Third party shopping causes confusion for customers

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — As the popularity of online shopping continues to skyrocket, and ‘Cyber Monday’ numbers break record sale totals, merchants want to make it as easy as possible for consumers to shop.

But that ease in shopping comes with difficulties when an issue arises.

Betty Cook wanted to order a special doll for her granddaughter. So when she saw it on the Walmart website, she ordered the product. A few days later, she noticed the same doll was available from Amazon at about $40 cheaper. So she ordered it there too.

As soon as the doll arrived from the Walmart order, she took it to return it at the Washington Court House Walmart. There, they would not accept the doll.

After several phone calls, Betty discovered why they would not accept the returned product: “A nice man told me that it was a third party doll and that’s why Walmart at home would not take it back.”

Betty says she studied all of her paperwork and could not find any information about a third party.

“I look for shipping and the price and make sure it was to the MasterCard, whatever my card is. So, no, there’s nothing on this paperwork that says that,” she said.

Walmart is not alone: A number of merchants use third-party vendors. It’s just another way to sell products online.

Ohio State clinical professor, Deborah Mitchell, said it’s part of the changing shopper landscape.

“There’s also a real incentive for Walmart or whoever has the site to have these third-party sellers there because it’s another reason for people to come,” she said. “And, of course, once they get you at that site, they hope you’ll shop for more things and not just that one item.”

Mitchell went on to say the responsibility is on the consumer to understand where the product is coming from. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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