You know times are tough when retailers start reevaluating and changing their return policies.
When it comes to return policies, flexibility defines good service. At the same time, I understand the need for retailers to set limits. I understand it's difficult for stores to turn a profit when customers are allowed to return items indefinitely. There needs to be a balance.
That being said, I usually don’t have a lot of time to shop and prefer trying most clothes on at home. Stores with the most flexible policies tend to get my business.
I bought a pair of pants and a top at Club Monaco after Boxing Day. I was in a rush and didn’t try them on in the store. When I got home, I realized I didn’t really need the pants but I didn’t have a chance to return them right away. I thought the 30-day return policy was ample.
Two weeks ago, I looked at the bill and realized I had gone passed the 30 days. I thought I’d have to suck it up and keep the pants. I called a location nearest me. The women who answered the phone told me I could still return the pants but they’d have to give me a store credit. I didn’t see that as a problem; I was delighted.
Well, I didn’t make it to the store right away. Today I went to the Yorkdale location to return the pants. The cashier gave me a funny look and said she’d only be able to give me a credit for the current sale price. What!!!
I told her about my call with the other location. After some resistance, she called over her manager. He stood by what the cashier had said and offered to give me a store credit for the current sale price. According to him, that was the store policy and the other store was making an exception. If I wanted to get a refund for the full amount paid, I’d have to go back there.
I told the manager, as a customer, this was confusing and unacceptable. To the best of my knowledge, I didn’t speak to the manager at the other store and I hadn’t offered special treatment. I suggested as a chain, they needed to have more consistency between their locations. He said if I didn’t like it, I should call head office. I told him I wanted my credit and suggested he share my feedback with head office.
By this time, a line of customers anxious to pay and get out was building up and they overheard our discussion. Reluctantly, I got a credit for the full amount.
As an aside, you should know that as of Jan. 1, all sale items at Club Monaco are final sale. I don’t know about you but I’m not thrilled about the change in policy and I’ll think twice before buying any sale merchandise there from now on.
What about you? How much does a store’s return policy influence your purchasing decisions? Do you think a retail chain should honour the same policies at all locations?