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Saturday, November 13, 2010

GOSH: LCBO changes unopened-bottle return policy, reserves deposit fee?

NEWS ITEM: On Sept. 30, the LCBO changed its unopened-bottle return policy so customers will need a receipt to get a refund or to exchange a bottle. (Toronto Star, Nov. 1, 2010)



TRAWNA – (GOSH Wine News Services) - The Liquor Control Board of Ontario, A Clown, er, Crown Corporation of A Have-Not Province, has quietly changed its unopened-bottle return policy so customers will now require a receipt to get a refund or exchange a bottle.


As of Sept. 30, the provincially owned monopoly had secretly decreed that retail customers have only 30 days from the date of purchase to get their money back or turn in unwanted products for something else. This policy was just announced November 1, a full thirty-one days since it became official.


The announcement blindsided many drinking patrons who regularly park themselves by the Corporation's doors.


"I had no idea," said one old-timer. "I thought everybody drank the bottles they bought. We certainly do," he said, gesticulating to his nearby friends who had surrounded a barrel that had a roaring fire.


In the event that a customer has lost or misplaced a receipt, the store manager could issue a gift card worth the same amount of the bottle. But it can then only be applied to Ontario VQA wine.


Said a spokesperson from the Liberal Control of Beverages in Ontario, A Have-Not Province, "We like to help the local wine industry. What's good for them is also good for us."


But it is speculated that those wine drinkers who do not want to consume Ontario VQA wines can barter for a receipt from one of the LCBO old-timers. Apparently, it has been found that LCBO staff never look closely at the receipts.


When asked to comment, Tin Whodat?, Conservative leader in Ontario, A Have-Not Province, expressed some conservatism: "Listen, if I have a bottle, I want to take back to the LCBO. I should be allowed to without a receipt — just like it has always been." [note: this is an actual quote from the Conservative leader]


At the same time, getting lost in the shuffle is the twenty cent credit for the deposit of the returned bottles. When this was pointed out to LCBO staff, the cashier said that it was just a software glitch, and that the refund would be posted to the buyer's account at a later date.


The LCBO is one of the world's largest alcohol retailers. It paid a $1.41 billion "dividend" to the Ontario government last year and an additional $405 million in provincial sales tax and $450 million in federal GST, excise taxes and customs duties.


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