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What IS Eddie Bauer's Return Policy?

Posted Sun April 2, 2006 1:49 pm, by Theresa S. written to Eddie Bauer, Inc.

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I went to the Eddie Bauer Outlet Store at the Great Lakes Crossing Outlet Center in Auburn Hills, MI on 4/1/06. The purpose for my visit was to return a jacket that I had purchased approximately 1 year ago. The reason for the return is that I did not like the color. When I first purchased it, it appeared to be tan in the store. When it is worn in daylight, it appears more to be a gold color with a slight greenish tinge to it. I have been an Eddie Bauer customer for many years and I know the return policy, or at least I thought I did. I approached a clerk at this store and said that I wished to return this item (#410005360601). I said I had worn it once and that I did not like the color. I did tell her it was purchased a long time ago. She told me that since I had worn it, it was not returnable. I read the back of the receipt to her which states "With an Original Receipt: We'll gladly issue a refund in the original form of payment." and told her that what she stated was not written anywhere on the return policy for Eddie Bauer. She then asked me if there was anything wrong with the item. I told her no - I just did not like the color. She then reiterated that the item was not returnable. I then asked her if she was telling me that she was refusing to accept the jacket under the return policy. She told me that if she did accept it, the jacket would have to be thrown out. I repeated my question, and then she said she would accept the return and began to process it. At that point, my husband pulled up the Eddie Bauer return policy on my web-linked cell phone and I showed her this verbiage from your website for her own edification: "If, at any time, you are not completely satisfied with your purchase, simply exchange it or return it to us for a refund." I told her that I was not satisfied with the purchase. She told me that what that statement really meant was that if the item was defective in any way, I would be entitled to a refund. I was shocked by this, so I re-read it to her. I couldn't believe that she would refute something spelled out in such plain English. She then proceeded to call over another sales associate (Sharon or Cheryl?) who also works at another non-outlet Eddie Bauer store and told her my situation. This other associate also said that the Eddie Bauer policy is to only accept returns on new merchandise or defective used merchandise and that customers cannot return used merchandise if they just (and I quote) "change their minds". This sales associate equated it to going to a store and buying a dress and wearing it and bringing it back to a store and saying you didn't want it. I told her that you could actually do that with several stores: Land's End, L.L. Bean, AND Eddie Bauer. Not that this is something I am in a habit of doing, mind you, but these policies are a reason I am a loyal customer of all of the aforementioned stores. I then showed the policy to this 2nd person and the original store clerk said (in exasperation at me) that what was written on the website was WRONG! At this point in the conversation, ALL sales associates seemed to be congregating around us and I started to feel like some kind of criminal. As the clerk was processing my refund, I said that I had no problem leaving with the jacket with the intention of contacting the Eddie Bauer headquarters for information on how to proceed, but she still said she would process the return. I didn't ask at the time, but I wonder why she processed a return against store policy if she truly believed that this was against policy. I was not irate. I just kept trying to get her to agree that if I wasn't satisfied, I could return the coat. She kept insisting that my reason of not liking the color was in no way a viable reason to return the coat. At last, she did refund my purchase price, which was $25 and change. FYI: I had bought the jacket and an identical red one at a great sale price and I LOVE the red jacket. Yes - I definitely should have returned this other jacket sooner, but I never got around to it. Still, I thought that it would be ok to return it now due to what I knew about Eddie Bauer's store policy. So, here is the quandary that I am in. What IS Eddie Bauer's Return Policy? Is this clerk correct and should I not have been allowed to return the item? If I am correct, why was I given such a hard time at this store? Another reason I had visited this store was to see about trying on a coat I saw on the Eddie Bauer website. My original plan was to order it anyway if there weren't any available to try on, but now that I received such a hassle with trying to return something, I am very leery of purchasing anything else from Eddie Bauer. Believe me when I say I have been a loyal customer for many years and some of my favorite wardrobe pieces come from Eddie Bauer. I also don't even remember the last time I needed to return something to an Eddie Bauer store, so maybe the policy has changed - however, it wasn't anywhere in writing at this store. In fact, the return policy was written as it was on my original receipt. I honestly was flabbergasted by this debacle. I did even try to look around the store after receiving my refund, but as we moved around the store, a couple of the other employees stared at us so rudely that we got the message that we were not welcome there.

I am requesting that someone within your Customer Service Management Team contact me regarding this issue. If I am right about the store policy, then I think those associates owe me an apology and they should receive some badly needed training since they are obviously misrepresenting Eddie Bauer's refund policy to the detriment of your loyal customers. If I am not correct, then I WILL APOLOGIZE TO THEM. Either way, I am very disturbed by this. I would rather have had the employee not accept the return if she truly thought she was upholding the policy. It is strange because it would have been better for her to either process the return and not give me a hard time OR not process the return and leave me to take it up with someone else. She was pleasant enough during our interaction (not hostile nor overtly rude - just condescending), so I would not have taken offense if she just refused the return. Instead, she gave me a hard time AND processed the return which is the only reason I am considering never shopping Eddie Bauer again. And that would be too bad, since I really liked that coat I saw on-line.

In any event, you do not have to take my word for it. Give them a call at 248-745-0512 and ask them what the return policy is - I am sure you will get the same answer I did.

PLEASE clarify this issue for me. I appreciate your attention to this issue.

Sincerely,
A VERY UNSATISFIED customer,
T. Short


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by thinkingitthrough Posted Wed April 5, 2006 @ 9:44 AM

I find it a little bit astonishing that you had this jacket for AN
ENTIRE YEAR, admit to wearing it once and then deciding that you did
not like the color in daylight and then expecting an easy return. It
is because of people like you, who take advantage of a rather generous
return policy, all in the name of principle (a note to your constant
quoting of the verbage from your cell phone)for a measly $25 that the
rest of us have to pay exorbitant retail prices. You had a hissy, you
got what you wanted and you are not pleased because the sales
associates would not tell you that what you were doing was A-OK?
PUH-LEEZE!

Reply

by tickytack Posted Mon April 3, 2006 @ 3:02 PM

What do you have to be dissatisfied? You tossed a tantrum and got
your money back. And, as a previous poster pointed out, you
shouldn't. It is highly unlikely that they can resell that jacket -
they probably, after a YEAR, don't even carry that particular jacket
any longer.

What a selfish person you must be.

Reply

Another thought on this subject by S. Brown Tue April 4, 2006 @ 2:30 PM
by S. Brown Posted Mon April 3, 2006 @ 11:47 AM

Although Eddie Bauer's return policy says " . . at any time . . .",
you were really pushing them to the limit by returning a jacket you
purchased at an outlet store a year ago, wore once and decided you
didn't like the color. You can rant and rave all you want, but in
your heart you know that what you did was not within the spirit of
their return policy. You got your money back even though I don't
think you should have, so just drop it.

Reply

by p d Posted Mon April 3, 2006 @ 12:03 AM

You had it for a year then decide you don't like the color?

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