By Christopher Elliott
Chrissie K. returns her CBD gummies to Green Ape CBD. But the company is taking its time with the refund and wants to charge her a $5 restocking fee. Can it do that?
Q: I have a problem with Green Ape CBD. I returned a package of CBD gummies unopened and inside the packaging material they sent it to me in. They have a sneaky policy of recurring deliveries and I returned them because I can’t eat sugar now.
When I returned the item, a representative said they would issue a refund for the $75 but I would have to cover the shipping. I’ve sent about 20 emails to them asking for my refund and it goes nowhere. I spoke to someone yesterday who said, “Oh yes, we received your order and will process a refund. It will take five to six weeks to get a check and now there will be a $5 restocking fee.
A Green Ape representative said it was unable to process a return to my credit card and it needed to send a check. I asked them to send me an email to confirm they would send me a refund and they said their email department would send me an email today as they didn’t work yesterday.
It all sounds shady. Why wouldn’t they refund it to begin with? Why is it taking two months to get my money back and now five to six weeks more?
I said I would dispute my credit card charges, but they said they would just say “they are resolving it” and point them to their policy, so that would be “pointless.” I just want an email with a confirmation so I know they are going to do what they should have done. Can you help me get a refund from Green Ape? — Chrissie K., Boulder Creek, Calif.
A: Green Ape shouldn’t have monkeyed around with your refund. If it promised to return your money, it should have done so quickly.
I reviewed the paper trail between you and the company. By the way, nice job keeping track of your communication with Green Ape. Most people just call instead of sending email, which means they don’t have any record of their interaction with the company. It looks like you received several form responses to your repeated requests for a refund. That’s frustrating.
Restocking fees are common, but they are not consumer-friendly. Putting an item back in a warehouse is a basic cost of doing business. You shouldn’t have to pay for that.
The online reviews of Green Ape are inconclusive. I found your complaint on a popular consumer site, along with another consumer who was upset that the company continued to send him gummies even though he asked to stop his subscription. I think you have to be careful about agreeing to a subscription of any kind when you’re buying products by mail. I once ordered medication online, and they offered a generous discount if I agreed to let them replenish my supply. They sent me way too much of the product and kept charging me even after I repeatedly asked them to stop.
Generally speaking, businesses want to set up a system like that. They’ll sell more product. It also makes sense to make it difficult to cancel or to send the product back. That may be what was happening to you. The company’s supposed inability to refund back to your credit card was an indication of that.
I contacted Green Ape on your behalf. It did not respond to me directly. But a short while later, I heard back from you.
You reported that they refunded the full amount to your credit card, even though they claimed they couldn’t send the money back to your card and needed to charge you a restocking fee.
Christopher Elliott is the chief advocacy officer for Elliott Advocacy. Email him at email@example.com or get help with any consumer problem by contacting him at http://www.elliott.org/help
© 2021 Christopher Elliott.