Walmart Is Rolling Out a Major Change to the Way You Shop — and People Are Not Happy

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The entrance to the Walmart department store.
Credit: Alexanderstock23 / Shutterstock

Amazon has certainly capitalized on customer loyalty with their Prime membership over the years, with perks like free and fast shipping and discounted prices. It only makes sense that a big brick-and-mortar competitor like Walmart would do the same. Walmart+ is a membership program that provides shoppers with benefits including free delivery, shipping, and returns, as well fuel savings and cash back on travel expenses. While these perks are certainly beneficial for Walmart regulars, not everyone can afford the $98 fee a year or even the $12.95 a month, and shipping prices can be hefty for anyone shopping outside of their membership. Instead, shoppers turn to other marketplace sellers to get their groceries delivered to them, which can become a logistical nightmare when it comes to organizing item returns. So Walmart decided to do something about it.

Moving forward, any Walmart items that are purchased from third-party sellers outside of their physical stores or online offerings (such as their website or app) will have to pay a hefty new price for shipping and returns. In their March 2024 Seller Digest, Walmart states this change is due to “changing market conditions.”

Walmart offers a generous return policy at their stores, allowing for a 90-day return for unopened goods. However, returns can get pricey for retailers. The National Retail Foundation reported retailers lose over $400 billion in sales in a year, and can cost the retailer almost 66 percent of the item’s original price to return to the store.

Thankfully, Walmart offered a solution for customers of third-party retailers so they can avoid the hefty costs, as well as the logistical headache from Walmart itself. Labeled the Keep It Rule, shoppers have the option to keep the items while still receiving a refund when they initiate returns online or in Walmart stores.

This major change is announced months after another Walmart return policy where customers are required to provide a receipt of purchase when returning an item. Without a receipt, customers still have the option for a full refund in the form of store credit. However, Walmart may have the ability to pull up a receipt that is lost by looking it up with the credit card used for purchase.