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He Made $1.3 Million By Returning Merchandise To Walmart, And Now He Might Be Headed To Jail

Yuma County Detention Center/Cornwall Seaway News

As a mother-of-three, I'm a savvy shopper who's always looking for the next great deal.

That's why Walmart is one of my favorite superstores to get everything from A to Z. Thousands of other consumers agree with me too, as a whopping $36,750,000 is typically spent at the mega retail chain every hour.

This includes 23-year-old Thomas Frudaker, who's been to more than 1,000 Walmart stores in the past 18 months. Unfortunately his trips to the stores aren't for the same wholesome reasons as ours.

A Walmart store
iStock.com/shaunl

Frudaker was revealed to have defrauded the retail giant out of a staggering $1.3 million after a store employee in Arizona noticed him trying to return a computer.

According to authorities, the young man is believed to have removed parts of the computer before bringing back the device.

The Yuma Police Department said Frudaker had made similar fraudulent returns at more than 1,000 Walmart stores across the nation and has been charged with with two counts of fraudulent schemes, two counts of theft, and two counts of criminal damage.

"We have strengthened internal processes to identify and help prevent this type of criminal conduct," the company said in a statement. "We appreciate the quick actions of our associate and swift response from the Yuma Police Department, which provided the break to make an arrest."

The mugshots
Yuma County Detention Center

This isn't the first time stories revolving around return policies have been in the news.

Back in February, outdoor retailer L.L. Bean had revoked its 100% satisfaction guaranteed return policy after 106 years. Instead of customers having an unlimited amount of time to return their products regardless of their wear, they must have the receipt and be within one year of the purchase date to get their refund.

According to company spokeswoman Carolyn Bean, the retail giant has been taken advantage of and has lost more than $250 million since 2013 due to their unlimited return policy.

"The numbers are staggering," CEO Steve Smith told The Associated Press. "It's not sustainable from a business perspective. It's not reasonable. And it's not fair to our customers."

Outside L.L. Bean Inc.
Wired

Amazon is another company that's cracking down on frequent returns.

Although they've been known for their flexible return policy, the retail giant has decided to ban customers if they have made too many "excessive returns."

While Amazon hasn't revealed what the number of returns is to get kicked out of the popular online retailer, its terms and conditions states the company has the right to terminate users' accounts at their own discretion.

"We want everyone to be able to use Amazon, but there are rare occasions where someone abuses our service over an extended period of time," an Amazon representative said.

"We never take these decisions lightly, but with over 300 million customers around the world, we take action when appropriate to protect the experience for all our customers," the representative continued. "If a customer believes we've made an error, we encourage them to contact us directly so we can review their account and take appropriate action."

For more stories on America's favorite superstore, check out these interesting reads:

[H/T: Business Insider, CNET]

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Maya has been working at Shared for a year. She just begrudgingly spent $200 on a gym membership. Contact her at maya@shared.com