Letter to Toys R Us

This is a draft letter from a group of us parents disgusted by the poor treatment we’ve received at the local store… I’m not really a letter-writer, so am looking for feedback!


Toys “R” Us, Inc. Headquarters
One Geoffrey Way
Wayne, NJ 07470-2030

Store Manager, Toys R Us Charlottesville, #8338
590 Branchlands Boulevard
Charlottesville, VA 22901

October 8, 2007

Dear Sir/Madame:

This is a letter of complaint about your Charlottesville, Virginia store.

Recently a number of parents in the Charlottesville area discovered, through conversation on our various online networks (including over 500 area families), that enough of us have had such truly awful experiences at this store to point to a systemic problem with the store itself; our stories are not just random, isolated incidents. Convinced of the ongoing customer service problems at this store and frustrated because we would like to continue to patronize it, we decided to send this letter in hopes of having the situation amended for the better.

Please read the examples of poor customer service included on the following pages for specifics pointing to the repeated bad treatment many of us have received from management and staff.

We can only conclude that the company cares little for its customers, children and adults alike. Staff members lack the politeness and respect central to common courtesy. There are frequently no staff members to check out or assist customers in a timely fashion. Getting a refund or product information often becomes a nightmare. Consideration for the customer’s needs is, overall, poor.

The problem is that you do have competition. Many of us are taking our business elsewhere — shopping at locally owned toy stores, visiting big box stores, or going online – finding the kind of customer service relationships we desire and deserve. But our hope is that your company will actively address the issues we have outlined here so that we can visit your store in the confidence that we will receive consideration and respect.

Thank you for your time and consideration of our complaint. Our community looks forward to hearing from you. We will be sharing your response with the larger group when it arrives.


Amy S. Marshall, co-moderator of the Parents Network of Charlottesville and Charlottesville Working Moms

2323 A Crestmont Avenue

Charlottesville, VA 22903


Gisela and Mark Swift, gisela@picantecreative.com

Cecily Reynolds, cecilydetlg@yahoo.com

Ghizlaine Taft, gmtafteam@yahoo.com

Kristen Nelson, krvv88@hotmail.com

Melanie Bowyer, melihol@yahoo.com

We purchased a safety gate a couple of months ago. A couple of weeks after we installed it, apparently a piece broke off and my daughter opened the gate! It was at the top of the stairs and could’ve been a bad accident. Luckily I was right behind her and grabbed her before she could move further. We immediately ordered another one online we had at the bottom of the stairs from another store because so far was working great and this one from Toys R Us was obviously not safe. It took us a while to take it back to TRU and we didn’t have a receipt. SO you can guess the rest.

The manager would not take it back, even though it was a faulty product that could’ve hurt our daughter. The manager could care less, was very adamant about the no receipt, no return policy. Didn’t even offer to call the manufacturer or anything. Back in Colorado (we just moved here 2 months ago) we NEVER had a problem with Babies R Us or
Toys R Us. They took things without receipt all the time and gave us credit.

Please sign both my husband and my name as outraged parents.
Thanks for doing this,
Gisela Swift
Mark Swift

My son got a present for his birthday that he didn’t want, & didn’t want to hurt the person’s feelings who gave it to him, so he took it back to Toys’rUs (from where it was purchased) to exchange it. Should’ve been an easy thing, right? The guy at the desk very rudely proclaimed that the policy had changed, & w/out a receipt they could do nothing. Now, the person who gave it to him should’ve given him a give receipt, but that’s neither here nor there. The sales guy was not only initially rude to my son (he’s 9, & I was trying to get him to handle this on his own w/ me at his side, thought this was going to be a great confidence-building teaching moment), but refused to even acknowledge that it was my son who initiated the conversation in the first place. He wouldn’t even look at him! I said to the sales guy, that my son was handling this, would he mind explaining it to him, since it was his present & he’s the one exchanging it. The guy (still not even acknowledging his existence) looks at me & says “that’s your job, you tell him. I’m not gonna.” My head nearly spun around like the exorcist’s. Needless to say, no exchange occurred, my son is still stuck w/a present he doesn’t want, & I called out the manager. Eventually this guy was sent home, but the policy remains the same. I called the corporate office, & they have a special portion on the system dedicated to complaints about the policy. What does that tell you? (Shop at Target! They’ll exchange w/out a receipt!) Moms & dads, here’s my warning to you: if you must purchase a gift from Toys’rUs, get a gift receipt. I for one have no need to ever cross the threshold of that store again as I will not go to a “children’s” store which is clearly not child friendly! In fact, I think it would serve them right if we parents boycotted them all together!

Cecily Reynolds, cecilydetlg@yahoo.com

Back in April my little boy who turned 3 received 2 Imaginarium train sets which we certainly didn’t need. I had the same experience there, no receipt nor gift receipt…sales clerk as rude as could be an the manager vague and barely interested in explaining their “nonsense” policy. I kept the other set because I own a preschool and thought we could eventually use it here but REFUSE to buy anymore toys there. Target, Walmart carry just as many toys…..
Ghizlaine Taft, gmtafteam@yahoo.com

I’d be happy to sign a petition to ban toys-r-us though, as their customer
service sounds like a nightmare and its only a matter of time for it to
happen to more of us. I do feel like the corporate upper management of the
company would like to hear about this.
Kristen Nelson,krvv88@hotmail.com

I’m with you on letter writing. I loath going in Toysrus.
Melanie Bowyer melihol@yahoo.com


31 Responses to Letter to Toys R Us

  1. Heather Bayres says:

    I have tried many times to return an item that was a present and the policy of toys r us would not accept the return without a receipt, not everyone provides gift receipts.

  2. Jamie Yates says:

    I also think the no-receipt, no-return policy is ridiculous. If the item is still wrapped in its original packaging, there’s no reason they should not take it back. I’ve always been a TRU shopper, but I’ve switched to Target now- their policy at least allows for 2 no-receipt returns per year.

  3. patience says:

    Toys’r us is a nightmare–totally unhelpful staff, a confusing layout and many of their products are junk. I refuse to shop there.

  4. Debbie Ashby says:

    Countless of times (and I’m NOT kidding!!), I have asked the sales clerk to print out a gift receipt (BEFORE I place my items on the counter!!) and each time the clerk forgets and we have to go through the whole process of returning the item, crediting my credit card, etc…Do you train your employees to forget this process so that customers will just say forget about it and not hassel with the time it takes and the inconvience and as a result forgo the gift reciept???

  5. ChrEliz says:

    Please add my name to the letter, too. Thanks! ~Christine Gresser

  6. Harry Landers says:

    I’m not much of a shopper and even less of a returner, so I don’t know much about this sort of thing, but in reading all of the complaints, I don’t really get it. Most of the problems seem to center around people wanting to return items to Toys R us withou receipts. Many of those items seem to be gifts. So, my question is, if there’s no receipt, how would the store know that the items were actually bought at Toys R Us? Couldn’t they have just as easily been bought from some other store? And, that being the case, why would anybody expect Toys R Us to give a refund on an item that they may never have even sold in the first place? I wouldn’t think about returning an item to a store without some evidence that the item was actually purchased at that store.

  7. Julie says:

    I have had many rude experiences there as well. The staff know very little. My daughter got her first big bike there, and no one could help us size her. We also got a pool for a birthday gift and it wouldn’t blow up, but no reciept ment no return. We have a pool that will not blow up. Rediculous!
    I do not shop there anymore, online is better and must more polite.
    Julie Carroll

  8. Liz Signorelli Moore says:

    I am outraged by these stories and I will avoid TRU as a result until things change.

  9. Sharon Stone says:

    I had the same experience as many here – we received a cheap set of walkie-talkies for my son’s birthda last December. Right out of the package, they didn’t work. So, I took them back and was informed that they couldn’t accept them without a gift receipt. I was faced with the choice of embarrassing the mom who gave them to my son, or having to throw away the faulty and useless walkie-talkie that Toys-R-Us would not take back. Guess which one I chose? It went in the trash. I have definitely shopped there less,knowing that they are going to be such a pain about returns. The guy at the counter wasn’t exactly rude, but he acted like I was trying to pull one over on them, when really I just wanted them to take back a non-working, brand-new product.

  10. Allison Teweles says:

    I am not surprised by the comments above. I’ve had similar experiences with the no receipt/no return policy. What I find even harder to deal with is the lack of any customer service at the Charlottesville store. I have yet to encounter a salesperson who knows the answer to my question, makes any effort to find the answer, has any manners or basic courtesy, or seems to have any interest in my shopping experience. Like others, I try hard to shop elsewhere before having to go to Toys R Us- online, Target, local stores will get my business first.

    I firmly believe that a friendly, helpful salesperson can make the best of a situation, even a bad experience with an irritating company policy, which often brings me back to shop again. Toys R Us could stand to do some intensive customer service training for their Charlottesville employees and perhaps reevaluate their hiring criteria.

    Allison Teweles

  11. Sarah Polk says:

    I second (or third, or fourth!!) the issue with TRU staff lacking in ANY knowledge of the store in which they work. I’ve been to TRU stores in other cities and have had pleasant experiences. EVERY time I go into the Charlottesville store looking for something in particular, I can’t find it. And after asking three different employees, they can’t find it either, and rarely even know what I’m talking about. They are rude, indifferent, and impatient with my children (which is unacceptable) and aren’t much better with the adults. The layout (new and old) is horrible and I doesn’t seem to follow any pattern, and as many other parents have stated, it’s easier to keep an unusable gift rather than try to return it (with or without a receipt). More often than not, I don’t take my children there because of the rude employee attitudes and the fact that it takes at least 20 minutes to get through the check-out line. Even when there are numerous employees standing around doing nothing. I have made my last visit to TRU and will now shop only at local toy stores and Target.
    Hope they get it together,

  12. Kristine says:

    Hi – please add me as a signer – Kristine Bourque, kristine4@gmail.com

    I loathe the C’ville TRU and while I haven’t had as horrible experiences as described here, I have consistently been appalled by their lack of customer service. Thanks for writing this!


  13. Kristen Sellers Pate says:

    I am an enthusiastic signer of this letter. In my case I had purchased several “Babies R Us” items in Richmond while I was expecting which ended up being duplicates after my shower. While I had receipts, the store in Charlottesville would not take back any of the baby items that they did not specifically carry in their store. This blatantly customer unfriendly policy, combined with a dingy, poorly stocked, unhelpfully staffed store makes shopping online a no-brainer. I see that a Babies-R-Us is going into the C’ville store, but without a 180 degree change in their customer service attitude, I don’t hold out much hope that the situation will approve.
    Kristen Pate

  14. Allyson Shames says:

    Two stories you can add:

    1) When my third child began crawling, I called Toys R Us in Charlottesville to ask if they had a specific metal baby gate. They assured me they did. So I went in, with all three children (5 and under, and all parents know what it’s like taking young kids in a toy store), and lo and behold, they didn’t just not have that gate, they didn’t have ANY gates other than plastic. We arrived within 30 minutes of my phone call, after the employee had told me they had “plenty” of extra-wide metal baby gates — obviously he never bothered to check.

    2) My brother sent my son a Lego kit for his sixth birthday that we already owned, purchased from Toys R Us online. I took it in, with kids again, to return it, and was told that if I returned an online purchase (and I had the receipt it came with), my brother would get credited back the purchase cost, even though they had the same item in the store. They said that the online gift receipt was useless in the stores. I argued that it’s their company-issued gift receipt, but the employee said that since it had no price, they didn’t know how much it was worth. So like many others, I was faced with the option of hurting my brother’s feelings after he’d worked hard to buy what he felt was a really special gift, or keeping it and having to explain the whole situation to a 6 year old. Ridiculous! And the employee just tapped his pen on the cash register, nonverbally telling us to hurry up, already.

  15. Caroline Chang says:

    After learning about the no return/exchange policy the hard way (my product was defective, I wanted an even exchange), I made a point not to shop at TRU. Besides, the C-ville store is just ugly!
    However, I had to return recently to purchase outdoor baby swing (you know, the red and yellow plastic one) and it was nowhere in sight. There was a young man who spent a half an hour looking for one, and went out of his way to find me in the store more than once to update me on the situation. He couldnt find any in the “back” and implied that things were a mess back there, he asked another employee who tipped him off to where they might be, and finally returned with one. I remember being shocked that someone there was actually trying to help. Regardless, such a common item should have been on the shelf!

  16. Jane Cooney says:

    I went to TRU looking for some baby items to find the store is being remodeled to include a Babies R Us in it. That sounds like a great change for the better. But when I asked about it, I was told it would be several months before they have any baby items (beyond diapers, wipes and formula). I was not told, however that they have a promotion code to use if I ordered my baby items online that would give free shipping. This is a great customer service idea during this transition time, but apparently it is being kept secret. I found out about it from another parent only after I had placed two orders with TRU online with full shipping costs.

    I am shopping at Target now.

  17. We stopped shopping there years ago.

  18. Maiaoming says:

    THANK YOU to everyone who posted a comment or wrote me an e-mail about this letter – I got some helpful notes from one reader about targeting the letter directly to the head of the company – it has been mailed – I will let everyone know via this blog when (if!) I get any type of response.

    Thanks again!

  19. Patricia Hunt says:

    I dont understand the problem with toys r us I love the charlottesville store the staff is great their and they are always very helpful when i go shopping it’s a lot better then going to wal-mart and having them say “this isn’t my deparment” when you ask for help. Last year at christmas I was looking for a hot toy and they had sold out so one of their employees held one for me until i drove over to get it. It’s really a great place to shop for the parents and kids.

  20. Lisa says:

    Wow – I have shopped at the Charlottesville Toys R Us for over eight years and have zero complaints.

    I actually even enjoy the multiple redesign/redecorating that goes on fairly regularly. How many of use could actually rearrange the stuff in our homes/offices and just totally blow people away by thinking they are in a completely new place?

  21. Arlene says:

    Add me to the list – We live in Sterling, VA and still have 4 gifts from Christmas that will probably end up at Goodwill or the like, they of no use to our children and since we didn’t get gift receipts, they just sit in the garage.

    TRU can at least relax the “no receipt, no return” rule for the holiday season, like other retailers who have that policy usually do. This policy makes no sense at all.

  22. anthony says:

    i liked their old policy. I use to be able to take a several toys off the shelf and return them without a problem and get a gift card for that amount…

    that is why they have this policy! I use to not like their policy but then when I thought about it it makes sense. Someone could easily steal toys (from their store or another retailer) and return them under their old policy. Toys R Us looses money and then we suffer because they have to raise their prices. Even if I know for sure my friend bought my kid a toy we already have from toys r us without giving the gift receipt, I’l donate it or re-gift it. Times are changing and now we all know to get a gift receipt.

    Don’t add me to the list. I’m going to Toys “R” Us!

  23. the fryes says:

    Try returning something with the receipt. Same deal, no returns. I bought a game for Christmas that was not played with still in the original wrappings. Took it to the store yesterday with the receipt to exchange for a more expensive game and they would not exchange it. With the receipt! TRU in Knoxville on Kingston Pike is rude and unhelpful.

  24. Maggie says:

    The reason why the store can’t process a return without a receipt, even WITH the product in its original packaging is because it is STILL NOT PROOF OF PURCHASE. R US sells many products that other stores sell, therefore if you purchase something elsewhere or receive a gift purchased elsewhere and you return it to R Us then R us is buying something from you for free. GET IT PEOPLE? I just want to say that people are so ungrateful these days. Your kid got a gift he didn’t like? Whatever happened to “its the thought that counts”. Your child should be lucky he even got a gift. *shakes head*. The return policies are clearly printed on every receipt. Stop trying to get something for nothing.


  26. erin says:

    it seems that all the complaints here are mostly regarding the return policy. what every consumer should understand about every store is that such a strict return policy ends up saving the customer money as the company does not have to incur the cost of crediting money for products they do not sell. join the rest of the world and save your receipts for a few months in an envelope or filing cabinet. just be a responsible and informed consumer.

  27. L says:

    To Arlene, TRU does relax the policy around Christmas, you have 2 weeks of amnesty to return a toy, even without receipt. To the rest of you, how hard is it to keep a receipt? And don’t even get me started on the “embarrassment” thing, get over it. We’re all adults here, you do what’s best for your kid even if that includes “embarrassing” someone. Exaggerate much?

  28. Karen Little says:

    I went to Babies R Us in Raleigh, NC on May 18, 2009 to exchange several clothing items that my daughter received at her baby shower. All of these clothes were purchased at Babies R Us. We did not have receipts but the price tag was still on the clothing. I noticed as the items were being rung up they were a lot less than what was on the ticket. I thought wow, all these must be on sale. I was not wanting money back I was having it put on a gift card because I planned on exchanging some for smaller sizes or getting other things. I was only able to find one of the little dresses in a smaller size so I picked it up and to my surprise they gave me a 17.99 credit for the dress and then was chrging me 27.99 for the exact same dress. I said “wait at minute, you only gave me a credit of 17.99 for this dress and they said that without a receipt they were giving me the lowest price that dress had been sold for. I said that it still had the tags on it and I was exchanging it for a smaller size. They would not exchange the exact dress without charging me 10.00 more than what they gave the credit for. I am very very disappointed in Babies R us. They are ripping off their cinsumers. I will be telling All my family members and friends of this. This was just unacceptable customer service.

  29. PA Mom says:

    Things haven’t changed. Today I tried to return a highchair that was bought for me from my BRU registry. I was told that it was over 90 days and they could not prove I’d received the highchair from BRU. I felt like they were calling me a liar. We’ve spent thousands of dollars at BRU for our 2 boys. Even after speaking to the manager and telling her how displeased I was, she simply told me that she was sorry I felt bad about my BRU experience. There was no attempt to try to keep me as a customer. My husband and I are from large families. My sons have 16 cousins under age 8. I will be telling all my relatives about the non-existent customer service at BRU and I will urge everyone to boycott BRU, TRU and Kiddie Kandids. We’ll be shopping elsewhere from now on.

  30. Cory Elizabeth Crane says:

    My husband and I have decided to NOT shop at Toy’s R US for their ridiculous no return policy without a receipt. Our son had his first birthday and got a duplicate gift…the two woman at the the customer service desk who are just doing their job- personalities not very good at CUSTOMER SERVICE I might add, at any rate they are just puppets and recited the same bad business slime that they do to everyone else…”no receipt too bad for you blah blah blah.” Toys R US shame on you and your ridiculous policy- it’s embarassing to have to call someone and tell them you are returning their gift…no one wants to do that. We will be buying our son’s toy’s and his friend’s gifts somewhere else…AND I will be warning my friends and family of this horrible business practice. Target here we come :).

  31. Ann says:

    Here’s something interesting and totally appalling about Babies R Us that you may not realize. I have always been annoyed by the robotic questions that the cashiers at Babies R Us go through at the checkout. They try to push their credit card applications on me, try to sell me batteries when I’m buying diapers, and generally just harass me with stupid offers and questions. Even if you get upset with the cashier for hassling you with these things, they just keep right on going. Well, do you know why that is? I was complaining about this to a friend of mine who works at Babies R Us, and found out that this is a corporate initiative. In fact, is is SUCH a strong corporate iniative that the the cashiers are treated in a very heavy-handed manner about making sure they ask all the questions, and they actually fire cashiers who not ask these questions to every single customer. In fact… and here’s the REALLY offensive part… they will put a cashier on probation and then fire him or her if they cannot get enough customers to agree to sign up for their credit card offers. Can you believe that?!? In an economy where people are struggling, they have the audacity to force us to sign up for more debt, and to fire their employees if they are not able to convince us to sign up for more debt. Now not only am I annoyed with these questions that CLEARLY show Babies R Us is more concerned with their bottom line, even at the customer’s economic expense, but I’m also totally offended. I will never shop at a Babies R Us again. Since I do not intend to sign up for credit cards I don’t need, nor am I going to have batteries or other products forced down my throat, each time I say no could be the time that some poor cashier gets fired because his or her numbers on selling these things is not high enough. So, by not shopping at Babies R Us, not only am I avoiding their heavy-handed offers that prove they don’t care about me as a customer, but I’m also avoiding being the customer thats helps contribute to a firing of a cashier, simply because they can’t get me as a customer to buy into their things that Babies R Us has no business trying to force onto me in the first place. I suspect that when a company gets this desperate to hawk credit, it probably means they have serious financial problems as a business. Either that, or they are just completely out of touch with how to treat their customers.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: