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Staticly Linked Return Policy

return policy staticly linked at time of sale
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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 realize that she already had some similar clothes in her closet, and she attempted to return them unused 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 a 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 just 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.

JakePatterson, Nov 07 2004

The article http://www.sfgate.c...07/MNGP89NDF118.DTL
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, Nov 07 2004

       [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 way.
JakePatterson, Nov 07 2004

       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?
DrCurry, Nov 08 2004

       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 helpful suggestion.
JakePatterson, Nov 08 2004

       <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.
neilp, Nov 08 2004

       What if it's a humid day and the cat fur checkouts won't charge up the goods properly?
ConsulFlaminicus, Nov 08 2004


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