmart employee pushes a line of shopping carts toward the entrance of a Walmart store, in Walpole, Mass., in this 2007 file photo. (AP)

WASHINGTON (CBS 5) — Consumers who return gifts usually need a gift receipt to get a full refund. But some Walmart shoppers say they are only getting a fraction of the purchase price despite having the receipt.

Senator Barbara Boxer is calling for a federal investigation. “I can’t be judge and jury, but I can alert the FTC,” she said.

In a CBS hidden camera investigation, a few items were purchased then returned once they went on sale. But according to Walmart spokesperson Lorenzo Lopez, there may be some confusion on how to process gift receipts. “It’s our expectation to refund the original purchase price when returning an item with a gift receipt,” he said.

Consumer Attorney Bill Kershaw said he suspects Walmart has made millions of dollars short changing customer with gift receipts. “It’s outright fraud,” he said. His office is currently exploring a class action lawsuit. Meanwhile, legislators are considering a new bill.

Walmart told CBS the confusion is due to a button cashiers are supposed to press on the register when processing gift receipts. Last week, the retailer issued a memo to managers, reiterating that a gift receipt entitles customers to the full purchase price.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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