Babies"R"Us diaper lament: 'I want my money back'

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Q. I have been contacting Babies"R"Us for a year and I've continuously gotten the run around. This angers me because as the mother of two little ones, I have spent thousands of dollars with them and they don't even have the courtesy of settling a dispute that would set them back a mere $19.99. One afternoon while shopping at Babies"R"Us I was not able to find the proper size in the diapers of my choice, so I decided to try their Especially for Baby store brand diapers. On both the diaper boxes and "Internet descriptions the company claims that their
"stretchable grip tabs allow baby to move freely and comfortably while preventing leaks. Great for overnight or everyday use, their super-absorbent cores quickly pull moisture away from baby's skin, keeping baby dry and comfortable. Soft comfort leak guards at the leg openings and a moisture-proof cover enhance their effectiveness."
Those claims couldn't be any further from the truth. The first problem I noticed with the diaper was clearly visible the second I pulled one out. They were as stiff as a piece of cardboard. Things only got worse from there. I put my little guy in one and I kid you not when I say within 20 minutes he was all wet. I changed him and put on a new diaper and within the hour he was wet again. This continued throughout the day and I won't even tell you the amount of times I had to change his clothes and bed sheets and the amount of laundry I had to do. As soon as my husband got home I packed up the box, loaded my car, and was off to Babies"R"Us to return my purchase. I explained the situation to the manager and she told me that since I opened the box I could not return them. How could they make those claims when they are not true and then not even acknowledge an unsatisfied customer? They are willing to take thousands of my hard earned money, yet unwilling to refund me $19.99 for a faulty product that doesn't do what it promises. Please help me.
Denise Ramos

A. Denise, I called Toys"R"Us, the parent company of Babies"R"Us, to find out what, exactly, their return policy is. Jennifer Albano, a company spokesperson, told me what the manager told you last year – they simply don't allow the return of open boxes.

She was, however, able to look up your account, and she found a record of your call in July of 2009. Because the box was open, and you didn't have a receipt, you were denied a refund. But because of our involvement, the company has decided to issue you a store credit to buy different diapers for your son.

So that's good news, but keep in mind, they made an exception in this particular case. This is not standard procedure – in fact, I did a little research and many stores won't accept open diaper boxes for a refund. My advice to you is to check the online reviews before a new purchase next time. That way, you're not taking such a risk. (For the record, Albano says that the company has received positive feedback on their private label diapers.)

Finally, everyone should make sure they're familiar with a store's return policy before making a purchase. These kinds of things vary so widely from store to store, but most list full details on their websites, or, if you're buying in person, you can ask the cashier or manager for an explanation.
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