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I’m a moron (sometimes): Online shopping edition

August 23, 2012

One of my preferred ways of shopping is to shop online, especially to snag sale items in my size.  I find this to be far easier for me, even if I just try it on at home then return it to a physical store.  Returns are quick, but shopping is tedious.  I never do this for final sale items and I always check the return policy.

In my search for a formal dress to wear to a wedding this fall, I ordered a dress (in two sizes!) from White House Black Market early this summer.  It was less than $50 on sale, but the cut didn’t work out on me, so I decided I’d just return it in store on my lunch break.

I used a “one time use” credit card numbers designed for secure online shopping for my purchase. When I tried to return it, they said they needed the physical original card.  Since I had a one-time use number that didn’t match my original card, she called customer service and discovered the only way to get a refund was to mail it in.

“Ug, that’s too bad,” I lamented to the clerk. “I just HATE going to the post office!”

She helpfully offered to take care of my return for me, packaging it up in store and putting it on on of their trucks (or something).  I was heading on vacation in the next couple days and had tons of other errands to take care of, so this sounded great to me.  “Really?!  That would be so great!  Thanks!”  She explained it may take 6-8 weeks to be refunded.  I said that wasn’t a problem and happily walked out the door.

Five minutes later, I got a sinking feeling in my stomach.  At  that moment, I knew she was not going to mail it in.  I don’t know how, nor do I know what I thought she’d do with my items.  I just knew I should run back in the store and insist on taking care of it myself.  But I didn’t.  I ignored my instinct and convinced myself she would keep her word and do her job.

For 6-8 (or now, more like 11) weeks, I waited to see a statement credit on my card.  Finally…  I’ve gave up.  It clearly wasn’t happening!

The GREAT news is that this story has a happy ending!    I almost didn’t call customer service, as I doubted they would do anything for me.   I had nothing to show for my story.  I don’t know the name of the clerk, I don’t have my items or my receipt, and I didn’t have any sort of tracking number.  I dug up the order number in my e-mail archive, and based on that alone, customer service was kind enough to process my refund!  I would have understood if they refused, but I would have had such a bad taste in my mouth that I would have never shopped there again.  Instead, I was happily surprised!  From my sample size of one, WHBM has excellent customer service!  (Except for a certain clerk in a certain store in the greater L.A. area.)

Lessons learned:  No one else cares about your money as much as you do.  Trust your instincts.  Contact customer service, even if you don’t think they will help.  Also, avoid being a moron like me.  🙂

9 Comments leave one →
  1. August 23, 2012 5:28 am

    That’s great that you were still refunded!

  2. August 23, 2012 5:39 am

    That’s really odd that they needed the original card. If you bought it online, they should have been able to issue you an RMA tag that would have then credited the original card once they received the item, without having to do anything involving the physical card.

    • August 23, 2012 7:11 am

      As a somewhat frequent online shopper, some stores insist on it and say they “need” it, while many many others just credit the original card. I don’t understand why some stores need it either, but it is not just unique to WHBM

  3. August 23, 2012 5:55 am

    Wow, that’s a really great customer service! So, she has really never mailed it in?

    I think it was pretty cool of you to contact the customer service without any proof of having returned the item! 🙂

    • August 23, 2012 2:34 pm

      I have no idea what happened to it. Maybe she mailed it in and it was lost in the mail, or maybe it was never mailed in at all. It is hard to say. I did have the same dress in 2 sizes, so I guess that adds a little credibility to my story. Why wouldn’t I return at least 1 size?! But yeah, it was super nice of them to help me. To their benefit, they did not lose me as a customer for life – which they would have otherwise.

  4. August 23, 2012 8:05 am

    That sounds like great service. J. Crew was really helpful to me once when I did something moronic (entirely my fault) and w/o much proof to show for it. I always remember that.

  5. mochiandmacarons permalink
    August 24, 2012 11:59 am

    So that clerk just stole the dresses then? Or processed the refund but kept the money under the table? What a crook….

    Trust your instincts!

    • August 24, 2012 12:03 pm

      Yep! Although I like to just think she was just lazy, it could have been outright theft. Either way, I’m glad they were able to fix the situation!

  6. The Asian Pear permalink
    August 26, 2012 9:45 am

    It’s nice to know they still honoured it. That’s a sign of good customer service.

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