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Tips to Returning Clothes

February 22, 2011

If you’re like me, every now and then you experience a moment where you’ve been out shopping and for whatever reason, you didn’t take the time to try on something you may have purchased assuming it would be the right size.  If you didn’t take into consideration that you may have lost some weight, or added on a pound or two, you can never be too sure of a good fit by trying on your items you’re considering to buy.

It’s a common mistake that many women make.  We often don’t think that our hips won’t get in the way, or there’s an issue with the length of our torso, or whatever the case may be, trying on the clothes you are going to buy can save you time and money.

One pet peeve I have is women who buy clothes, wear them, have them cleaned, and return them.  Seriously?  In case you didn’t notice, or cared to realize it, but seeing that you spent money to dry clean something you’re planning to return (that you actually wore) to get your money back that if you deduct the cost of dry cleaning, the cost of gas, and time you’ve taken to drive back to return the item you actually lost money.  Was it really worth it?  Why not just keep it.  If you’re going to go that route, you may as rent the clothes that way you pay only a fraction of the cost of renting — then again that may very well depend on who you are renting from and what their policies may be.

I tend to spend a lot of money on my clothes, especially special occasion dresses and sequined dresses that I’m not about to return anything I worked hard to buy.  Just makes no sense.  Clothing I return are usually clothes that did not fit (too big or too small) and it’s because I didn’t have time to stop and try them on.  Go figure.

Returning clothes can be a daunting task, a huge hassle, and a headache depending on where you go and how much you’re returning.  That being the case I created some helpful tips to make the process go as smooth as possible.

  1. Ask the store’s return policy.  Some stores’ return policy is very limited, usually boutiques, that make returning clothes sometimes a little more challenging where refunds are not given.   This takes me to my next point.
  2. Stores without a return policy will not refund you the money you paid on your purchase, however, if returned in the proper time frame, they will allow you to exchange the clothing for something else.  In this case I say choose wisely.  Be sure you select something you are going to be able to live with.
  3. Keep your receipts.  Returns accompanied by your receipt help verify the purchase, thus rendering it valid.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stood in line at a store and there was a customer wanting to return clothes and didn’t have their receipt.  The time that it took for both the cashier and the manager to tell the customer, “you must have your receipt,” I could have done more shopping, gotten back in line and they still would have been arguing.  So keep your receipts.  You never know when you’ll need it.
  4. Return clothes in a reasonable amount time, ideally within the time frame to store sets on purchases.  Keep in mind though, if you’re looking to receive a full refund on items you’ve purchased, this can work in your favor especially if you are within the store’s policy for returns.  The store is more likely to assist you in returning your money back to you. 
  5. Don’t wear the clothes and go back to the store to return them and expect them to refund your money.  This is so tacky and very distasteful for women to do.  It’s downright shameful.  It’s abusing the store’s return policy, which is why so many stores maintain the strictest rules in returning clothing.  They can very well exercise their right to refuse to allow you to make any future returns to their store, or worse, they can refuse to allow you to shop there.
  6. Return clothes in good form.  I can’t emphasize this enough.  You’d be surprised at how many times I’ve gone to some stores and have seen items on the rack that were badly damaged with rips and tears, and holes, and the store was attempting to resell those items.  Whether or not they were items returned is unclear, but there is a principle that has to be maintained that can very well taint the reputation of the store if it is lacking in the quality to which the store is maintained.  The point is they should not be on the rack for sale regardless of the reduced price.  These are items that have gone beyond being defective.  The store has an obligation to its customers, to provide the best products possible.  I think over the years thee rules have been slightly modified to protect the stores from customers who make this attempt to purposely ruin clothing.  However, if you intend to purchase something like a pair of pants, a pair of shoes, a top or something of that nature and there’s a minor blemish, missing something, or any other slight imperfection, the store, at their discretion, can give you a nice little discount if you honestly and respectfully bring it to their attention.
  7. Have a good reason for your return.  Usually you won’t be asked why you’re returning any article of clothing.  It’s been my experience shopping in larger department stores that with return an explanation had to be given.   In this case, if you are asked, you want to be a brief and as specific as possible.  There is no need to go into a long drawn out dialog about why you’re returning something.  Simple reasons such as it’s too small, it’s too big, it has a hole in it, missing a button, something along those lines will suffice. 
  8. Sometimes the defectiveness of clothing can be our own doing, which brings me to why checking the tags of clothing before or immediately after purchasing is key.  As a general rule, if you ruin a garment don’t expect the store to allow you to return it.

At some point in our lives we are going to be faced with needing to return a dress, a suit, shoes, or a blouse.  Exercise your best judgement in doing so and act within the time frame of the store’s return policy.

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