I purchased a haircut machine in a certain store. When I came home I found that the box had been previously opened as it was now sealed with tape rather than the factory seal. Upon opening the box I discovered that the combs (used to cut different hair lengths) were missing. I went back to the store to ask for a replacement or a refund. A refund was outright denied, and as for a replacement he gladly offered me one. However this time I opened the box (which had also been resealed) right there in the store and the combs were missing here too. After continued arguments got me nowhere I left the store taking the original box with me, and went to another store to buy a new machine. In the second store I asked them if they had the same model as my original purchase. They opened up the (this time factory sealed) box and showed me that it indeed came with all the parts. With their permission I took this new box to the first store and showed him that it did come with all the pieces included. First he claimed that his boxes came without it, after some more arguing he decided he would give me the missing pieces. He cut open the package of a new machine from a different company and gave me the pieces from there. I pointed out to him that right there was proof that he takes parts from sealed packages as he was now doing it and would later claim to an unsuspecting customer that that this one also came without the pieces. At this point he got really angry and threw me out of the store and said if I had a problem I should file a claim with the police. As I had made this purchase with an American credit card I was able to dispute the charge and get a full refund through the credit card company.
Now for the shaila: Do I need to return the machine to the store?
There are 2 reasons why I think I shouldn’t:
1) I asked my credit card company how a dispute works, i.e. does the store have to give back the money that was given to them by the credit card company for the purchase. The answer I got was that if it’s a small purchase like mine which was about $50 they many times won’t even bother going after it. If they do chose to, if the merchant is uncooperative they many times don’t recover the money. (I’m assuming that most likely they didn’t get the money back) I asked him if he could tell what happened in my case and he told me it was impossible to know as a different department deals with that and he has no way of finding out.
2) If I give it back to the store he will most definitely place it right back on the shelf and the next customer might not be so lucky and get his money back like I did.
You have to give the item back to the store.
One reason for this is that you have filed a claim to the credit card company to null the sale, and they will try (at least might try) to get their money back from the seller. Of course, the seller has no obligation to give back their money unless you return the item. Therefore, by not giving back the item you are effectively causing the credit card company a possible loss.
In addition, because you have nullified the sale as a mekach ta’us, it follows that the item does not belong to you, and you have to return it to it’s owner — the store. The fact that the store may or may not be forced to return the payment is immaterial to your personal obligation to return the item after nullifying the sale.
The fact that the seller will try to sell the item to some other unsuspecting custom is not your responsibility, but only the seller’s.