Ann Taylor Changes Terms Of Sale After Purchase?

Update: Several readers have pointed out that Ann Taylor’s return policy says items with prices ending in .44 or .88 are automatically deemed “Final Sale” items. Colleen is stuck with four extra dresses because Ann Taylor marked the items “Final Sale.” The problem is, they did this after she ordered and paid for them. As she notes in her email below, she has proof on her order confirmation that the dresses were not marked “Final Sale” when she bought them. She also has previous order confirmations where items have been clearly marked “Final Sale.” Now she wants to know how to get Ann Taylor to do the right thing.

I read your site often, and I now have a situation of my own that I would like to share with you. I am hoping that you might be able to help me or provide some guidance as to how I should proceed.

I ordered eight bridesmaid dresses from Ann Taylor on November 2. The dresses were on sale for $69.44. Even though I only needed four dresses, I decided to order eight after checking the return policy, which stated that I could return the unworn merchandise for 90 days. I did this so my bridesmaids could try on the extra dresses to ensure that they ended up with one that was the right size, and I planned to send the ones that did not fit back to the store. Like many women, I often order two sizes when I am buying clothes online, and send the wrong size back. This is not an unusual practice.

Two days later, I checked Ann Taylor’s site out of curiosity to see if the dresses were still on sale. They were, but the site indicated that they were marked “Final Sale.” The price was the same. I was very relieved that I had the opportunity to buy all 8 before they went on Final Sale. I double checked my confirmation to ensure that I had not
purchased the Final Sale dresses, and I had not.

Today, I got home and opened the box of dresses. The printed receipt indicates that the dresses were Final Sale and therefore cannot be returned. This leaves me with four extra bridesmaid dresses that I am now apparently unable to return. I called Ann Taylor to explain the situation and they told me that there was nothing they could do, even though my confirmation clearly indicated that the dresses were not final sale when I purchased them. The customer service representative, Carolyn, and her supervisor, Connie, continuously stated that the dresses were always Final Sale at the price of $69.44. This may have been the case internally, but the external website available to the customer did NOT indicate anything about final sale until at least November 4. As an aside, I have copies of past confirmations from orders in which I purchased a final sale product, and both the website
and confirmations clearly indicate that. So it’s not that company policy is not to mention that on the confirmation, they do and I have proof. Connie eventually told me to email the customer relations address tomorrow, which I’m sure will get me nowhere.

I am very upset right now about this situation. I am actually a very loyal Ann Taylor customer! I spend a lot of money there each month, and have never had any issues with their customer service. I cannot believe, in this economy, that they would do this to any customer, much less a good one. Ann Taylor changed the terms of the purchase (adding the designation of Final Sale and therefore getting rid of my ability to return the item) after it was sold, which cannot be legal.

There’s always a chargeback, but since you enjoy shopping at Ann Taylor, it would be nice if you could get them to honor their return policy so that you don’t have to escalate it to that level.

Instead of dealing with phone support, consider writing a concise, clear letter explaining the problem, and showing the proof you have of past “Final Sale” notifications. In addition to the details of the situation, let them know the kind of loyal customer you’ve been, both in financial terms and word-of-mouth advertising.

Instead of sending it to the customer service address in Utah, however, try sending it to the executives at the corporate office in New York City.

We’ll include both addresses, just in case you feel like blanketing everyone at once.

Ann Taylor Customer Service
100 Ann Taylor Drive
P.O. Box 571650
Taylorsville, UT 84157-1650
fax: 1-866-232-9266

Ann Taylor Corporate Info
Kay Krill – President & Chief Executive Officer
Michael J. Nicholson – Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer
Barbara Eisenberg – Executive Vice President, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary
Christine M. Beauchamp – President, Ann Taylor Stores
Brian Lynch – President of Corporate Operations

Ann Taylor Corporate Offices
7 Times Sq # 14
New York, NY 10036
(212) 541-3200?
(212) 719-0120?
(you can also try these two numbers: 212-541-3300 / 800-677-6788)

(Photo: Marcin Wichary)

Comments

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  1. dragonfire81 says:

    Aren’t most fitted dresses for weddings and such “Final sale”?

    • Suttin says:

      @dragonfire81:

      They weren’t fitted. She ordered them off the internet. The reason she got 8 instead of 4 was to make sure all her bridesmaids could fit in a dress.

      • Carias says:

        @Suttin: @dragonfire81:

        Sounds like ordering a size or two larger than expected and tailoring the garments would have been a more sensible, and economical, option rather than buying twice as much as what she actually needed.

    • hills says:

      @dragonfire81: Not at Ann Taylor – I did what the OP did – bought several dresses when I was a bridesmaid and returned the ones that I didn’t like – that really is totally normal with mail order items (which they often don’t have in smaller stores).
      Anyway, I’d follow the Consumerist advice and write AT a letter – include a copy of your order confirmation NOT showing the final sale info, as well as possibly another older receipt you may have showing final sale, so they can see the difference. IF that doesn’t work, then by all means chargeback, and let your state’s attorney general know – final sale items have to be clearly marked and it sounds like AT definitely didn’t inform you of the return policy at the time of sale… Little too late to tell you after the sale!

    • LoriLynn says:

      @dragonfire81: I’m thinking, no, not at Ann Taylor. It’s not a traditional bridal store, you’d have to go to a tailor to get them fitted after purchase.

  2. zigziggityzoo says:

    Well that’s no good. At least there’s always the chargeback as a fallback option. Hopefully the corporate office will be of assistance.

    Good luck.

  3. Jage says:

    Dragonfire, if you read the article you would know that these dresses were clearly not fitted, as she bought 4 extra so that her bridesmaids could pick the correct size.

  4. digitalhen says:

    i’ve found the corporate offices of Ann Taylor to be excellent when their Utah offices have come up short. good luck!

  5. floraposte says:

    I just got an order from Ann Taylor and saw their new final sale policy; on my invoice, I believe it actually says “items marked ‘Final Sale’ or ending in .44 or .88″ aren’t returnable.

    I think they’ve only recently gotten around to posting the “Final Sale” disclaimer on the relevant items on the website, as I’m pretty sure I didn’t see any disclaimers there when I placed my order (none of my items ended up falling into the unreturnable category, fortunately for me). My guess is that the OP’s order made it in just before such info was posted on the website, and it’s quite likely she’s not the only one. If so, hopefully corporate will be familiar with this timing glitch and will take the refunds in stride.

    • ToniRockyhorror says:

      @floraposte: This return policy is clearly stated in their Customer Service section of the webpage. All items ending in .44 or .88 are deemed Final Sale (even if the item does not explicitly state “Final Sale,” and therefore not returnable. Seems like she read the first two sentences of the policy and then just stopped.

      If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

      • penuspenuspenus says:

        @ToniRockyhorror: There seems to be a lot of consumer issues on here lately that really aren’t scandal/unfair/unethical/etc. Considering that the information isn’t hard to find

        “All items ending in .44 or .88 are deemed Final Sale (even if the item does not explicitly state “Final Sale,” and therefore not returnable”

        I’m guessing someone isn’t checking facts prior to posting consumer “issues.”

        I just did a quick check on web.archive.org showing January 2008’s cache of the Ann Taylor return page: [web.archive.org]

        The wording for returns is exactly the same.

    • Tsubasa says:

      @ToniRockyhorror: I don’t know about you, but I usually don’t surf to the Customer Service section and read all the fine print before I make a purchase on any web site. Also, I don’t know of any other stores that have “magic prices” like this, so it’s not like you’d be expected to think “that price ends in 44… that may have some significance… I’d better research this.” If the item is final sale, it should be marked as such directly, on the same page.

      If this were in a brick-and-mortar store, they might post the policy on the walls or by the cash register. Putting it on the customer service page is like posting it in the restroom. :P

      • shanoaravendare says:

        @Tsubasa: Actually, many brick and mortar stores have prices in their system that are specifically for Final Sale type items.

        I used to work at a Dollar General and I always made sure to point that out to customers because it isn’t posted anywhere. I seem to remember there being a couple of prices like that at Wal*Mart when I worked there too.

        At least the .44 and .88 thing is pointed out in the customer service section of their website.

  6. DeafChick says:

    According to snopes: Ann Taylor and a bunch of other retailers are closing up shop.

    [www.snopes.com]

    • RevRagnarok says:

      @DeafChick: Did you even read your own link? “The Ann Taylor women’s apparel chain plans to close 117 struggling stores by the end of 2011.” I cannot quickly get a full count, but there are 10 within 35 miles of my zip code in MD according to their website, and I know they’re also in CT so I will assume some are in between. So 117 (over 2 years) does not mean they are “closing up shop.”

      However, I do agree with the snopes.com comment about not giving gift cards. They are among the first things to get wiped when filing bankruptcy.

    • Charmander says:

      @DeafChick: RevRagnarok wasn’t being a dick, the post wasn’t the slightest bit mean. The question was “did you even read your own link?” and I guess we all know the answer to that.

  7. HIV 2 Elway says:

    Time to find 4 more bridesmaids.

  8. HIV 2 Elway says:

    Speaking purely from an operations & profitability standpoint; people who order things with the intent of returning them are the worst customers.

    • juri squared says:

      @HIV 2 Elway Resurrected: I’m pretty sure this sort of thing is accounted for in most internet operations. See also Zappos’ incredibly generous return policy.

    • hills says:

      @HIV 2 Elway Resurrected: I would usually agree, but in this type of case it is the standard and the Ann Taylor sales people encourage this – Keep in mind that many Ann Taylor stores do not carry these dresses, and instead of buying 1 and returning it, then buying another, and returning it, then another,,,…. you can save time & shipping by buying several, then just making 1 return. It’s not as if the dresses are being worn, and then returned – that would be scummy….

    • floraposte says:

      @HIV 2 Elway Resurrected: Not in apparel–the industry depends on ‘em. Sometimes the cost is absorbed through shipping and handling, sometimes through increased good will, sometimes just with the lower operations cost of warehousing merchandise vs. operating brick and mortar facilities.

    • Propaniac says:

      @HIV 2 Elway Resurrected: Whenever I order clothes from a website or catalog, I virtually always order multiple sizes of everything and return the stuff that doesn’t fit. If I couldn’t do that, I wouldn’t order any clothes at all.

    • Mira Mi Huevo!!! says:

      @HIV 2 Elway Resurrected: Totally right… if there ever was a turnoff, it is when you are in a date or something along those lines and you can still see the tag affixed to the clothing of the girl you are with… Cheapo Chick!!!

    • Etoiles says:

      @HIV 2 Elway Resurrected: If women’s sizes were consistent from brand to brand, or even from item to item within the same brand (I have trousers in three different sizes, from one single store, and all fit equally well; this is not uncommon) then perhaps this wouldn’t have to be the dominant mode of online shopping.

      However, it is, and so women will only buy clothes online when “try multiple sizes and return the ones that don’t fit” is a viable option.

      • RamonaLittle says:

        @EtoilePB: We’ve gone somewhat off topic here, but I just wanted to point out that in my experience, Ann Taylor and Ann Taylor Loft have some of the most consistent sizing of any retailer. I know my size in that brand, and I can buy any item in a store or online in that size, and I know it will fit without even trying it on. I might return something if I find the style unflattering, but I’ve never had a problem with size inconsistency at Ann Taylor. This is one reason I’ve bought a lot of clothes from them.

        What I would have done, if I were the OP, is had all the bridesmaids try on a bunch of dresses (of any style) at whatever Ann Taylor store is closest to them to figure out their size, then just ordered those sizes in the bridesmaids dresses. I’d be surprised if they didn’t fit exactly the same.

        That said, there’s no basis for changing the terms of sale after the sale, and Ann Taylor should make this right.

    • Wormfather is Wormfather says:

      @HIV 2 Elway Resurrected: Wow man, you just got comment killed.

      • HIV 2 Elway says:

        @Wormfather is Wormfather: No, from an operations stand point, premeditated returners are less profitable. Rather than just accepting that, retailers would be better suited to work with these customers to ensure the first order is the correct one. Perhaps by more detailed and accurate sizing charts. Or they can just accept their fate, refuse to focus on value added processes, and, you know, close a bunch of stores.

        • Speak says:

          @HIV 2 Elway Resurrected: I always appreciate when retailers provide more detailed and accurate sizing charts. I think the problem here though is the way some retailers conduct their businesses. For example, many retailers don’t carry any (or very few) petite-sized clothing in their stores; if they do sell petite-sized clothing, it tends to be available exclusively through their web sites. And as some other commenters have pointed out, the sizing can be so inconsistent within one brand that, to save on cost and time, it’s more expedient to order several sizes at once. (Maybe it’s different with men’s clothing??) I hate buying clothes in that way, but the retailer hasn’t made it easy.

          I don’t know about the people who buy clothes with the intention of returning them only after they’ve worn them. I don’t know anyone personally who has done that, and I get the sense only high-end retailers with “no questions asked” return policies can afford to conduct business in that way.

          • HIV 2 Elway says:

            @Speak: Exactly, the problem is in how they conduct business. If they focused more on value added things, like size consistancy and accurate sizing charts, things that may take some effort up front but in the long run are virtually costless, they could avoid the labor intensive and expensive steps like recieving, processing and restocking returns. How’s that for a runon sentence?

            If the process described by so many of you is truely common (I don’t know, I’m rather unfashionable), its no wonder AT is planning on closing stores.
            If the process described by so many of you is truely common (I don’t know, I’m rather unfashionable), its no wonder AT is planning on closing stores.

            • floraposte says:

              @HIV 2 Elway Resurrected: The Ann Taylors having trouble are brick and mortar ones; the online sales are still profitable.

              Besides, overall, returnability has been standard in mail order for at least a hundred years (the Sears catalog offered them in 1908), and that’s why people were willing to send their money off. There’s no mail-order apparel that doesn’t do this, same as there’s no mainstream brick and mortar clothing shop thatrefuses to let you try stuff on. If the return model were the problem, all mail-order apparel would be tanking; in fact, Zappo’s has built a roaringly successful business on the model of making returns easier. The much lower overhead saves an awful lot of money, and it’s not like this return model is unique to mail-order, after all–you can return clothes to a brick-and-mortar store just the same.

              Ain’t no way a company’s going to be able to make clothes whose exact fit and flattery you can predict without putting it on your body, and ain’t no way a company refusing customers a chance to investigate goods without committing to them in a field where returnability is standard is going to be successful, especially in skittish economic times. I think you’re positing a merchant’s pipe dream ideal that just doesn’t work in the real world because it asks customers to take on too much financial risk.

  9. EyeHeartPie says:

    Just remember that there is a time-limit for filing chargebacks, depending on which credit card you used. If you plan to keep that as a fall-back option, don’t let AT give you the runaround until your time-limit expires.

  10. Anonymous says:

    The Ann Taylor return policy from their website:
    http://www.anntaylor.com/custserv/custserv.jsp?pageName=Return

    RETURN PRACTICE
    We will accept your return or exchange of unworn, unwashed merchandise by mail. Unwashed, unworn merchandise can also be returned or exchanged at any Ann Taylor location with the exception of select merchandise explicitly noted below.*

    We will credit you for returns accompanied by an original receipt made within 90 days of the purchase for the price paid either in the original form of payment or as a merchandise exchange.

    Returns accompanied by an original receipt made more than 90 days after the purchase will be credited for the price paid either in the form of a merchandise credit** or as a merchandise exchange.

    Purchases of reduced price merchandise that have the words ‘Final Sale’ in the description, and/or a .44 or .88 price ending, are deemed Final Sale and may not be returned or exchanged.

    We will credit you for returns without an original receipt in the form of a merchandise credit for the item’s current selling price on the date of the return. Merchandise without an original receipt with a selling price on the date of the return that is deemed Final Sale may not be returned or exchanged.

    *Does not include Ann Taylor LOFT or Ann Taylor Factory Stores.

    **A merchandise credit for online returns will be issued by e-mail as an E-Gift Certificate. A valid email address must be provided.

  11. HarleyBabb says:

    Considering that they’re in the process of massive layoffs and restructuring in the Corporate Offices in NYC odds are they really won’t take much notice of your written requests. We’re talking about a situation where they’re telling people in the morning that they have a couple of hours to pack up their things and hit the road.

    My advice is to just do the charge back. It’s not like they’re going to refuse your business after that or act like a restaurant and spit in your food after complaining.

  12. tc4b says:

    Re: the policy that items ending in .44 or .88 are automatically “Final Sale.”

    Bullshit. If the item is final sale, say so on the page where it’s for sale. If you have to use a numerical code, found on a different page, you are clearly trying to hide the fact that it is nonreturnable in a business where a lot of returns are normally made.

    Maybe Ann Taylor is legally in the right, but they sure as hell are less than up-front about what is or is not final sale. If you’re going to try to trick your paying customers out of money, then fuck you.

    • ToniRockyhorror says:

      @tc4b: The “numerical code” your talking about is on the page in Customer Service called Returns & Exchanges and is boldly printed in the first section. It is clearly not hidden away somewhere. A person should read the terms and conditions of a sale before making a purchase.

      • supercereal says:

        @ToniRockyhorror: I would have to agree. If you plan on buying with the sole intention of returning, then it’s probably in your best interest to read the “Returns and Exchanges” section of the site. In fact, virtually every online store I buy from has their sales terms on a different, dedicated page.

      • tc4b says:

        @ToniRockyhorror: Be upfront with your customers and mark items FINAL SALE on the page where they are for sale. That’s all I’m saying.

    • Tmoney02 says:

      @tc4b: I guess I’m on the fence on this issue. On the one hand I think its scummy they don’t have anything saying final sale on each items page.

      On the other hand If I knew I would be returning something, or buying something expensive that has even a slight chance of not fitting I would look at the return and exchanges section.

      So basically everyone is wrong ;)

      • floraposte says:

        @Tmoney02: That’s where I was standing, and then I saw that the cached page from January did indeed include “Final Sale” on the items themselves, so I think that’s been in place for awhile.

  13. The Unicorn says:

    I’ve had good customer service experiences with Ann Taylor in the past, so I hope they’ll take care of you when you email them. another option would be to take the dresses to a brick-&-mortar store (if there’s one near you that carries the ‘Celebrations’ line, which I’m assuming the dresses were from) & see if you can return them there. a coworker was recently able to return a “final sale” J. Crew dress purchased online when she went to the shop in person; sometimes it won’t be an issue at all if they still have the item in their inventory.

    the bottom line is that they should honor this, especially since you’re still purchasing four pricey dresses from them & that business should be worth something.

    finally, I’d just like to add that my bridesmaid dresses were from Ann Taylor, & I’m glad I already got married because they’ve totally discontinued all of their green non-flower-girl dresses! so just be glad that at least you got the color you wanted, & didn’t have to suddenly find prepubescent bridesmaids…

  14. Ecks says:

    So, they order and return, are they paying return postage? Or do they expect the company to pay that for them? If so, they’re cutting into their profit margins severely, and not really helping out that business at all.

    • hills says:

      @Ecks: Not sure about the OP, but when I ordered several Ann Taylor bridesmaids dresses AT offered free return shipping – this is precisely why I earlier commented that AT encourages you to buy several, try them on, keep the ones that fit, and return the ones that don’t. It’s standard practice for this type of thing, encouraged by the stores, so people need to quit ragging on the OP for buying something with the intent to return.

    • morganlh85 says:

      @Ecks: Well if the business is so worried about it, they wouldn’t allow returns at all, and wouldn’t offer to pay for return shipping.

    • Tmoney02 says:

      @Ecks: uhhh most places that sell on the internet price in the cost of a certain percentage of returns, especially apparel sites.

      It is expected that some clothes will comeback considering you can’t try them on. These return costs are still the fraction of the cost that would be incurred from opening a Brick and Mortar Store, so no need to weep for them.

  15. bsalamon says:

    I had something similar with Pottery Barn. I filed a chargeback, and returned the item in store, and got back everything except S&H.
    On a sidenote though, since we paid with a gift card, we ended up getting more actual cash back.

  16. Rachel says:

    I recently made some purchases on Ann Taylor Loft’s website of items that were on sale. I was keen to check the fine print, which said that any item ending in .44 and .88 was final sale. Maybe you didn’t read the return policy close enough?

  17. tundey says:

    That’s just plain ridiculous. Customers shouldn’t be expected to understand how arcane and arbitrary pricing codes affect an items return status. What’s next? Items ending with cents divisible by 3 are returnable only on odd days of the week? WTF!?!

    • ShizaMinelli says:

      @tundey: I don’t think it could be more clear than “ending in $.44 or .88″. If a customer isn’t able to understand that, it’s not the stores fault.

      • humphrmi says:

        @ShizaMinelli: I think it could be more clear.

        This item cannot be returned

        At the check-out page. There, no “secret codes”, no hiding behind the number of cents in the item price.

    • johnnya2 says:

      @tundey: You mean customers should be able to claim I am too stupid, lazy or buy to read about returns that are PREPLANNED. Hey, here an idea. Get off your fat lazy ass, and go to the store and have the bridesmaids try them on.
      BTW, idiots who shop this way lead to higher price for those of us who purchase what we want in the amounts we want.

  18. CMU_Bueller says:

    Just file a chargeback. It sucks and it’s a pain in the ass, but the harsh reality is that in today’s world you have to screw the other guy before he screws you.

    • ilves says:

      @CMU_Bueller:

      Chargebacks aren’t a magical cure all. The credit card company can still decide not to do the chargeback if the company in question can prove that the charges are legit and the customer just didn’t read the fine print. You actually have to prove you don’t owe the money in some cases.

    • lauy says:

      @CMU_Bueller:

      There is no Visa or Mastercard chargeback for this situation. I cannot speak for Discover or AMEX. I love Consumerist, but chargebacks are quite often recommended for situations where chargeback rights, as they are called, do not exist.

  19. GMFish says:

    I don’t have a lot of sympathy for her as she readily admits she bought four dresses she had no intention of keeping. However, I see no basis for Ann Taylor to change the terms of the deal after the deal was done. Hopefully someone at the retailer will come to their senses and set everything right.

    And I also hope that “the victim” will learn a lesson and will only buy what she wants without taking advantage of liberal return policies. She’s only hurting the rest of us who have legitimate reasons to return faulty merchandise.

    • Anonymous says:

      @GMFish: But that is what Ann Taylor recommends to do when it comes to their bridesmaids dresses, since they aren’t available in store: Buy extras and return the ones that don’t fit.

    • sixseeds says:

      @GMFish: Did you read the article? She bought 2 sizes of each dress with the intention of keeping the ones that fit her bridesmaids. This is NOT “retail renting.” If she’d only ordered one size, and it hadn’t fit, she’d have to return it anyway and maybe even reorder another size and go through the cycle again.

    • penuspenuspenus says:

      @GMFish: The terms weren’t changed. The OP “accidentally” left out anything that doesn’t paint her as a victim in her write-up.

      The policy was in place even in 2007 (between class boredom with the WayBack Machine!).

      I even spent time making a cart and seeing how easy it was to miss their terms when making an account: Unless you absolutely don’t care about policies, you can’t miss the links.

      Heck, even their shortened policy writeup tells you in larger font and bold to see their full policy for returns, which isn’t exactly a huge write up.

      The Consumerist needs to omit that part stating a change in policy came about afterward since there is no basis for it other than the OP not reading the policy or neglecting to mention it in her writeup.

      • coren says:

        @sodomanaz: If an item is a final sale, it should be marked as such. If I were to buy an item and it didn’t happen to fit, should I be expected to know that it was a final sale based on it not saying final sale on the page?

    • waitaminute says:

      @GMFish: you’re an idiot. Did you not read or understand that apparel retailers online always encourage this type of purchasing? It’s industry standard, not just Ann Taylor. Keep in mind that many store locations do not carry everything available at that retailer’s online store, so instead of buying 1 and returning it, then buying another, and returning it, then another, you will save time & shipping costs by buying several, then just making 1 timely return.

      There’s no indication that OP intended to ‘rent’ any merchandise. That would be inappropriate and unethical, terms that best fit Ann Taylor’s response to OP’s situation.

  20. opal says:

    If “final sale” is stated only on a policy page and not on the individual item (or even the labeled “sale”/”clearance” section), that’s still shady…

    I once ordered shoes from Piperlime that I knew were final sale, ended up not liking, but decided to try to return anyway. I know, bad consumer. *cough* I didn’t call – just shipped them back and crossed my fingers. They processed it and I was happy that I didn’t have to eat the whole cost of an impulse mistake buy. It wasn’t anywhere near $70 x 4 though.

  21. Anonymous says:

    That .44 and .88 rule has been in effect for at least six months now…if she really shops at Ann Taylor so often I find it surprising she wouldn’t know that.

    Also, as a retail slave, (including Ann Taylor for four years!) I can tell you that the “I spend TONS OF MONEY here,” approach doesn’t do much to get you what you want. If she goes into a store and approaches it from that angle, it will probably only set the manager on edge.

    Ann has really cracked down on their return policy starting in, I think, August? People abuse the system (I’m not saying she did, but people do) and especially in these tough economic times they can’t afford to be too accommodating.

    Also, the “Ann Taylor is going out of business” rumor has been around for about ten years now. They might file for bankruptcy or fire half the home office staff, but they’ve been around forever, I doubt they’ll shut their doors.

    An

  22. ztoop says:

    This is what Amex is good for. They let you return anything before 90 days so long as it isn’t returnable to the store, and wasn’t purchased at a store closing event. The one catch though, is that formal wear is excluded. I’m unsure if these dresses would be considered formal.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @ztoop: I don’t think these would be considered formalwear. Ann Taylor doesn’t do anything relating to the wedding industry, in which any kind of clothier would probably be classified as formal wear.

  23. bagumpity says:

    Aside from lemon laws & a few high-pressure sales laws, and of course the doctrine of general merchantability, I don’t believe there’s any legal requirement for a store (online or otherwise) to take back an item. For most items, once you buy it, it’s yours. Accepting returns is usually just “good-policy-is-good-business.” The OP is justified in complaining only for the reason that her expectations as a customer were not fulfilled. As far as I know, she has no legal standing.

    • hills says:

      @bagumpity: Actually, unless a store has a posted policy stating otherwise, the store must accept returns within 30 days (at least in VA) – learned this from my attorney general when I had a problem with an appliance store.

  24. chairman_now says:

    I had something similar happen with Kenneth Cole. I ordered stuff in multiple sizes during an online sale, with the intention of returning at the store. I double-checked the policy when I ordered.

    They changed the policy in the interval it took for the shipment to arrive; store returns would only result in store credit, not a refund.

    I called Amex and did the chargeback thing. It was painless. Kenneth Cole never even responded, so I ended up with both the refund plus the merchandise I didn’t want. The extra stuff went to Salvation Army, who was too happy to get merch that still had the price tags.

    In short, go with the chargeback.

  25. kwsventures says:

    Ann Taylor = retail = going bankrupt.

  26. sixseeds says:

    Sizing charts are meaningless if individual pieces differ significantly, which has been my experience with many clothing retailers. Apparently AT (and the industry in general) have decided that it is cheaper to mass-produce clothing without consistent or standardized sizing and accept returns rather than creating and sticking to an real standard. (Sloppy mass production keeps labor costs down, too.)

  27. J.Heck says:

    Wow, some people act like this is the only company that does this sort of thing.

    Lane Bryant has been doing this stuff for ages. You can’t use their coupons you get in the mail for anything that is “perfectly priced”, and that would be any item in the store/online that ends in .50 or .99. Sometimes these things are marked, sometimes they aren’t.

    Gotta read the fine print, man. It sucks, but that’s how it works.

  28. Speak says:

    What I love is when retailers (J.Crew) trumpet some sale they’re having on ALL such-and-such items and right below it, in fine print, they state the sale only applies to only some of the items.

    F*ck the fine print. If I wanted to waste my time untangling the meaning of fine print, I would have gone to law school.

  29. JoshReflek says:

    how shady…..changing policies after a purchase?

    I thought they have to give advance warning of any change for customers affected by the policy and at least 30 days to reconsider their purchase.

    You cant sell me some crap then tell me “new policy sez no refunds!” and not expect a class action suit if enough people are offended.

    • Anonymous says:

      @JoshReflek: I used to work at Ann Taylor, and the policy has actually been in place for about 2 years, and there was a 90 day advance notice given out with every receipt with every purchase. the fine print sucks, but it matters.

  30. LouisaDawgy says:

    If anyone is interested, I can provide all the contact information you could possibly want for the Senior Leadership @ AT. ;)

  31. Burning pakalolo not even noticing the weather says:

    I order from JCREW online and they ALWAYS put in big bold print that all sales are final if it is super cleareance, low mark down or whatever its called. I think there is even a pop-up message when you click on the sale tab letting you know that all sales are final from this category.

    Grant it I should take the time to read all the customer service fine print but how hard is it for the company to say “Hey this item is final sale, you still want to purchase it?” Not that hard. Why should I have to search and search through their website and small print?

  32. vastrightwing says:

    Dear retailers: Get a clue! People are not buying much today. You need to cater to the few who are still buying. Making people angry, for any reason, will simply cause you to loose more customers. This is not rocket science! But hey! I think there was way too much consumption going on anyway, so instead of the mall having 100 retail outlets, there’s only 50. Maybe when there are only a dozen left, will the few that are left actually be responsive to customer’s needs. Goodbye. You won’t be missed.

  33. Anonymous says:

    I worked at Ann Taylor Loft for over 2 years, and the return policy for all Ann Taylor stores occurred almost 2 years ago. The following link shows the Ann Taylor return policy:

    http://www.anntaylor.com/custserv/custserv.jsp?pageName=Return

    If you read carefully, there is an “and / or” clause that was probably unnoticed when the items were ordered. This is not a new policy, it has been in place for a long time. But good luck!

  34. Telekinesis123 says:

    @HIV 2 Elway Resurrected:

    Well yeah, but this certainly doesn’t apply to this situation so I don’t know why commented.

    Big business breaking its contracts with its customers already has enough cheerleaders.

  35. Anonymous says:

    The OP story sounds a little odd.. if she really did check the return policy (either online, in store, or on any ann taylor receipt), they’ve always said items ending in .44 and .88 are final sale only.

    So if she did check the return policy, how could she not know the dresses were not final sale?

  36. morganlh85 says:

    That stinks. They should have a better way of marking final sale items than simply having a specific price for them.

    Hopefully she can ebay the extras. Good luck.

  37. frodo_35 says:

    The order confirmation did not show final sale even though previous confirmations did show final sale. It seems there was a lag between the sale and the final sale thus final sale should not apply.The store set the procedure when previous confirmations showed final sale. I think she will have no problem with a charge back but I bet the company will handel it at corp. Maybe this posting jumped the gun alittle.

  38. skycrashesdown says:

    As someone who works for one of Ann Taylor’s direct competitors, we absolutely encourage people to order multiple sizes from the website (since our store only carries about 25% of the product that the website does) and then return what doesn’t fit. But we tell customers not to ship it back – return it to our store instead. You don’t pay extra to ship it back, we toss it back out on the sales floor (unless it’s a catalog-only item, in which case it usually winds up in the sale section), and half the time we can sell you something new as well that you didn’t realize you wanted.

    My best advice, regardless of whether or not the OP was hiding information, is to take them to an Ann Taylor store. Associates and managers can often do things that people in call centers across the country can’t, and are much more willing to negotiate face to face.

  39. __Ken__ says:

    “Like many women, I often order two sizes when I am buying clothes online, and send the wrong size back. This is not an unusual practice.”

    Which is why I’m sure there’s a TOS change. This CAN’T be cheap for the company.

    Not that I agree with the practice, I can just see why they’d want to implement something like this.

  40. allil1221 says:

    Same thing happened to me today…

    I purchased several outfits to try on to find the best fit. No items were final sales when I made the purchase, and on my shipping & order confirmation no items were final sales. Today in my package the invoice had FINAL SALE next to every item.

    I spoke with customer service (she initially said I will transfer you to my supervisor, may I have your call back number in case we get disconnected. I gave her my number and then she said my sup. will call you back.. EXCUSE ME? I pointed out the two different stories she gave me and then told me she had to let me go since she had other callers in que.. I asked to hold and she said no, after a long time of going in circles she placed me on hold to speak with Brenda her sup. I got Mark.. He was awesome and said AT is having issues right now with online final sales and I could return my items with no issues. Definitely worth the call.

  41. Parting says:

    Chargeback! It’s false representation. This is dishonest and crooked business.

  42. Anonymous says:

    I recently had a bad experience with Ann Taylor. I bought a shirt right before closing and to be respectful of the employees I did not try it on and the manager expressed her appreciation. She did say that it was final sale but did not say that I couldn’t exchange it. I had already tried on a small in the same shirt but the one I bought was somehow bigger. The same manager was there the next morning but refused to exchange it for an XS. She knew that I had not tried the shirt on to be considerate of her but when I asked her to reciprocate the treatment she refused. It is all principle. The shirt was only $19.88 but I was so mad that I wrote the corporate office citing the nonsense on their website about what ANN CARES about…read it for yourself, they don’t even list customers. They did not even read my letter that I carefully wrote and then sent me a 25% off coupon. What an insult. I wouldn’t shop there for any amount of discount. From what I’m reading I don’t think it will even be an option much longer if they continue on this downward financial turn.