In Your Corner team helps man win refund battle after tragedy

Tom and Gretchen Carbaugh were married for 46 years. Those years were filled with many happy memories; the birth of their son, friends, weddings, and a grandchild. The couple even sailed around the world together.

“It was an adventure. We have lots of stories and thousands of photographs,” Tom Carbaugh said. “We were actually talking about going around the world again when she started having some health problems.”

For nine months, Gretchen was battling a spinal infection. Things took a shocking turn in September 2016. The couple had no idea she was fighting more than a spinal infection.

“We went into the hospital because she wasn’t feeling well on a Friday. They ran tests through the weekend and told us the results on Sunday. It was stage 4 lung cancer. They told us there was nothing that could be done. She was terminal. Two days later, she was gone,” Carbaugh said.

While he was grieving the loss of his wife, Tom found unopened boxes and packages from QVC at their home in Franklin County.

“Most of the things she was ordering were clothes and shoes and things she was hoping to use at a later date,” Carbaugh said. “She was just trying to stay in a frame of mind that I am going to recover from this thing and get back to our normal life. It saddens me greatly because all of those hopes and aspirations were dashed suddenly.”

Most of the items were outside QVC’s 30-day return period. Carbaugh called the company and explained the situation.

“The customer support woman on the phone said sorry for your loss, we will take everything back. She told me to put a letter in with all of the returns explaining why I was returning the items, and I thanked her,” Carbaugh said.

Carbaugh wrote the letter as requested, explained his wife had passed away suddenly, but QVC sent the items back. Carbaugh called QVC again.

“I asked if I could talk to someone in management and they said no,” he said. “That’s when it occurred to me that ABC27 sometimes will advocate for consumers and that is when I contacted {Kendra Nichols}.”

In Your Corner Investigative Reporter Kendra Nichols reached out to QVC via email to ask why the company did not honor its first decision, which was to refund Carbaugh his money and let him return the unused items.

“We have looked into the issue with Mr. Carbaugh’s return. Our customer service team is in the process of reaching out to Mr. Carbaugh to apologize for this inconvenience. QVC plans to refund him for the items and, to avoid further inconvenience to Mr. Carbaugh, he is welcome to keep or donate them to an organization of his choice,” corporate communications manager Ilana McCabe said. “We hope this has resolved the issue. Thank you again for reaching out to us about this situation.”

Carbaugh received a $1,500 refund a few weeks later. He plans to donate the unused items to a non-profit in Franklin County.

“It’s an outcome that I am pleased to say is thanks to {Kendra Nichols} and your team at ABC27 because they were just not going to communicate with me,” Carbaugh said. “I want to thank QVC for coming around on this and arriving at a resolution, and I certainly thank ABC27’s owners and management for having such a program of advocacy for consumers and for people in the community.”

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