Thursday, November 04, 2010

Retailers Drawing Line on Returns

Retailers Drawing the Line on Returns

So I just read this article on retail stores and emerging policies on returns.  I'll start by saying I hate returns.  I take them back all day, every day.  Places I've worked had rules and policies for returns.  When I first started in retail, I followed them to a 't'.  Then I found out that most of the management broke the rules constantly.  I changed my policies to be more in line with theirs.  Unless you've worked retail, you don't realize how much returns hurt the company and the consumer. 

Think about it.  How do you know the product you purchased has been used previously?  Did a previous customer return the microwave because it shorted out but made it look nice and clean?  Did a woman wear the sweater you're buying and stain it with something that only be seen by black light?  Can you tell?  No?  Neither can the employees at the store you're purchasing it from.  So it goes back out on the shelf (nearly) as good as new.  This happens at every single store and every single chain in retail. 

The article talks about preventing 'return fraud'.  It happens all the time.  Dishonest people will change tags on product, shoplift product and then return it for an in store credit, or many other creative way of thievery.  All of it is loss and means the various retail stores have to charge more for the product.  Theft drives prices up.

I could go on and on about this.  But I need to head to bed.  If you're even contemplating returning a product when you buy it, do one of two things:  1)  Don't buy it.  If you're questioning the purchase maybe you should wait till you need it.  We're living in hard times.  Or 2) keep the receipt and the tags for the product.  Ask the cashier what the return policy on the product is.  Then if you exceed the time period or the rules, don't think you're special and should have an exemption.  Just accept that you are past the limit on the return and live with it.  After all, you don't know where that return will end up.


Michael said...

Ok so in our stores anything that has been purchased and taken home and then returned gets sent to our clearance center. There is no way we'd sell something that had been in a customers home as a new item.

Gauss Jordan said...

I'll own up to one return-related incident: I absolutely needed a wireless presentation remote to replace the one I'd bought years ago. Running by Best Buy showed the cheapest one was $65. The same item online was about $30 with shipping. I bought the one in-store, bought the identical one on the web, and when the e-commerce one eventually showed up, returned that back to the brick-and-mortar store.

the reason? The convenience of having it "now" wasn't worth $30+.