Sometimes a purchase doesn’t work out, and you need to return an item to the store for a refund. Sometimes this is the case with products purchased at Aldi. The discount retailer does accept returns and give refunds, and the process is not difficult. I’ve shopped at Aldi for years but never returned anything until this past spring.
This spring, I purchased a Special Buy rain barrel from one of my local Aldi stores. When I made the purchase, I got some attention and questions from fellow customers and a friendly Aldi security guard (depending on location, some stores have a security officer who hangs out up front near the cash registers) who were curious about how the giant rain barrel worked.
After hauling the thing home, opening it up, pulling out the manual, and looking over the setup instructions, I realized attaching the rain barrel to one of my house’s downspouts was going to be more work than I anticipated and required making some extra purchases at a hardware store. There was nothing wrong with it, but I decided that particular rain barrel at that time was not right for me. I might install a different rain barrel at some point in the future, but not now.
The next day, I tucked the instruction manual and small parts back inside the rain barrel and drove it back to the Aldi store where I purchased it. With my receipt in hand and feeling slightly sheepish, I lugged the giant rain barrel in through the store’s regular entrance, and at the start of the first aisle I walked through an opening in the shelving that led straight to the front of store in the area between the cash registers and the bagging shelves.
The sole cashier who was ringing up customers was not the same employee who rang up my purchase the day before. He looked politely but skeptically at my rain barrel — which is one of Aldi’s more unusual, large, and infrequent Special Buys — and said, “You have a return? Did you buy that here?”
The security guard I had chatted with the day before happened to be standing nearby and spoke up. “Yes, she bought that here,” she said.
The cashier nodded and asked me to wait a minute while he finished ringing up one more customer who had been in line, and then he pushed a few buttons on the register and handed me cash. I originally paid for the product with a credit card, but he said the store gives cash refunds, and I was fine with that.
I got a few questions again from curious customers who wanted to know what the rain barrel was and how it worked. There was enough interest that I’m sure it sold soon after I returned it.
Then I put my cash refund in my wallet, headed out the door, and went on with my day. Easy peasy.
Now that I’ve returned a product to Aldi, I can offer a few observations:
- Aldi seems to prefer giving cash refunds, even if you purchased the product using a credit card or debit card.
- You may feel like you are imposing by approaching a cashier who is busy ringing up a line of customers, but Aldi’s cashiers are used to processing the occasional return. They will know what you want when they see you walk up carrying an item. Aldi saves money by not staffing a separate customer service counter like traditional grocery stores, and that savings gets passed on to you.
- Returning a product to Aldi is a quick experience. A cashier can handle your return in about a minute or less.
- If you live in a large metropolitan area like I do where there are several Aldi stores, and if you are returning a Special Buy item that is less common, you may have an easier experience if you return it to the same store where you purchased it. You are not required to do so, though. Technically, any Aldi store should be able to accept your return and offer a refund, but because not every store gets every Special Buy item that is advertised, if you return your Special Buy product to a different store, the employees may not be familiar with that product. My rain barrel was unique enough that the cashier questioned it even at the store where I originally purchased it.
Overall, the experience was easy and not as embarrassing as I always worried it might be. Aldi employees deal with returns quickly and professionally, and you are soon on your way.
Aldi does offer a “Double Guarantee” to refund your money and replace your product for free if it is defective or otherwise bad, but that only applies to Aldi house brands (the rain barrel was not) and the barrel wasn’t defective in any event. If you have benefited from the double guarantee, we’d love to hear about your experience in the comments.
Have you returned a product to Aldi for a refund? How was your experience? Share your story in the comments.