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.