Sunday, June 24, 2012

Ann Taylor Loft’s Return Policy Sucks

I have been slow to buy new clothes since losing weight last summer. Instead I wear either clothes that are too big or my former skinny clothes that are now over five years old.  I wanted to make sure I could keep the weight off before investing money in a new wardrobe. A couple of days before Easter I decided I needed a pair of pants that actually fit.   I found two pair at Ann Taylor Loft, a store I usually don’t shop at because their styles usually don’t work for me.  (Call me old fashioned, but I prefer Mom Pants) See examples:

One pair I wore to an Easter brunch the other I thought would be perfect for summer.  Last week I was all set to wear my new linen trouser pants to work before taking one last look in the mirror.  Argh! The pants looked terrible on me (to be honest they were a questionable purchase when I tried them on in the store, but I thought with a long linen shirt they would be okay). They were a tad tight showing every bulge. Plus, they really were too long.  Deciding I could not be seen in public wearing them; I returned them to the store. 

Ann Taylor Loft's Return Policy:
Unfortunately Ann Taylor’s return policy sucks. After 60 days they only give you the item’s current selling price either in the form of a merchandise credit or as a merchandise exchange. The good news is the credit never expires. 
Why is that good news?
Since I don’t ever plan on ever shopping at Ann Taylor Loft again I am planning on giving the credit to a friend who loves the store.  She will be able to take her time using the credit.

Lesson learned:
I need to educate myself on return and other company policies before making purchases at stores where I don’t normally shop.  Here is a list of links that will help all of us become more educated consumers:

Top Ten Worst Company Policies To Be Aware Of:
Money Crashers has put together a list of crazy company policies that border on rip-offs.

Gift Return Worst Practices: Retail Return Policies That Lose Customers:
I was aware of Best Buy and Target's return policies, but not Barnes and Noble.  Seriously B and N if we forget to include the packing slip when mailing back our return we forfeit both our refund and our purchase.

The 5 Worst Retailer Return Policies:
20 Something Finance lists 5 of the worst.

Kohl's is my Kryptonite
Kohl's actually has one of the best no hassle return policies out there. I am including this post from Stephanie at Graduated Learning because she does a great job showing us how Kohl's gets us to keep showing up at their store. 
Do you have a bad return experience you would like to share?
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  1. In this day and age, crappy return policies are ridiculous. There is simply too much competition out there for stores to hold onto old rules like Ann Taylor's. I only shop there for my nieces and then only their outlet and sales - they are also way too expensive.

    Am sorry for your bad experience, but your friend will probably love you! Better luck elsewhere. (You might want to try the VanHeusen outlet, if you can fine done.)

  2. This is why I only shop at Nordstroms, during their sales. They're policy is to always accept a return and give you cash or apply it back on your credit card. No worries, no hassle. I have returned many things, even a necklace I bought and wore for nearly a year. It broke and I was able to return it and the cost was put back on my card. I swear by them. Period.

  3. Anonymous5:02 PM

    While I hate super strict return policies (like Loft), am I the only one that was a bit perturbed that the previous commenter wore the necklace for almost a year and returned it?

    I think this is taking advantage of Nordstrom's VERY lenient and relaxed return policy. I really really hope Nordstrom won't go to a Loft-like return policy because of many people taking advantage of them.

  4. Thank you for expressing the frustration so many of us have...I think Target has a great return policy, which especially helps when I'm shopping for my kids!

  5. That's really too bad. I say the customer is always right! Whatever happened to that? SMH.

    Stopping by from SITS Saturday SHarefest.

  6. That is pretty terrible. Very nice of you to give your store credit to a friend though!

    Stopping by from SITS Sharefest.

  7. I haven't had to return anything lately (because the money tree is broken), but this is a great reminder to educate ourselves on things like this. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Webb,
    I agree Ann Taylor is expensive. With this purchase I had spent more than normal which did contribute to my disappointment with their return policy.

    There is a VanHeusen outlet in my area and they do carry petites. I can't wait to check it out.

    Thanks again.

  9. Monica,
    I don't believe Nordstrom is in Wisconsin. They are in Chicago though. Unfortunately Chicago's sales tax rate is 10%, so I probably won't be shopping there in the near future. It is good to know they have a great return policy. I will keep that in mind especially for on-line purchases.

  10. Anonymous,
    Yeah I know. One of the reasons most companies have lousy return policies is because so many people abused them. I just heard that since the start of the last recession returns of previously worn dresses and business suits has become a huge problem for retailers. Check out Macy's return policy for Bridesmaid dresses:

    Bridesmaid dresses must be returned within 30 days of the receipt of purchase with valid proof of purchase and all tags attached. Worn or altered garments may not be returned. Proof of purchase is defined as a valid receipt, a packing slip or a vendor direct shipping invoice.

    Come on! People actually return altered garments.

  11. Jennifer,
    I am happy to hear you had and pointed out your positive experiences at Target. The problem mentioned in the article is for gift returns:

    Target and also will not accept returns for items without a receipt or gift receipt. You'll get no store credit, no exchanges, and no exceptions with this gifter unfriendly return policy.

    I can actually see Targets sideof things on this one. They sell many common items that could have been purchased anywhere. Why give a credit for something they didn't sell in the first place.

  12. Stacie Says So:
    They must have been absent when that lesson was taught in business school.

    Thanks for stopping in.

  13. Alison,
    I didn't mind the store credit so much, but receiving less than what I paid really annoyed me. I know they can no longer sell the return for what I paid for it, but still...

  14. Melissa,
    I don't buy either, which is probably why strict return policies where such a surprise to me.

    Thanks for stopping in.

  15. I just learned of Loft's return policy that if you do not return within 45 days, you cannot get a store credit at the original purchase price even if you have the original receipt. This is not even practiced at a discounted store like at TJ MAXX. My expereince has been if you have the recipt, you were able to get store credits if it passed many days.

    I usally shop for clothing but I do not like to tryout there so I bring them home and tryon. Then, I used to go and return when I get a chance to hit the mall again. It's been my practice for so long so Loft's return policy was a such a suprise and unacceptable in my opinion.

    Well, I won't be shopping at Ann Taylor nor Loft now.

    1. Our family,
      Disappointing to learn Loft has not changed their policy since I originally wrote this post.

    2. Anonymous8:39 PM

      They have changed there policy