Sales receipts have ink that fades, making returns harder - WNCN: News, Weather

Sales receipts have ink that fades, making returns harder

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Jo Ann Eady Jo Ann Eady

If you save paper sales receipts in case you need to make a return, you might want to come up with a plan B.

That receipt could end up blank. The ink - and your proof of purchase - could disappear.

It happened to Jo Ann Eady of Sulphur Springs. She was stunned when K-Mart called to say she hadn't paid last month's credit card bill. After all, she paid with cash and had a receipt to prove it. She thought it would be cleared up quickly, but when she pulled out the receipt, she found more bad news.

"It was completely blank," Eady said. "There was nothing there."

The words -- and numbers -- had completely faded. So Eady went back to K-Mart with her faded receipt, but no one could help.

"There was nothing they could do," Eady said. "They couldn't check it in their system because we're not talking about a short lapse of time. We're talking about a complete billing cycle."

And then the same thing happened with a product she needed to return, but this time, she had paid with a debit card.

"I had to get the bank statement and all of that, just to show proof of purchase," she said.

If you keep paper receipts, this could happen to you, too. That's because more retailers are using thermal paper. Heat and light fades the ink.

So what can you do?

Here are some things to try:

Use a hair dryer, on high heat. Make a copy of the receipt with a photocopier, on the darkest setting possible. Scan a copy of the receipt into your computer, then use a program like Photoshop to adjust the color levels. Also, ironing the receipt sometimes brings the ink back.

Even better, experts recommend copying important receipts as soon as you get them.

As for Eady, she hopes to never need to do any of this again.

"I no longer use cash when buying something," Eady said. "I use a check."

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