NewsLocal NewsWPTV Investigates


Boca Raton couple needs help in persuading Amazon to take back unwanted $316 walker

Amazon first cites 'health and safety regulations,' then refunds couple's money  
Ken Rimer Barbara Flashner.png
Posted at 5:36 PM, Aug 11, 2022

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Amazon says most items it ships can be refunded up to 30 days after delivery. But when a Palm Beach County couple wanted their money back for an expensive walker they couldn’t use, Amazon refused. That’s when they reached out to WPTV’s Contact 5 for help.

Ken Rimer and Barbara Flashner, both in their 80s, are widowed and now living together in suburban Boca Raton.

Rimer needed a walker. He suffers from debilitating back pain. However, the one he wanted was out of stock on Amazon.

So, through Flashner’s account, he ordered the Nitro DLX walker manufactured by Drive Medical for $316.

Ken Rimer 08112022
Ken Rimer needed a walker from Amazon.

When Rimer received the walker, he was not pleased with the item and wanted to send it back.

“It’s too heavy,” said Rimer, who later found the original walker from Drive Medical in stock on another website.

But he was left with the heavier Nitro DLX, which weighs five pounds more than the one he uses now, and Rimer says five pounds makes a big difference.

Ken Rimer walker 08112022
Ken Rimer shows Contact 5 the walker he would like to return.

“How am I going to put it in my SUV?” he asked. “I couldn’t even lift it up. I used to be a strong guy, but when you turn 83 and you have back problems, it’s not that easy.”

When the couple asked for a refund, an Amazon customer service representative wrote, “Due to health and safety regulations, we're unable to accept returns of this item…”

When Flashner appealed by email, Amazon told her they could resell the walker on Amazon Marketplace.

“I want it out of my house,” she said with a laugh. “What do I hope? I hope that we can come to an amicable agreement.”

Barbara Flashner 08112022.png
Barbara Flashner appealed the refund refusal and was told by Amazon she could resell the walker on Amazon Marketplace.

WPTV's Contact 5 reached out to Amazon.

A day later, an Amazon representative wrote the couple in an e-mail: “On this occasion, as a one-time exception to our non-returnable items policies, I've requested a refund for $316.90."

“It fits in the closet beautifully," quipped Rimer. "But to have something worth $316 in the closet?”

Amazon isn’t requiring Rimer to return the walker. He says he will donate it to a local charity that helps seniors.

WPTV's Contact 5 reached out to Drive Medical about the Nitro DLX walker and Chief Customer Officer Tony Crisitello responded with this statement:

Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare sells through a network of distributors and providers through the country. The transaction is typically between our distribution partner and the consumer/end user, so any issues/returns are handled between the transacting parties. So, we are rarely involved with the consumer/end user, unless there’s so dissatisfaction. As we discussed, I was happy your email reached me, as our goal is to always act with integrity and we would have resolved the situation and ensured the Flashner’s were satisfied.

When you want to return products bought on Amazon, the website, which specializes in technology and e-commerce, has some tips to help you get that return:

  • It's OK to let Amazon know you’ve changed your mind and no longer need the item.  
  • You can return the item if you’ve found the same item at a retailer at a lower price.  
  • If you accidentally hit, “buy now,” and forgot to delete the item at checkout, you can return the item.
Email the Investigators
Share your news tips and story ideas with WPTV's investigations team.