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I was just reading on slashdot that
retail stores are starting to turn to a
service that keeps a database on
product returns and will refuse to
accept returns from "habitual"
returners. The anicdote from the
linked article is of a woman who
made a clothing purchase only to
she already had some
similar clothes in her closet, and
she attempted to return them
with tags still attached, only to be
informed that the database had
tagged her and that they would not
accept the return. I propose that if
retail establishment feels it must do
something like this, then it should
determine, from its customer
database, what the return policy
should be at the time of purchase,
and then the customer could accept
or refuse the conditions at the time
of sale. They could even have more
levels of return privilage besides
yes and no.
My ideal would be for conusmers to
refuse to give their business unless
the return policy is const, but if it
really must be variable, it should at
least be statically linked.
Retailers turning to databases to rein in customer returns [JakePatterson, Nov 07 2004]
||My understanding is that in the States, at least, a great many people abuse store return policies by, for example, buying a party dress, wearing it one night, then returning it, often not even washed. Other examples include returning goods bought at other stores. Whether you count this as theft or fraud, it raises the prices of the goods for the rest of us.
||I am sure if the person in your example followed up with store or chain management, they would be able to rectify the matter.
||There is always a problem in enforcing any rule that it may affect entirely law-abiding and fairly playing customers. I would rather stronger enforcement and lower overall prices than lax enforcement and higher prices.
||And finally, most stores do post notices about their returns policy at the cash desk. in fact, many actually will bend them in the customers' favor.
||(And it is entirely likely I myself would also be tagged by these checks, since my wife is in the habit of ordering clothes online, and returning the ones that don't fit.)
||[DrCurry], my point here is that the
store, if it is going to have a
variable return policy, ought to
inform the customer as they are
making the purchase what their
personal return policy will be.
That way, the customer can
choose not to make the purchase
in the first place if it turns out that
they are tagged by the database. I
don't see why retail propiaters
should feel that they have the
ethical high ground over what they
call "sub-optimal" customers when
they are in fact altering their
return policy in a rather stealthy
||JP: My point is that you are getting all aereated on behalf of someone you have only read about. If you find that shops mistreat you as a customer, then as you note, this is an entirely free world: find somewhere else to shop. (And if they seriously mistreat you, many recourses exist under the law.)
||Many stores post signs stating a limited returns policy (receipt required, 15 day limit, etc.). But every store I have encountered has been more lenient than its stated returns policy, thus favoring the customer in ways it is not obligated to do.
||What has your experience been?
||My experience is that I have never
had trouble returning merchandise
to a reputable establishment.
Then again, I am not in the habit
of buying big screen TVs just
before the superbowl and
returning them just after. That
being said, this idea was posted to
attempt to offer something
positive that could be considered a
"best practice" if you will, or an
ethical guideline. It isn't intended
to be just a complaint, but rather a
||<another anecdote>My friend James bought a pair of shoes from the retail outlet Next in the UK about 4 years ago, they wear out incredibly quickly, so every 6 months he would go back to the shop and swap them for new ones- didn't even need a receipt because the shoes obviously looked new</another anecdote>. I too purchased a pair of shoes from the same outlet - everlasting shoes, brilliant.
||What if it's a humid day and the cat fur checkouts won't charge up the goods properly?