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Tight Retail Return Policies

February 13, 2008
Here's a customer service pet peeve that I've developed recently. If you have tried to return anything recently, you may have noticed that retailers have fairly seriously tightened up their return policies. I realize that the point is to catch "serial returners" who buy merchandise regularly knowing they are going to return it. But in my opinion, when the "net" starts to catch consumers with legitimate issues, it has been cast too wide.

According to the National Retail Federation, about 40 percent of retailers have tightened their policies.

My most recent aggravation? Baby Gap refusing to take back a baby gift...with a gift receipt...after 90 days. Baby presents are often purchased before...well before...a child is born (for showers, etc.), so the 90 day return rule is not only insufficient, is fails to recognize the fact that among the priorities of new parents in the first three months or less of a baby's birth is NOT returning gifts that don't fit or otherwise don't suit. It seems to me that the Gap is well aware of this and is merely seeking to halt returns.

Here's a recent article from USA Today about the trend if you'd like to read more.


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