Monday, June 2, 2008

Coming to terms with returns

A recent trip to Talbot's (to buy several more of their perfect, 3/4 sleeve stretch tees) reinforced why I shop there even though the styles are preppy for me: the unbeatable return policy of exchange or refund, no time limit, no exceptions.

(Note: The tee is on sale on their web site for $21!)


Though other chains adopt similar policies, the local independent boutiques' usual practice is credit only for returns, final purchase on sale items.

I understand their perspective: the items are seasonal- if a customer brings a dress back six weeks later, there's a good chance it won't sell. Some shops impose a 7-day limit for returns, and increasingly in this semi-recession, they apply the "credit only" rule.

I had to stand firm at a luxury costume jewelry boutique that refused a refund initially- even though the receipt said "Refund or exchange if returned in seven days"
. You can bet I dug in my heels when they said, "Oh, we changed our policy."

In my 30s, I agonized over returns and felt embarrassed, as if a return revealed that I had no eye, no identity or no money. Now, I admit my mistakes and return within a day or two.

The return policy is an essential criterion; who wants never-worn items crammed into your closet, and the obligation to spend via mandatory credit?

So I usually shop in stores who will refund, even though 85% of the time I leave with an exchange. A 7-day limit seems fair to me.

I rarely experience Buyer's Remorse. I'll berate myself for the indulgence but that doesn't incite a return. It's either an issue of fit or realizing it's "not me".

Jeweler and designer Pam Chandler at Artworks Galley once asked casually about a pair of jade earrings I'd bought a year earlier. When I confessed I'd never worn them (they just didn't work with my wardrobe) she insisted I bring them back for exchange, credit or refund.

Her determination that I have something perfect led to further delightful purchases and fond appreciation. Now that's superb service.

11 comments:

La Belette Rouge said...

I had always thought that Nordstrom's has the best return policy ever. But, it seems that Artwork's Gallery may just have them beat.

So funny that we share the love for the Talbot's tee. I think they are the best tees on the market for both style and quality. I LOVE them!!

Deja Pseu said...

Great minds think alike. I now have about five of those tees.
;-)

I love that most brick-and-mortar stores will now accept returns for items ordered online. It makes me far less hesitant about trying something new. And if I'm unsure of the sizing, I'll order in two sizes and return the one that doesn't fit.

Duchesse said...

LBR: Nordstrom's sets the benchmark!

Deja Pseu: I hope they never stop making that tee.

Think I should buy FedEx stock; I see delivery services business ever-increasing as the population ages.

Kelly said...

Hello, a question on the Talbot tees...they look great on the website, how do they run for sizing? I am a 14 on the bottom and a 12 on the top, so not sure if I should order M or L? Thanks so much, they look like a wonderful staple!
Kelly

La Belette Rouge said...

Kelly: I would say a Medium.

Duchesse said...

Kelly: I'd say a Medium too as they are cut fairly straight from bust to hip.

If you have a largish bust or want a loose, tunic look, the Large. Hope this info works for you... or contact them via their web site and ask for measurements or their recommendation.

Kelly said...

Thank you both, Duchesse and LBR...I am fairly small-busted so decided to go for the M's...I ordered five...white, black, pink, green and blue. They are exactly what I have been looking for as I've needed some new tops and I am very appreciative of your recommendations! I am about 30 miles from a Talbots store, but do love to go there when I can, or order online. I haven't tried these tees so am very excited to get them!
Thank you again!
Kelly

Anjela said...

I just ordered this tee shirt in white. Thanks for the posting. It looks really comfy and lovely!
By the way, I always advise my customers (I own a small store)to bring it back if they are not happy and frequently, if they are undecided, I give them the items to take home overnight- to test drive them(and do not charge) and I have never had the trust broken.

I have at times totally forgotten I have lent out items.( though we do make a note of items out on appro. Not remembering until they come back to buy one of the taken items.
I too will only shop at places that have decent return policies.
But of course it can be abused. Years ago I owned a children's boutique. Nannnies would be sent back with weeks old clothes, saying a tear came or, a mother would desperately try stuffing her child into a size way too small splitting the item at the seams (in the dressing room)I am so happy to not sell clothes anymore.:)

Anjela said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anjela said...

It arrived yesterday!!
The T Shirt feels soft and fits beautifully.
The price was only $16 by the time I ordered it!
Thanks for a great tip!!

Duchesse said...

Anjela: THAT's a bargain- so pleased you like it. Talbot's styles are ho-hum on the whole, but now and then there are gems and you got one!