Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Spoiled by American Retailers

As an American consumer, I am spoiled by the "good will" price guarantees of retailers. I recently bought a gold hoop earring from Jewelry TV for $79.99. Less than 2 weeks later, I discovered that the earrings were being sold for $59.99. Jewelry TV promptly gave me a refund for $20 after I whined.

do you has a receipt?

I've now come to expect retailers to give me refunds if the price of the merchandise goes down within a reasonable amount of time after purchase, which is usually 30 days. But how about 40 days? 45 days?

As I previously reported, I bought a Michael Kors trenchcoat at Nordstrom for $148. I just learned from my sister that my trenchcoat has been discounted to $98. Ouch.

It's been about 46 days since I bought the jacket. I was considering going back to Nordstrom to see whether I could get the $50 difference reimbursed. But it made me wonder -- why do I think I'm entitled to such a refund? I can't think of any other business transaction in which the other party would ever consider reimbursing me for the difference in a subsequent price drop. A car dealer wouldn't. I can't cry for a refund in a stock purchase that goes south. And there are certainly many homeowners who're wishing they could un-do their sales transactions during the bubble.

I've decided not to ask for the refund on my jacket. I'm pretty sure that Nordstrom would've given me a refund, or atleast a store credit, considering how service oriented they are. But the fact of the matter is, I was willing to pay full, retail price since I rarely find clothes in my size in the "sales" racks. The $50, in my mind, was a premium I paid to ensure I would have a jacket that fits.

Would you seek a refund in this situation?


Ms. MoneyChat said...

i probably wouldn't, but only because i'm lazy like that. LOL.

psychsarah said...

I think too much time has passed in this case. The reason its marked down now is because it will soon be "out of season" in retail-land. I concur with your assessment that you pay a premium to get your size. If it was marked down the day or week after, I would pursue a refund, but not on this one. Enjoy your coat regardless!

Anonymous said...

I think a week or two is reasonable to wait and most stores, I think even some clothing stores have some sort of guarantee that they will refund the money but with clothing changing so fast, I think over a month would be pushing it. You might check online to see what their policy is.

I worked at a chain furniture store for a few years while in graduate school and they had no limit to returns for a while. We had a couple who was in the country for two years (for graduate school or a job) who bought furniture from the store because of this policy and returned it before they left to go back to India. We had to take back their dirty used cushions/sofas/chairs, I think a dining set, etc. It was ridiculous since the stuff had to mostly be thrown away.

It would have been a different story if they were returning them due to defects or other reasons but they admitted that they were bringing them back since they were leaving the country and had saved their receipt and everything in order to do this.

At least you aren't those people, you have some sort of conscience guiding you to not be ridiculous. It would be nice to have that $50 though I'm sure.


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Miss M said...

I think with clothes it would be impossible to stay in business and have that type of policy, eventually everything will end up on the sale rack at half off. Nordies is really good about returns at least. Oh and I'm glad to know I'm not the only person who shops at Jewelry TV, I love gemstones and sometimes just buy the bags of loose stones for fun!