wow never knew. when i was younger I used to return a lot of clothing because my mother disapprove my purchases... I returned about 5-10 items every 3-4 months? I thought it was a lot but I didn't get banned. People must be really abusing the policy to get banned!
Yes, frequent returners can and have been banned. Below is a link to a 2007 article that discusses the databases being used by companies like the Limited, and Wal-Mart.
As someone who worked in retail, I think it's an excellent idea for merchandise purchased in store. I feel that for online, purchases, the policies should be more liberal.
I don't believe your credit score will be harmed. A friend is a manager at Anne Taylor, and they banned people from returning, but they didn't actually cancel the card. You could still shop, just not return.
one way to avoid them tracking you is to pay with cash when you buy at the B&M stores
Some stores require an ID if you want to return an item that was paid for with cash. I know for sure Nordstrom Rack and Coach has this policy. I think Express does this as well, but I can't even remember the last time I shopped there, let alone returned something. I don't do excessive returns, so I'm not worried.
Realistically, most return bans happen at levels of shopping and returns that most of us would never reach. Having one or two large returns due to a holiday is different, and it certainly does not meet the numbers needed to flag the system at most places. Most of the people banned from returning or even purchasing at a store know quite well why it happened to them. They may not think it was fair, but purchasing thousands of dollars worth of merchandise to resell or chronically purchasing high dollar amounts and then returning all of them isn't normal behaviour and it isn't good for the store. The average consumer will never have this happen to them.
The majority should have no fear about purchasing online or even returning. The occassional return is not the problem. When you are returning more than what you are keeping, especially after originally purchasing in-person at the store, where you have the opportunity to try the garment on, then yes you may be flagged.
Also as usual, some exceptions to the rules exist.. for instance some customers will not be banned... VIPs, celebs, important political people...
TIP - if you are returning items bought online, make sure you state the reason for the return. Maybe even write out an explanation for the return. If you buy multiple sizes to determine fit, and return those that do not fit, you should write that as the reason. If you leave this part blank a customer service rep will enter the reason for you, which you may not want as part of your record.
Personally, I hate returning things to the stores. I know that whenever people shop at high end department stores or boutiques, if they have a return policy, the SAs will always encourage you to buy first, and if you change your mind, then bring it back. I absolutely hate that!
Now I always think twice, or thrice, before I purchase anything, let it be a Chanel flap or a pair of socks from the Gap. Stores do monitor your returns, and if you return excessively, they send you a letter asking you to shop somewhere else before banning you from shopping with them.
Location: Amid the prairies of the Midwest with the tiger swallow-tail butterflies.
The cable shopping network QVC sends out letters to customers with a high rate of returns, threatening to ban them from ordering. Over on the message boards on QVC.com this is a frequent topic of conversation because lots and lots of people get "the letter" and apparently one's purchasing volume doesn't need to be that high to trigger it.
I do believe that to be banned, someone must report something about you. I know Coach flags for excess purchases of the same item. We're currently working on doing something for a certain customer, and it's not easy. This customer constantly does WORN returns, haggles prices, moves merchandise to clearance racks (caught on film, lovely), etc. etc. At this point, security is watching her from the second she steps foot in the store til she steps out. She's been asked to leave after threatening my manager.
But I don't know more about the process, I'm sorry. Right now she's not banned yet.
I never return stuff that I buy at B&M stores, but for online purchases it's so much harder to be sure about the quality/fit/etc. I returned a few online purchases to Nordstrom last month and I admit that I'm semi-worried that they might ban me, but it's certainly not a habit. It's actually pretty rare. It just happened because of sales (got excited) and the stuff didn't fit at all, and, for one of the purchases, the quality was atrocious for what I paid. I am going to make sure, though, that the next time I buy something from them I'm REALLY, REALLY sure I'm going to keep it, just in case!!!
How I wish that there is a way to find out what is acceptable and what is not.
Different stores will have different signage available. Oh, and I should clarify that it's only for CERTAIN stores.
I know that Express/Limited stores will do this. I believe it's 5 (or was it 6) returns within a 90 day period. They will ask you for your ID (regardless if you have a receipt or not), and they'll enter your info into this special device (separate from the cash register's computer). If you've surpassed the acceptable number of returns within that 90 day period, you will be automatically DECLINED the return. Not banned from the store, but you won't be able to return your product REGARDLESS IF IT'S A DEFECT, GIFT, ETC. If you have NO receipt, and your total return amount within that 90 day frame is above the store's acceptable limit (I think it's like $250 or $300), then again, you will NOT be able to return your merchandise.
Quite frankly, I think it's good practice for stores to monitor consumers' returns. I know many ppl (not personally) have taken advantage of liberal return policies, and stores just can't afford to keep eating these losses...eventually, they WILL get passed down to the consumers, so we all don't want to pay higher prices on items, right?
Now, what I don't agree about is stores who will punish those consumers who will buy different sizes and/or colors to compare in the comforts of their home. However, as raised by another tpf'r, I don't think the "normal/average" consumer will do this enough times (or at a high enough dollar amount) to trigger a ban or raise any red flags.
EDIT: Lump me into the category of ppl who buy different sizes/colors. I have done this with shoes, jeans, handbags, and tops. It sucks if you are in-btwn sizes, or you simply can't decide btwn a couple of different colors and would like to compare them to what you have in your closet).
I am the one who got the nasty letter from Bloomingdales for returning to many online purchases. i called and explained that if they looked at the order its the same shoe or boot but in two different sizes. I vary between a 9.5 and 10. What cracks me up is that I hadn't used the card in months until october and december 29th. I have spent over $1000 and paid it all in full. During this time I returned 1 online dress and a pair of jeans and a sweater. I closed out the account today and owe them not a penny. I asked that I receive a letter saying I closed out the account and there was a zero balance. I do not return anything that was worn or with no receipt it is all because of ordering online and returning.