Victoria's Secret Refunds: Immigrants Need Not Apply

July 2, 2007

VIA CERTIFIED MAIL

Leslie H. Wexner
CEO, Limited Brands Inc
THREE LIMITED PKWY
P.O. Box 16000
Columbus, OH 43216

Sharon J. Turney
President and Chief Executive Officer, Victoria’s Secret
CEO, Limited Brands Inc
THREE LIMITED PKWY
P.O. Box 16000
Columbus, OH 43216

Dear Mr. Wexner & Ms. Turney,

I write to inform you of an incident that occurred this Saturday at your Victoria’s Secret store located in SoHo, Manhattan at 565 Broadway (Store #774). Despite producing an original sales receipt, the credit card used to make the purchase AND a United States Permanent Resident Card (commonly known as a “green card”), I was denied the right to return a $24.99 bra that I purchased just one week and one day earlier. Your manager, Jackie, cited a “new return policy” that deems my U.S. government issued identification worthless in the eyes of your undergarment retail giant.

It all began when I attempted to return a bra that I had purchased for my mother (she didn’t like the color) at another one of your stores located in Westchester County on the 22nd of June. The bra was just one portion of a purchase totaling $93!! After waiting on line for nearly 10 minutes, only to be told that I had to go to a different register because, unbeknownst to me, returns were being processed at one specific terminal, After waiting on line again, I was greeted by a very rude and condescending cashier. I produced the bra and my receipt (copy annexed) along with the credit card used to make the purchase. After starting the return process, the clerk requested photo identification. My student ID wasn’t sufficient, nor was a credit card bearing my photo.

Given no other options, I reached into the depths of my wallet to pull out a form of identification that I use a total of once or twice a year when I travel on vacation to Europe. I don’t even like to carry it around with me. It is the most precious and most official form of identification that I posses. It is my Permanent Resident Card issued by the United States Department of Immigration and Naturalization!

If you are unfamiliar with the Permanent Resident Card, in addition to bearing my name, a photo and a fingerprint, it also contains a plethora of other personal data regarding my immigration status. I am always reluctant to share this information with anyone but those who have a legitimate need for it ( i.e. Airport Customs & Security).

Like a good million (or four!) other New York City residents, I do not have a drivers license because I DO NOT DRIVE! While I was a bit hesitant to hand the Victoria’s

Secret cashier my Permanent Resident Card, I had already invested 20 minutes of my personal time to make the still incomplete return, and so I caved and handed it over.

To my utter dismay and disbelief, the cashier nastily responded, “I can’t use this, this is no good.” After requesting to speak to a supervisor, Jackie, the manager on duty, cited a “new return policy” that demanded the production of either a drivers license or passport. According to Jackie, the new computerized return system “will not accept the numbers” on my green card. I even offered to accept store credit in lieu of a cash refund (which in hindsight, I was weak for even suggesting. I have a RIGHT to return the merchandise. It says so on the receipt!). There were no exceptions, according to Jackie. I could not return the bra.

To have a retail store tell you that your Permanent Resident Card, an identification document issued by the United States federal government, a document that sufficiently establishes my right to live here, to exit and enter this country without a visa, a card that proves my status as a Permanent Resident of the United States – a status that affords me nearly the same rights that a naturalized citizen has (with the exception of the right to vote and Social Security benefits, if you want to point out two of the most important differences) — is “no good,” is an attack on my identity.

Never in my life have I been so frustrated. Here was one of your store managers telling me, a long time paying customer of your brands, in front of my boyfriend and everyone else on line, that I can’t return a $24.99 bra because my green card “isn’t good enough” to prove that I am who I say I am. I was reduced to tears as I stormed out of the store though a chaotic crowd of weekend shoppers. Yes I had caused a scene, and yes, I was utterly embarrassed. My $93 was good enough for Victoria’s Secret when I went on one of my nearly once a month shopping sprees at what used to be one of my favorite stores on earth. Yes I can get a non-driver’s ID from New York State, but in all my years of living in New York City, in all my years of living in this COUNTRY, I have never had a need for one. NOT ONCE. To get a new form of identification simply so I can enjoy the “privilege” of returning merchandise to one of your stores, is absolutely absurd!

Maybe I’m not good enough to shop at Limited Brands stores. Maybe I should wait until my citizenship track is approved by the INS before I reapply for return privileges at Victoria’s Secret. By then I’m sure you will have a fully implemented and operational biometric return clearance system that performs a DNA analysis against a database of career “retail-store ripper-offers.” Maybe then, your computer will be smart enough to point out to your sales clerk that I spend hundreds of dollars a year at your stores so maybe they should treat me with a little dignity and respect. Until then, all I can do is fight back. I will protest this return policy by urging all those similar situated to refrain from giving a single hard-earned cent to your company!

Truly yours,

RR

We’re willing to chalk most of it up to poor training, but that’s just plain rude behavior on the manager’s part. Why couldn’t Victoria’s Secret accept the green card? It’s got a bajillion pieces of personal information. Perhaps it’s because if you’re working at the SoHo Victoria’s Secret, you’re probably a vapid dipshit.

Rather than exiting in tears, though, RR might have been better served by calling Victoria’s Secret corporate right then and there. Maybe HQ would’ve been able to set this store straight. In any event, Victoria’s Secret should write an apology letter, let RR return the bra for a full refund, and maybe throw in a $25 gift card for good measure.

(Photo: AP)

Comments

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  1. B says:

    Back when I didn’t have a driver’s license, I got a non-driver’s ID card. Since I was a resident of New Hampshire but living in Boston, it wasn’t terribly effective as an identification, but most places would accept it as proof that I was who I said I was and old enough to buy beer. I’m sure New York has something similar that she could use as identification so she doesn’t need to use her green card.

  2. B says:

    I guess I should have read the whole article, but I got bored half-way through. Honestly, though, is it that traumatic to get an non Drivers ID? I think immigrant issue is a red herring, and anybody without a drivers license would have the same problems.

  3. jesirose says:

    My husband does not drive either – but he still has an ID which is the same format as a driver’s license and never once has he been told it won’t work as ID. If you hate carrying around your green card so much, get an ID card and you won’t have this problem. The ID’s have only the information on them that a driver’s license has and have the right numbers for the store’s computers.

  4. The Kapil says:

    I know consumer-is-god is the modus operandi of this very fine website (something I agree with, by and large, I should add), “RR” just sounds like spoiled brat with her “I HAVE A RIGHT TO RETURN” non-sense.

    Umm…No. You have a right to free speech, but to return merchandise, you don’t. Most retailers will let you do so to satisfy you and to prompt you to shop with them again. There is no contractual obligation and in those instances where there is a contract or warranty obligation, likely the retailer’s lawyers have nailed it down to a science where you’re at their mercy.

    Having said that, you as a shopper will almost always get your way because ripping-off-shoppers is not a phrase any retailer wants after its name in a headline!

    Not for nothin’, LPRs DO get social security benefits. We can’t vote and we can’t get federal jobs…but we do work and pay taxes and thus qualify for the same social benefits as citizens.

  5. alpha says:

    Every state that I know of offers “State IDs” for those people that can’t or don’t drive and thus do not have a driver’s license. They are quite common and quite useful. The person who experienced this problem should get one.

    That of course does not absolve Victoria Secret, but seriously…

  6. andros says:

    Being a Green Card carrier myself, I have time and again encountered issue of various establishments not accepting Green Card as valid photo ID – I suspect reason is it is sufficiently uncommonly used as PID (despite its widespread presence in US), most clerks / bouncers etc just don’t recognise it. (Funnily enough, I never had a problem using a Croatian passport as PID – or Transit Authority (RTD) bus pass, for that matter). Nowadays, I just use my drivers’ license, and there is peace in the Middle East.

    Amusingly, for those who aren’t familiar with ‘green cards’ – the thing is insanely complicated. Multiple light seal layering, ‘bump’ code, holo-watermarks and fingerprint of the bearer, a large holo-embossed magnetic cell on the back – if anyone had resources to make one, they’d be getting asway cheaper just bribing INS/USCIS for one.

    As for getting a drivers license or state resident registration, I’m not sure about NYC – but I’m fairly sure it is illegal in Colorado for any resident over 18 (16?) to go about without either a drivers’ license or state-issued ID card. So, while I can sympathise with this lady’s plight, I refuse to do so (calloused that I am) – state-issued ID is hardly hard to obtain.

  7. gorckat says:

    Jesus Christ, people. This isn’t about the practicality of a photo ID in a Driver’s License format (which I grant she should consider picking up), but the fact that a retailer (or its mnanager) gets to decide that a Green Card isn’t good enough.

    Yes, it could have been avoided with a more common ID, but did it need to be avoided when she flashed the Green card?

    Not likely, and until Victoria’s Secret fixes the problem, they stink to me.

  8. Youthier says:

    I’m a little shocked the only time she ever has to show identification is once or twice when she goes to Europe. I feel like I’m constantly showing people my state ID.

    That said, the rudeness of the staff is ridiculous. A policy can be enforced politely.

  9. madktdisease says:

    she/he (referring to the OP) must (if travelling abroad) have a passport that they use when they know they’ll need it, but who brings a passport with them all the time? especially when running to the freakin’ mall? mine’s safe at home so i don’t drop it out of my bag because it’s so weird-shaped. kudos on the letter, it was written extremely well, and i’m sorry that they were so rude to you.

  10. hallik says:

    Have any of you been to a NY DMV? Let me tell you, it’s a field trip that takes up the entire day. I was lucky for taking driver’s ed and only having to go to the DMV for pictures, but I still ended up staying on line for hours. Sure, she can suck it up for a day, but maybe she didn’t know she could get one of these Non-driver ID, which she knows now and can go get one :)

  11. superbmtsub says:

    A photo-id credit card wasn’t sufficient? WTH is the use of a photo on the credit card then?

    She shouldnt even have to pull out her “green card”. But she did and the manager wont accept it? Someone was obviously on a powertrip.

  12. jeffj-nj says:

     
     
    I can’t believe the responses so far. This was entirely and completely unacceptable on Victoria’s Secret part. If they ever saw my money before, they would certainly stop seeing it now, just so I could support this woman’s boycott. I’m shocked that the replies above this one are siding with VS on this one. The customer had valid ID. If it’s government issued, contains her name, birthday, etc, then why the hell is that not good enough? For crying out loud, it’s twenty five dollars. The store should’ve given her the damn refund and figured out how to enter it into their clearly inadequate for use within this country system later. Ridiculous. Completely ridiculous.

    Heck, if I had been on line behind her, I would’ve given her the $25 myself and then returned the bra for store credit, claiming it was a gift, and given the store credit to my girlfriend (which, yeah, wouldn’t’ve done anything for RR’s boycott, but it probably would’ve saved her quite a bit of aggravation that day, and, in doing so, may have prevented her from even starting a boycott in the first place).

    So, yeah, that’s what I would have done. Definitely. I would’ve been funny too.

    “I’d like to return this. Yeah, uh, it was a gift. Just got it a few minutes ago, actually. Anyway, as you can no doubt imagine, it does not fit, so I’d like to return it. Now, as I siad, it was a gift, so I don’t have a receipt, but store credit will be fine. Thanks.”

    Oh, man. If only.

  13. rochec says:

    It’s amazing that they would even tell you no, having produced the receipt and card used to purchase it. Apparently they’ve never heard the term the customer is always right. Generally in retail you want to retain customers, not drive them out. Simply returning such an inexpensive item and saying how they have the policy, but they’ll make an exception for you probably would have made you very happy. I’m sure this manager will get an ear full for the attention this will bring on them. I wouldn’t be surprised if you get some free stuff out of it.

    As for not using the green card as a valid form of ID, that is just plain stupidity. God bless America, hypocrites.

  14. chargernj says:

    The problem here as far as I’m concerned is that they even require any ID at all. I can understand why they might need the credit card that it was charged to originaly but ID. What if I was ruturning something for my wife who couldn’t make it back to the store. This country is becoming more and more of a surveilance society. Pretty soon you won’t be able to go anywhere or do anything kind of business without presenting “your papers please”, just like Nazi Germany.

  15. Anitra says:

    As a retail-systems programmer, this screams “poor software design” to me. It sounds like the return software expects a driver’s-license-style ID, and will not accept numbers in other formats.

    It doesn’t excuse the rudeness of the cashier and manager, but it’s possible that they have no other way of accepting a return. It sounds like a stupid policy put in place because of stupid software.

  16. not_seth_brundle says:

    @jeffj-nj: I like your style!

    I could MAYBE understand why they need ID if she’s returning something without a receipt, because they want to track such returns. But if she has a receipt, is returning the item to the same credit card used to purchase it, and/or is willing to accept store credit, I don’t really get why they need to see any ID at all, much less a driver’s license or state ID.

  17. bostonguy says:

    Well, she tried to return the bra and they wouldn’t take it. Since she has the credit card & receipt from the purchase, just call the bank and request a chargeback!

  18. faust1200 says:

    Do you know what Victoria’s secret is? She dresses like a slut.

    I would try a different store. Perhaps you will get different results.

    Also the effort involved in getting the state ID is probably 10 percent of what you expended writing that letter. You have some legitimate beefs but jumping through hoops is the real American pasttime. Happy July 4th ..sigh.

  19. kimsama says:

    Wouldn’t you want to carry around a state ID or a passport in case, I don’t know, you wanted to buy alcohol? My husband has a green card and I know for a fact it’s not acceptable as ID for alcohol purchases. But plenty of people I know use their passport (which she must have), so couldn’t she just carry that with her? And wouldn’t it make sense to carry ID besides the green card, especially since she states in the story that she “[doesn't] even like to carry it around with [her]“? (Stupid statement, though — you MUST carry it at all times if you’re a permanent resident — interestingly, by law residents have to carry ID, and citizens do not).

    I’ll admit that it sounds like the clerk was a douche, but seriously, it’s not hard at all to carry standardized ID so you can have the info the clerks need. If it’s not good for beer, makes sense that it’s not good for everything. I mean, I wouldn’t expect them to accept my birth certificate for ID, even though it’s a valid governmental form of ID. And their computers are probably standardized to cut costs and limit fraud, which is a good thing.

    Yes, VS owes her an apology for the rudeness of the clerk and manager, but she needs to stop whining about what type of ID is acceptable and just bring a generally-accepted form of ID with her like everyone else.

  20. upset_Consumer says:

    The problem is that Leslie has a ID. It’s a government issued ID. Who brings their passport everywhere with them? Who cares about a state ID. She has a government issued ID, so why should she need to get another piece of ID. I think that the people who are stating, she needs to get a state ID is missing the point. Why is this place asking for only a certain type of ID. It makes no sense. She has shown ID, so give her back her money.

  21. k8supergrover says:

    I’m confused…in the states you have to show ID to return something?

    Any time I’ve ever had to return something I just show them the recipt and give them the credit card I used to pay for it with and I’m done.

  22. sam says:

    I had a problem a few years ago with VS refusing to take an exchange (the underwire on a relatively new bra actually snapped in half while I was wearing it). All I wanted was an exchange, but they refused and were incredibly rude to me. However, when I called to complain, the phone customer service people couldn’t have been nicer. Not only did they send me a replacement bra, but also a gift certificate (I can’t remember the amount, but it was enough to actually buy a few things in the store). I would be surprised if she didn’t receive some sort of satisfaction from non-store customer service.

    (I say this as someone who actually hasn’t shopped in VS for a few years – I now buy higher quality bras that actually fit correctly and generally don’t fall apart in the first place).

  23. Freedomboy says:

    For 57 years I have never driven a car. This simple fact has resulted in no end of hassles. I had Washington state ID when I applied for my PASSPORT and this was not good enough. THe moron actually photocpoied my VISA card and had my wife write a note that I was who I said I was. My US DD 214 form? Useless, Birth cert.? useless, of course. I have the letter of apology from the state dept following my complaints regarding the poor and insulting service. That green card is 50 times the ID I still have, ‘cept that Passport which, get this, the clerk told me I was :lucky” to get. Along with the DD 214 I bet.

  24. andros says:

    Do not get me wrong: Victoria’s Secret’s treatment of customer and sales rep’s & manager’s behavior: unacceptable (or at least it should be) in a consumer society.

    But.

    I know for a fact that many businesses do not accept Green Card as Photo ID – I was even warned about that by USCIS interviewer after I got approved for mine. And while I do not understand why USGov doesn’t do something about it (except for them not giving a rat’s ass about immigrants), the scenario is so perpetually-occuring and so often mentioned that no GC holder should be allowed to be victimized just because they never bothered to get informed.

    Also, the straw that broke the camel’s back: if one wishes to live and operate within a society, one should ensure one has the ability to do so. It is far from reasonable to rely on one’s foreign passport and “photo credit card” as means of personal identification. It is far from unreasonable to expect the same person to spend an afternoon and a minute amount of cash to acquire a drivers’ license or a non-driver state ID in order to insure seamless integration into existing system. Expecting special treatment because one cannot be bothered to acquire proper and infallibly accepted form of ID is no less ridiculous than a retailer expecting a birth certificate, DNA sample and three eyewitnesses to process a $25 refund.

  25. jeffj-nj says:

    @faust1200:
     
    No, do YOU know what Victoria’s Secret is? They sell more than just “sluttly” lingerie. They also sell a wide variety of completely “accpetable in your world” plain-jain bras and panties, both of which, my girlfriend insists, are amoung the most comfortable available.

    I can’t tell by your screenname if you’re male or female. If the former, I suppose this information will serve only to possibly prevent you from sounding ignorant in the future. But, if you’re female, maybe try giving the store a second chance. You may thank me.

    Of course, you may also piss off RR, and I’m on her side right now, so wait at least long enough to assume that RR’s elevated request to VS CEO’s has reached a satisfactory conclusion before rushing off to buy those new comfy undies.

    PS: The aforementioned girlfriend also has one of those outfits I assume you’re under the impression makes up VS’s entire line of merchandise, and it’s wonderful! That is all.

  26. misskaz says:

    I don’t understand the “doesn’t accept this number format” excuse. Because state drivers licenses all have DIFFERENT number formats. My Illinois one has letters and numbers, and is long and has dashes in it. My old Texas one was just a dozen or so digits. I’m pretty sure my New York one was also different, although that was a long time ago. Unless, I guess, VS also won’t let you return something if you live in another state.

    So if the system can take into account all those different formats, I see no reason why it couldn’t accept whatever form the number on a green card takes.

  27. The Walking Eye says:

    Victoria’s Secret’s completely in the wrong here. There is no need for a license in the first place, and the credit card with her picture should have sufficed.

    I’d be interested to know what race the poster is, as it wouldn’t surprise me at all if she was denied solely because she’s middle eastern looking. Call me cynical if you must.

  28. jeffj-nj says:

     
    Oops. “plain-jain”=”plain-jane”. Sorry. That was dumb.

  29. bilge says:

    “I was reduced to tears as I stormed out of the store though a chaotic crowd of weekend shoppers. Yes I had caused a scene, and yes, I was utterly embarrassed.”

    I’d hate to see what happens when you’re faced with a true crisis.

  30. mac-phisto says:

    it’s times like these that i think a little organized “retail disobedience” is in order. get a load of ppl to go into that location, buy ~$100 of stuff, leave the store & then have every one come back at the same time to swamp the store with refunds…without the “proper” id.

    the only way to combat policies like this is to expose their idiocy.

  31. MaxRC says:

    I would not have stormed out in tears, I would have stood in front of the cashiers, called my credit card company, and initiated a chargeback. I would then remind the manager that it would cost them a lot more than the cost of the bra to deal with a chargeback, while the result is the same for me: I get my money back.

  32. tolima1 says:

    The point here is not if she has a Green card or Not. The point here is what as a consumer we can do to stop this type of abuse from the corporations. Today is Victoria Secret tomorrow maybe Walmart.

  33. RonDMC says:

    @Kimsama

    How is a form of identification granting permanent residence by the U.S. Federal Government not considered standardized ID? I don’t think it would occur to your average person that only a driver’s license or non-driver’s license state ID count as valid, “standard” forms of identification.

    VS asked for photo ID. She provided photo ID. She had a receipt, the card the purchase was made on, and several forms of photo identification. She was trying to return a bra, not apply for a mortgage loan. Completely unacceptable on VS’ part, and I hope she gets some compensation for her trouble from corporate.

    Having said that, I’d probably get myself a state ID after this fiasco for practical reasons, but she shouldn’t need to.

  34. tvh2k says:

    _Charge_back_. The store allowed for returns within a set period, you attempted and was denied a return. Charge back the purchase and keep the merchandise!

  35. Mom2Talavera says:

    Victoria’s Secret bras suck. All the ones I’ve owned have fallen apart! They are shit bras(fraying or wire sticking out/breaking) with a big mark-up!I just go to Target or Kohls for my bras.
    Now when I do splurge I go to [www.agentprovocateur.com] instead of VS.

    I love stores like Target that keep your purchase information in their system for like 30days so you can return stuff without a receipt.(Make sure you have the card you made the purchase with though)

  36. RandomHookup says:

    I occasionally used my military ID when asked for ID (back when I had one) and was actually denied entry to a bar because they didn’t recognize it (I was over 30, so I wasn’t even close to the limit — except maybe too old). Needless to say, I found a better place to spend my pitiful money.

  37. kimsama says:

    @RonDMC: Hey, don’t blame me, I’m not the government. I don’t know why that’s the policy, but I do know from having an immigrant for a husband (and as andros said above), that the USCIS gives you the rundown of what your green card can and cannot be used for. Not knowing what you can use it for is like not knowing the law — I wouldn’t recommend it if you want to avoid crappy situations. (Most states will display on their state websites what ID is acceptable for specific situations).

    So maybe it wouldn’t occur to your average person, but a resident (or someone who had to go through the ordeal to get a green card with them) would know about it.

    Regardless, it’s pretty silly that VS didn’t accept it, but they probably wouldn’t accept other forms of photo ID either, like a student ID. That’s a crappy return policy on their part, but I assume it’s set up that way to protect against fraud (not sure how much fraud is being committed in the “returning bras” arena, though, hahaha). Complaining should help rectify the sitch.

    But still, she should get state ID (or carry her passport) if she wants to do stuff like buy alcohol (and really, who’s buying lingerie without buying alcohol? They go together like a horse and carriage ^_^).

  38. Amry says:

    So the cashier/manager being rude to her was inexcusable…but I highly doubt these people got to choose what types of IDs work with the return system and what types don’t. Chances are the system requires entry of info from the IDs and, though it’s dumb, indeed deems the numbers from student IDs and green cards invalid.

    Les Wexner is probably the person who can do something here, not the manager in the store.

  39. selianth says:

    RR says that she knows she could get a state issued non-driver ID card, but hasn’t NEEDED it. Read her 2nd to last paragraph. If all of her forms of ID have been sufficient before, it seems silly to suggest that she’s an idiot for not having it.

  40. fredmertz says:

    She could sure use a lesson in writing succinct complaint letters.

  41. Peeved Guy says:

    This is the best written complaint letter that I’ve seen in quite sometime. Really, it seems like quite a few of the letters posted on the Consumerist are riddled with misspellings, run-ons and gramnmatical horrors (much like my post). I think it is always to the consumers benefit to state their grievance in a clear and comprehensible manner.

    While I understand the desire of retailers to try to prevent fraud by asking for ID, but seriously…? They had to be a bunch of bitches over 25 lousy dollars? The manager couldn’t just make an “executive decision” and make the return?

    This reminds me of when I was in the Sir Force and tried to use my military ID to buy beer when I was on leave. The shop owner took one look at it and handed it back to me, shaking his head. I had to use my drivers license because he didn’t recognize the military ID. That just made me laugh.

  42. enm4r says:

    I can’t believe the amount of people here that are actually telling her she should be expected to carry around a drivers license or a no DL state ID. That’s ridiculous. As for the CO law previously mentioned requiring that, that’s also ridiculous, but if that’s the law, well that’s the law.

    I don’t know the first thing about carrying a green card and using it as valid photo ID. If it’s standard practice to not consider it standard photo ID, that’s fine. But I do know a little about non DMV issued ID, and that’s because I ran into problems using a military ID many places. I understand people are confused by it if they don’t see it often, but I’ve had people come out and tell me “I can’t use that, it has to be government ID” only for me to respond with “That is a United States military identification card, it doesn’t get more government than that.”

    Usually after some pressure they accept it, but I’ve had many places tell me “it doesn’t have a drivers license number, I can’t take it.” I’ve pressured managers/bouncers/whoever to show me where in their terms it state’s I must show “a government issued ID card that contains a drivers license number” and a few times I’ve given up the struggle. If they want to make showing a DL/State ID card mandatory, announce it and follow the rule, but don’t give me some BS about government ID and then not accept it if it doesn’t fit what you thought you wanted.

    /rant

  43. kimsama says:

    @enm4r: I agree that the bars that didn’t accept your military ID are wrong. At least according to my state’s laws for alcohol purchases:

    Types of Acceptable ID
    The acceptable types of identification for determining age are: valid driver’s license issued by any state or Washington, D.C., armed forces identification card, U.S. passport, foreign government visa, or a valid photo identification card issued by Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.
    (3 VAC 5-50-20) (from VA’s state page).

    However, it also states on the same page that a green card is not acceptable.

  44. allstarecho says:

    As someone in a business that checks I.D. with about 80% of the transactions I do, I know that many companies have policies on acceptable forms of I.D. My company only accepts a NON-EXPIRED driver’s license, state issued I.D. card (looks like a DL but isn’t) or a military I.D. No other form is acceptable.. not your work I.D., not your library card, not your credit card that has a picture on it and NOT YOUR EXPIRED DL or EXPIRED state issued I.D. That’s our policy. If you can’t abide by it, shop somewhere else. This policy helps me keep my job and keeps prices lower because it prevents fraud – fraud that costs companies millions of dollars a year and that cost gets passed on to who? YOU, the customer.

  45. nachas101 says:

    RR was dead right.
    I don’t think the customer is always right, but in this case she was.
    Here we have a failure of corporate policy, plain and simple. In the quest for marketing data, they forgot they are in the business (as all businesses are) of customer satisfaction.
    Why do they want an ID? So they can make sure to pepper you with catalogs and keep track of your spend and return habits to help marketing drones find ways to get more of your dollars.
    Don’t shop there anymore if they don’t apologize and refund your money. Period.
    Companies today think it is acceptable to force people to give information so they can try to get you to spend more money. I get a freakin’ catalog from Ebay every month. A catalog. From an on-line auction site.
    You want to save the environment? Stop sending me a paper catalog to a site I use to buy cheap crap for cheaper. I know I can buy stuff there. That’s why I have an account. I don’t need inspiration to shop at ebay.
    This system is a breakdown at the corporate level.
    I shop at a store called kohls. Why? Because all I need to return something is my receipt.

  46. Dervish says:

    @jeffj-nj: I’m happy for your girlfriend, but I’ve never had a bra from Victoria’s Secret that fits well – not the frilly fun stuff and not the “plain-jane” stuff. Maybe they do if you fall near the middle of the body shape bell curve, but if you’re near the ends (say, large cup size and small band) you usually can’t find your size, and when you can it just doesn’t work. That’s been my experience at least. And I’ve also had issues with their price-to-quality ratio – $45 for a crappy bra? Forget it – I’ll spend $10-$20 more on a Wacoal that fits and will last me for a few years.

    So as not to have a completely off-topic post, I agree with the customer. We’re only hearing one side of the story, of course, but it’s ridiculous that a receipt with the relevant credit card isn’t enough. Especially when she produced photo ID proving that she was the card’s owner. From one of the posts above, it sounds like she should call corporate to get some closure.

  47. engunneer says:

    Another thing to keep in mind is that most citizens have never even seen a Green Card before. I only had one friend in college that had one, so I have seen one, but I don’t think I’ve seen one since. I was also going to mention the different formats in different states.
    [www.diogenesllc.com]
    It would be a messy piece of regex to parse all the formats.

  48. l3mmings says:

    There are multiple issues here. First we have a retail store refusing a return despite RR’s production of her original purchase receipt and credit card. Their “new” return policy requires photo identification even with a receipt. WHY? Issue number two is them refusing to honor the legitimacy of her green card. That is just flat out wrong. I don’t care how easy it is to get a state issued ID, but why should she have to? Just to satisfy an underwear store’s return policy? Third, those of you who say she doesn’t have a “right” to return the bra, well I’m fairly certain, that like every other retail receipt, there is a return policy on the back of her receipt that sets forth the terms and conditions of a return with receipt. That can certainly be construed as creating a contractual obligation on the part of the retailer to honor that return statement assuming RR met all the conditions. I highly doubt the return policy on the back of the receipt says anything about the types of photo ID VS deems acceptable. Wake up people, this is a huge privacy issue let alone just horrible customer service and on some level, plain and simple discrimination!

  49. l3mmings says:

    Sorry, I just read the article again, and I absolutely love the last paragraph about a biometric retrun system. She is dead on. This is where we are headed people!!

  50. royal72 says:

    tie the bra to a rock and throw it through the window.

  51. Lula Mae Broadway says:

    @B: “Traumatic” – no, but New Yorkers DON’T DRIVE – they don’t need to. And why on earth would anyone schlep to the DMV if they don’t have to.

  52. wring says:

    i used to work at macy’s and it makes me laugh when people say “don’t you need my ID?” when returning stuff. i say, any store that asks for ID despite the receipt being present AND the customer asking for credit back to the original form of payment is just, well, hella ghetto (or have ghetto customers). But wow, victoria’s secret, ooooooOooh! I agree w/ the power trip/vapid bitch comment. I knew someone who worked at VS and her coworkers made her cry :))

  53. wring says:

    @royal72: I loled

  54. kaikhor says:

    To comment on the VS bras being not worth it, IF you are the middle sizes, they do have the most comfortable bras and are worth the price. When I was in high school the most comfortable bra I ever owned was bought there and worth every penny. Now, post kids, the few bras they have in my size are very uncomfortable and I rarely bother looking there anymore.

    As for this woman, her Green Card has her picture, it has her name, I am going to believe it says that it’s a US Permanent Resident Card on there, showing it’s a government ID. That should work. If they need to put numbers in their system, they should have just entered something like 999999 or whatever number/letter combo they need. I could even understand why the cashier could not, but the manager should have the say so to override and since she showed 3 forms of picture ID, one of which is from the US Government, it should have been accepted.

    I worked for a bookstore in San Diego, CA and saw EVERY type of government ID you can imagine. If it had a picture, showed it was from a government entity (whether a state id, military, green card, whatever) we could and would accept it, no problems.

    This poor woman should not have had to go through this hassle and I hope VS Corporate does right by her.

  55. CyGuy says:

    I’m baffled that she needs any ID at all to return a purchase when she has the receipt. I guess in theory someone could pull a scam of shoplifting an item, buying an identical item, then returning one of them – but I don’t see how that is more of problem than ordinary shoplifting.

    It’s particularly puzzling from a company that does so much of its business through mail order.
    If calling customer service doesn’t bring you any luck – then maybe buy the same product online and then return the defective one? Or as recommended above, work with your credit card company on a charge-back.

  56. Boo says:

    I am just disturbed that you can return any form of undergarment at all. When I buy bras from lingerie stores they are final sale because of the nature of the item.

  57. Dervish says:

    @Boo: Ish, good point.

  58. nachas101 says:

    I like boobs, so I think all bras ought to be returned.
    Period.
    The line forms to the left.

  59. hoo_foot says:

    What’s even more appalling is that this occurred in Manhattan! With the number of immigrants and tourists in NYC, you’d think that they would be more flexible concerning IDs.

    And for the people telling her to just get another ID, that’s not the point. A photo ID issued by the federal government should have been more than sufficient.

  60. acambras says:

    I’d like to point out a few things (some of which have been pointed out in previous commments):
    1) RR has never needed to get a NY non-DL ID before now. And if anyone knows about jumping through hoops, it’s someone who’s dealt with the INS.
    2) She’s returning a fucking $25 bra at Victoria’s Secret. She’s not taking out a loan. She’s not applying for a job at NORAD. She’s not signing up for flight lessons.
    3) The stuff about “the computer won’t take it” has got to be BS. What if the person is from Connecticut or New Jersey? Surely their DL # formats are different. Maybe it was just a cover for some smug, stuck-up, $8/hour retail employee with a chip on her shoulder to make her own little personal statement about the immigration debate. Or maybe her VS panties were in a bunch and riding up in the back.
    4) I don’t know if RR’s first language is English, but her letter is great. A helluva lot better than some of the letters posted on Consumerist, which are riddled with misspellings, incorrectly-used words, and grammatical errors.

  61. Marce says:

    Honestly, making her spend more just to get another piece of identification is silly. But then, buying multiple items at least once per month at Victoria’s Secret? Does she regularly light the items on fire?

  62. MommaJ says:

    I’ve never had to show an ID to return an item with receipt EVER, and would never shop at a store that required one. No store needs my personal information on a return any more than they need it on a purchase–it’s just another identity theft opportunity. Victoria’s Secret is renowned for selling badly designed bras anyway (they’re a joke in the industry), so now there are two reasons not to shop there.

  63. bombaxstar says:

    That`s odd that they needed an ID with a reciept but…

    The cashier had no excuse when she was rude, but not accepting her green card might not have been her fault.

    have any of you assholes ever worked in retail, the ones who are all up in arms, “BOYCOTT LOL”? There are some circumstances at Sears when the POS system asks for “DRIVERS LICENCE OR STATE I.D. CARD”. That`s it. No green card or whatever.

    Shitty requirement but still.

  64. Gloria says:

    @Boo: Really? I don’t see why bras should be final sale. They only come into contact with your breasts … nothing any more unsanitary than a shirt or a pair of pants. If a man can return a shirt, why can’t a woman return a bra? What if a woman doesn’t wear a bra under a shirt she wants to return?

    Most of the places I patronize have no problem with exchanging or returning a bra — a service I find particularly important since the fit and comfort of a bra for a woman can be so tricky.

  65. gamble says:

    Some people here seem to think that it’s not the store employees’ faults because they couldn’t get an ID number that their computer would recognize. However, even if that were the case, the manager still should have done anything possible to get the item returned. She really should have called corporate herself and seen what could be done instead of just turning the customer away.

  66. fredmertz says:

    they want the ID because Limited Brands (the parent of VS) is very aggressive about tracking abuse returners and limiting/denying their right to return things.

  67. yg17 says:

    less text more pics kthxbye

  68. DJFelix says:

    I don’t see the problem here. As many other posters have already pointed out, it’s very easy to obtain a state ID, if she truly has a valid Resident Alien card. If she doesn’t have that … she may be out of luck with the state ID, but she should still have a passport from her country of origin.

    My guess here is that we are only hearing her version of the truth, and that there is more to the story than we are lead to believe. I’ve been a faithful VS customer for years, and have always been treated courteously, even when returning for whatever reason.

    I travel abroad quite frequently, and when I attempt anything that requires ID, I show my passport. It’s really that simple. If I was in her country of origin, and attempted to return something, and I showed some piece of paper or whatever from that government, I would expect similar treatment.

    Resident Alien’s are guests in this country, and a lot of people seem to forget that. When you are a guest in another country, you are expected to follow their rules, according to their culture. Many retailers are responding to increased fraud by requiring either a valid -*state*- issued ID, or a valid passport.

    The comment of the computer not accepting the numbers is most likely a valid one. A driver’s license is issued by a STATE … not the federal government. A Resident Alien card is not a passport either, so it doesn’t fall into that category either.

    I’ll keep shopping there, and she’s free to boycott whatever she wants. I am sure we all hear this kind of whining on a regular basis, but I don’t really pay it much attention.

  69. eli_b says:

    How hard is it for the store manager to put in the numbers 555-555-5555 or whatever combo it took? She produced the receipt, the credit card with her PICTURE and her green card with her PICTURE. I think her frustration came from being in line so long and then putting up with a bunch of bullshit over a simple return. Its NEW YORK CITY, 3/4 of the people there don’t have a drivers license. I smell a gift card coming.

  70. faust1200 says:

    @jeffj-nj: Sorry I forgot to add the “For those with a partial or no frontal lobe the following line is a joke.” disclaimer. As far as ignorance goes, you are firmly in the lead. Congrats.

  71. a_m_m_b says:

    @chargernj: pretty soon? sorry, for many things & places that day is already here.

  72. Michael says:

    As an alien living permanently in a foreign country (not the US), I sympathise. But to say that not accepting your residence permit is “an attack on my identity” is just plain silly, and this person knows it. Do you really identify yourself solely as “an immigrant”? I sure as hell don’t.

  73. legerdemain says:

    Gah.

    So simple, the solution here. I worked retail for well over ten years, and I was never presented with one of these documents. I’ve had a person arrested for fraud, I’ve refused transactions for lack of ID. Following the rules is good thing. Knowing when the rules don’t fit may be even more important.

    Here is how a properly functioning retailer be set up so this letter would never have been written:

    1) Explicitly declare in training materials that this is or is not an acceptable ID. Verify the training with testing, and make the list easily available to cashiers.

    2) Between good staffing and good training, make sure your employees are empowered to make the right decisions in this situation. Cash registers that take ID numbers are great. Cash registers that can do a refund without ID numbers when needed are better. It’s understandable require management to bypass the ID entry if it’s an odd ID type, because cashiers are always in a hurry and many will skip steps if given a chance.

    3) Empower managers to do nearly everything in the store. The manager needs the ability to look at a product and know that it came from their store, then look at a receipt and know that the customer is valuable, then ignore a policy that doesn’t make sense to the situation. No retailer should drop iron policies from above, because they should be smart enough to know that they can’t think of everything. If you staff the manager positions properly, your customers will love you.

  74. palegreenstars says:

    I’m going to ahead and disagree with most of you. She had federally issued identification, the store should have processed the refund. If the system can’t accept green card numbers, the system needs to be fixed. Federal identification > corporate business policy. I don’t agree that it was an “attack” on her identity, but I can understand her frustration and feeling of being discriminated against. VS needs to change their computer system, and they should have – at the very least – apologized for THEIR mistake.

  75. Ravenwaift says:

    I would guess that VS tracks returns. As far as I know, you can’t resell underwear, so return abuses cause VS more problems than it would an electronics store. An electronics store may still be able to sell the item or get credit from the manufacturer.

    Most people are not familiar with picture IDs other than state issed. The cashier would have no way of knowing how to tell a fradulent Permanant Resident Card from a real one. People who return items to scam the company will create fake IDs. Saying that the PRCs are complex means nothing- If you’ve never seen a US dollar how do you know monopoly money isn’t real?

    I think that in the situation described the cashier was rude. However, a store can’t be required to accept returns on merchandise that isn’t to your liking, so they should be given the right to prevent abuse and fraud. Really, they don’t have to accept the return at all- there was nothing wrong with the bra.

  76. clickable says:

    BY THEKAPIL AT 10:40 AM
    No. You have a right to free speech, but to return merchandise, you don’t
    Huh? Of course she does! Her right to return is printed directly on her receipt, which spells out the merchant’s conditions for the return.

    This person seems to have met all the criteria but unfortunately ran into two ignorant and stubborn employees who just dug in their heels and made a bad call even worse. i hope and believe her letter to corporate will get her an apology and appropriate compensation.

  77. Steel_Pelican says:

    Many retailers require ID now to track returns as a way of preventing return abuse, and employee fraud.

    Return Abuse = Customers over-using the return system- “renting” clothes for the weekend, etc.

    Employee Fraud = An employee rings up a fake return, and pockets the refund.

    I doubt that VS’s POS software is incapable of accepting the #’s on a green card- it’s likely a blank field, and will accept X amount of numbers and characters. This is the result of store employees not being trained enough to handle an unusual ID card, and blamed the computer.

  78. QuirkyRachel says:

    Ouch. Yeah, I’m an international student advisor and I work with DHS and USCIS. Let me tell you that the green card ain’t something you dismiss as inconsequential. Go after ‘em, hon!

  79. QuirkyRachel says:

    And isn’t it ironic that the retailers are more vigilant about checking official id’s for return fraud, but not for hiring people who actually have the right to work?

  80. mermaidshoes says:

    i’ve been rejected when trying to use my passport to buy beer (i had just lost my driver’s license and hadn’t gotten a replacement yet). the bartender claimed it was a “venue decision” not to accept passports. i concur it’s pretty ridiculous that something that takes *much* more time, money and effort to get than a driver’s license can be rejected so easily. and i don’t think i’ve ever seen a green card, but it sounds like a driver’s license would be much easier to fake.

    also, if victoria’s secret’s online FAQ applies to their retail locations (which it may or may not), it looks like pretty much anything can be returned anytime:

    “Refunds will be credited in the same form as they were paid if an item is returned within 90 days of purchase. If an item is returned more than 90 days after purchase, a return will be administered in the form of a merchandise credit redeemable with your next purchase.” [www2.victoriassecret.com]

  81. l3mmings says:

    @Ravenwaift: Your argument is non sequitur. Victoria’s Secret DOES have a return policy that allows customers to obtain a refund.

    It’s not about a store being required to accept a return because the product wasn’t to the customer’s liking. It’s about Victoria’s Secret honoring the return policy that is clearly advertised on the back of the purchase reciept. I can understand if at the time of the purchase, RR was clearly informed (via signage or some other form or notification) that in order to return the item, she would need to produce certain forms of photo identification, of which, a permanent resident card is not sufficient. She could have then opted to terminate the transaction. Ex post facto notification of specific exceptions to the photo id requirements is simply not fair.

    Finally, everyone who is making a big deal about “returning bras…ewwww,” GET OVER IT! RR never said it was worn. She said it was a gift and her mother didn’t like the color. If you honestly think stores don’t take back worn clothing, then you live in a cave. What’s the difference between returning a t-shirt or a bra? Yes, returning underwear is a bit of a different story, but get real, pick the most exclusive retailer you can imagine and bring along a microscope. I guarantee their panties will be crawling will all sorts of nasty things. This is why, ladies and gents, god invented hot water, Tide and something I like to call THE WASHING MACHINE!!!

  82. Trackback says:

      Man Karen’s dog is foxy like a wolf.  We shot some Tao Lin video from the Royal Oak Salon. We laughed too loudly and the camera shook, but the poetry is the thing after all.  Here is Anna McDonald’s reading at that lovely event.

  83. puka_pai says:

    @Ravenwaift: The cashier would have no way of knowing how to tell a fradulent Permanant Resident Card from a real one.

    I bet the cashier would not be able to tell the difference between a Hawaii drivers’ license and a real one, either. So they should only accept NYS licenses, then?

    Here’s one thing nobody has commented on: If the cashier had the right to reject a valid, US government-issued, form of identification then what’s stopping her from rejecting some other equally valid form? What if RR gets that NYS ID and the cashier decides that only drivers’ licenses are acceptable?

    Yeah, I’ve had my military ID refused more than once, too.

  84. girly says:

    THEKAPIL, she wasn’t saying she had the right to return the merchandise out of some grandiose sense of entitlement, but because it said so on the receipt.

  85. youwantedahero says:

    Okay, I got tired of hearing some of this….

    Yes, the cashiers were rude in the way that they handled it, but their systems are only capable of accepting certain types of ID. I work at The Limited, and we actually have to SCAN the IDs and run them through The Return/Exchange system, which is independent of our POS. This is a company-wide policy amongst Limited Brands (which is actually not our parent company anymore, but we still use it).

    It is unfortunate that she was treated poorly but that really is the way it is. It makes me sad that no one in the store bothered to explain it to her in a kind manner because I never ever treat customers that way and am consistently shocked when others do.

  86. angies717 says:

    I work at victorias secret and this is why the manager wouldn’t take her return.. I guess people don’t realize people steal around $1 billion a year and you wonder why our prices are high it’s partially because of the thieves!! yes she had a receipt, they can make fake ones because they steal our register paper. regarding the receipt the return policy is on the back it says a valid ID is “US state issued ID or Diver license, Canadian DL, Military ID, or passport”. I know at my store this is displayed at the register while you’re purchasing. We need the ID to scan into a machine; this is to catch the thieves, if you return too much you can be denied. So this whole process is to stop the people from stealing, so the cost of bras don’t go up, Its for your protection!! so get mad at the people who steal! Honestly this is just as annoying to us, it’s not like it’s fun for us to have to keep making new rules to keep people from stealing