Shopper Sues Neiman Marcus For Refusing To Take Back Expensive Gifts From Her Cheating Husband

neimanmarcusss

(GMA)

Not only did her husband allegedly cheat on her while she was bedridden for three years recovering from a traffic accident, but a Dallas woman is claiming he spent $1.4 million of her money buying gifts for her from Neiman Marcus, while carrying on an affair with the personal shopper who made a commission on those gifts.Still with us?

Good Morning America reports on Patricia’s attempt to return all those expensive pajamas, furs, jewelry, crystal sculptures and other luxury goods to Neiman Marcus that she didn’t even want. The department store is well-known for its generous return policy, but in this case, it refused to take back $1.4 million in merchandise, so Patricia is suing.

According to a lawsuit filed by Patricia against Neiman Marcus, her husband was carrying on a secret affair with Patricia’s trusted personal shopper, who worked at the department store. The woman earned a large commission from the sales, made using Patricia’s store account, claims Patricia’s attorney.

In 2010, when Patricia attempted to return the piles of gifts, Neiman Marcus sent employess to check things out, but never followed through or explained why they weren’t taking them back.

Their return policy is:

“If for any reason you are not satisfied, we will gladly accept your timely return of unworn, unwashed, or defective merchandise. Returned merchandise should include the vendor packaging and tags and be in the same condition as when it was received. Used merchandise cannot be returned unless defective. A pickup and/or restock fee may apply.”

Before her accident, Patricia spent $100,000 per year at Neiman Marcus, and while her husband was spending on her account, he shelled out hundreds of thousands of dollars more, says Patricia’s lawyer.

She closed her account during divorce proceedings in 2010, still unaware of her husband’s alleged infidelity. That detail came up during divorce proceeding months later.

Patricia’s attorney thinks Neiman Marcus is at fault here, as the personal shopper still works at the store and wasn’t disciplined.

“The real villain in this case is Neiman Marcus,” he said. “After learning of this affair decided they weren’t going to do anything about it.”

*Thanks for the tip, Dov!

Neiman Marcus Shopper Sues Store After It Won’t Take Back Gifts From Cheating Ex-Husband [Good Morning America]

Comments

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  1. That guy. says:

    What is the time period between the purchases and the attempted return?

    • ChuckECheese says:

      Who cares? If NM doesn’t have a time period in its return policy, why should we?

      • That guy. says:

        “If for any reason you are not satisfied, we will gladly accept your timely return…

        That’s the first line. So I think that while they don’t have a number of days specified, the time period does seem to matter to NM. The question is, how long was it?

        If they were purchased over the course of an affair, then she closed her account, then divorce proceedings started, then she found out about the affair, was this years later?

        • FatLynn says:

          I agree. I have to think that a reasonable judge would read timely as 90 days, at most, based on the policies of other retailers.

        • dobgold says:

          RTFA… it says they will accept the return as long a certain stipulations are met. The policy goes on to say that they will issue credit in varying amounts depending on the length of time between when it was purchased and returned.

      • maxamus2 says:

        But article doesn’t say if she met all the requirements. Were things worn? Did they have all the packaging and tags? Were they in the same condition as new?

      • RedOryx says:

        It does, the Consumerist (and other news outlets that I saw) failed to mention it: http://www.neimanmarcus.com/product/prodPopupReturns.jsp?fromPopup=Y

        If she was trying to return them 6 months after they had been purchased, she’s out of luck.

        • Clux_the_Chicken_Penguin_Hybrid says:

          That’s the timeline for online purchases. Purchases made in-store don’t have those time restrictions: http://www.neimanmarcus.com/assistance/assistance.jsp?itemId=cat33940742

          “You may return for credit, at any time, merchandise with which you are not completely satisfied.

          “Any merchandise purchased at a Neiman Marcus store should be returned to a Neiman Marcus store.

          “Gifts
          “When returning a gift, a Neiman Marcus Group Merchandise Credit Gift Card will be issued to the gift recipient for the amount of the returned merchandise. The card can be used for purchases from Neiman Marcus, Horchow, and Bergdorf Goodman stores, catalog, and online. In compliance with Federal law, for gifts valued at more than $2,000.00, the recipient will receive a check rather than a Merchandise Credit Gift Card.”

    • randomneko says:

      I wonder. the article states the women was bedridden. Did she have any opportunity to attempt to return the items at an earlier date.

    • kc2idf says:

      I don’t think it is relevant. These were fraudulent purchases carried out by an employee.

  2. homehome says:

    Yea, let’s make the Neiman Marcus the victim and not the husband who actually bought the stuff lol. And what condition were the things in, I can’t watch the video now, is it shown in there? And whether he was cheating with the woman there is irrelevant.

    • Pagan wants a +1 button says:

      Actually, it’s completely relevant. The “woman” in question was the wife’s personal shopper, who got a commission from the sales. So not only was she screwing the husband, she was also screwing the wife.

      • homehome says:

        So why isn’t she suing one of them then since it’s so relevant?

      • StarKillerX says:

        Also, that raises the question of why she is returning them? I can’t see the video but from the picture I can’t imagine he showed up home with one day with dozen’s of braclets and piles of other gifts totaling $1.4 million but bought them over a period of time and from the information provided it sounds like the wife wasn’t interested in returning the items until she found out about the affair so if she didn’t have an issue with the purchases before the fact the husband was banging the personal shopper is meaningless.

        • pawnblue says:

          Maybe, and I’ll just go out on a limb here, maybe she liked the gifts when she thought they were from a guy who really loved her. When she found out he was a cheating turd, suddenly the jewelry didn’t shine as much.

          Is it NM’s fault? No, but the classy thing for them to do is to take the merchandise back. Having an employee cavort like this makes the whole store seem trashy.

          Don’t misunderstand though. I don’t actually care what sort of consumery problems happen to someone who can drop $100k a year in a single store. Or have a million in jewels. This isn’t a regular consumer problem.

      • The Porkchop Express says:

        how is that NM’s fault? Is that part of the job description?

        * Wanted: Personal shopper, college education not require, must be willing to bang husbands. Inquire with management.

        • Conformist138 says:

          Fault? Maybe not at all. But they are responsible for maintaining an ethical staff, which this woman is clearly not.

          It’s like if a customer were hit by an employee. It might not be the FAULT of the employer as they didn’t ask the employee to throw punches, but it IS the responsibility of the employer to discipline or fire the employee.

          Basically, now that they know this woman was sleeping with a married customer and using the affair to bolster her sales, any future repeat of this type of stunt IS Neiman Marcus’s fault since they condoned the behavior through lack of action.

          Every single place I’ve worked has rules regarding mixing personal and business matters as well as policies about ethics in all aspects of the job. Having an affair with a married man and then helping him buy over $1 million on his sick wife’s account is anything but ethical.

          The husband has his own answering to do. Holding one accountable doesn’t get the other off the hook- this isn’t a zero-sum game where a finite amount of blame is shifted from one party to the other. Both behaved terribly and the husband is already being held accountable in divorce court.

      • Bsamm09 says:

        Usually you have to pay extra for that type of action.

  3. CubeRat says:

    So is this a posting about weathly people having bad things happen to them too??

    There is so much here that I can’t relate too. I do believe the ex should be responsible for the money – and get the merchandise. I have to wonder, is there jewelry in this 1.4 million or is it all clothing? I can’t even begin to image how to spend 1.4 million.

    • StarKillerX says:

      Well I’m not even sure if he should be responsible, that depends on when they were bought, how she accepted them and when she decided to return them.

      Simply put, if she didn’t have an issue with him buying her the gifts before finding out about the affair then why should he be responsible for the cost of them once she changes her mind?

      • DogiiKurugaa says:

        If it was done during the time frame of the affair it could reasonably either be guilt by the (ex-)husband or to try and throw her off the trail of what he had been doing all that time he wasn’t around.

        • StarKillerX says:

          Or it could have simply been a matter of him buying a bunch of pricey trinkets to inpress the shopper and get him to go out with her.

          The point is we have no way of knowing, and as I said if the only reason she wants to return them is because of the husbands affair I think she should be out of luck.

          • DogiiKurugaa says:

            Meh, I think she has a good reason to return them if it is about the affair. Why would she want to be constantly reminded of the betrayal of her trust and love?

    • econobiker says:

      Oh, to have the problems of the uber wealthy…

      Such as
      Me:
      Trying to find a mechanic who can work on a Bugatti Veryon and finding tires for same….
      My wife:
      Trying to find a dry cleaner who can handle cleaning clothing that costs over $4,000 per piece…

    • Anna Kossua says:

      The article says the items were “expensive pajamas, furs, jewelry, crystal sculptures and other luxury goods.”

      And not that I could or would spend like this, but at Neiman-Marcus, it’s really easy to spend 1.4M. They carry LaPrairie skin cream that costs 1k for a 50ml jar, handbags that cost 6k (and a couple years ago they had one that was 14k!) as well as designer duds and the like.

  4. rookie says:

    Garage sale!

  5. Schildkrote says:

    The Consumerist: showing those corporations who’s boss!

    But when we’re not writing the thirtieth article about the Grocery Shrink Ray in two days: how dare the top 2% have to experience any sort of inconvenience or hardship!

  6. akronharry says:

    Don’t blame the store. The policy is fair.
    CubeRat is right. I cannot relate to the super rich folks out there. Returning 1.4 million in merchandise? Can’t imagine that. I did once return a shirt though.

    • ChuckECheese says:

      But it appears from the story that NM is not honoring its stated return policy.

    • That guy. says:

      For me to return $1.4 million in merchandise, I’d be returning 23,333 games to Gamestop, or 175,000 t-shirts to Target.

  7. InsertPithyNicknameHere says:

    Why would Neiman Marcus fire the Personal Shopper? I’m pretty sure she didn’t hold a gun to the guy’s head and make him cheat on his wife.

    I will say that, if any store is refusing to allow the return of merchandise, they do need to provide a reason (outside return window, doesn’t include original packaging, item has been used/worn, &c.).

    • DarthCoven says:

      Most companies have policies against bumping uglies with the clientele. In this case it looks like Neiman Marcus does not.

      • ChuckECheese says:

        And not only did the shopper have an affair with the victim’s husband, the shopper and husband colluded to purchase a bunch of crap so the shopper would personally benefit from the commissions. This smells almost criminal.

        • HogwartsProfessor says:

          That’s the part that would bug me if I were this woman’s manager.

        • StarKillerX says:

          It’s hard to say from the scant information provided, hell it could even been simple a case of the him buying the stuff to impress her so he could get her to go out with him.

        • jesusofcool says:

          Yes, in any high-end sales industry, developing a personal relationship with a top client is unethical. And if the salesperson financially benefited from the personal relationship with the client, it’s definitely unethical, and possibly criminal if she encouraged him to do so, I agree. Definitely damages NM’s reputation that they didn’t take steps to remove her from her position.

      • Stickdude says:

        Neiman Marcus – putting the “personal” in personal shopper since 1907…

      • George4478 says:

        Most companies? I doubt that very much. Retail stores, my doubts are even stronger.

        Are there any department stores that say an employee can’t have sex with someone who’s a customer? If they’re dating and the guy comes in and buys a shirt, do they have to break up now? Is there a time limit, in case the guy used to be a customer but hadn’t been in the store in six months?

  8. Puppyclaws says:

    I’m afraid spite doesn’t fit into any of our conditions for a refund.

  9. semanticantics says:

    Jerry: “Excuse me I’d like to return this jacket.”

    Teller: “Certainly. May I ask why?”

    Jerry: “……..For spite…”

    Teller: “Spite?”

    Jerry: “That’s right. I don’t care for the salesman that sold it to me.”

    Teller: “I don’t think you can return an item for spite.”

    • We Have a Piper Down says:

      Actually, I’ve done that. I had a salesgirl at Victoria’s Secret be extremely rude to me and pull and bait and switch on me just as the transaction was ending. I took my receipt, smiled, and then grabbed her manager and made the salesgirl watch as I returned the entire purchase while I told her manager exactly why she was refunding me all the money. I don’t play that game anymore.

  10. brinks says:

    Does she have the receipts? Has it been a reasonable time since the items were purchased? Are the tags attached and is the stuff in new condition? This is all relevant information.

    If she has the receipt and the stuff can still be sold at full price, they should take it back. But she shouldn’t feel entitled to a refund if that’s not the case. Her husband is an ass, but it’s not the store’s fault.

    However, I’m sure the salesperson’s commission has something to do with the refusal. If she has to take the hit on this ridiculously large return, she’s going to be eating ramen for a while.

    • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

      Maybe I missed something, but I’m not sure why the employee should be disciplined. I would assume she had the affair on her own time. :/

      • brinks says:

        The employee should be disciplined if she refused a valid return, but I kinda think this customer doesn’t have all her ducks in a row.

        Your suggestion might warrant some disciplinary action as well.

      • RandomLetters says:

        Well he was giving her money in the form of commissions from the sales… she was giving him sex… sounds a little like prostitution to me… (I’m not saying that it was but a spiteful exwife or a lawyer might see it that way)

  11. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    “Patricia spent $100,000 per year at Neiman Marcus”

    This is so far above my pay grade and experience that I can’t even relate. This is about as much as my take home pay for 4 years.

    Neiman Marcus bears no blame here. Her husband is to blame. The personal shopper is to blame.

    Sometimes I think I’m lucky to be relatively poor. I’ll never have these problems :)

    • frank64 says:

      If the personal shopper was to blame, then Neiman Marcus is too. She was an employee of the store.

      • StarKillerX says:

        So, following that logic if I steal this laptop from my company, it’s their fault? :)

        • frank64 says:

          An apple to oranges comparison.

          • StarKillerX says:

            How so, in effect your saying the store is responsible for her actions because she was employed by them, so why wouldn’t that apply in my case?

            Assuming she acted improperly, which isn’t really known from the information I’ve seen, unless she did so as an agent of NM as opposed to as an individual out for some cash, then I don’t see how NM can be held liable, especially since nothing has even suggested that they were aware of the relationship, or that it was the reason for the purchases.

            • Conformist138 says:

              They did not perform the action, but not disciplining her for engaging in a personal (and, on its own, unethical) relationship with a customer that she financially gained from, so they are effectively condoning her actions.

              If you steal a computer, the company you work for is not guilty of theft, but they would deserve criticism if they refused to fire or otherwise discipline you if your guilt is established. And, if they kept you around and you stole again, then yes, the company should be held responsible for employing a known thief.

    • Rachacha says:

      “Sometimes I think I’m lucky to be relatively poor. I’ll never have these problems”.

      Yeah, you never see news stories where the husband was having an affair with the woman at the K-mart layaway desk spending $2000 a year at the store while the wife was home and bedridden! :-)

  12. Mr. Spy says:

    When returns might actually cause a business to go under, I think you have no choice but to make them sue.
    $1.4Million in refunds is not something you just let go. Nor is it terribly reasonable to expect them to hand over $1.4 Million in refunds “Just cause”.
    The other question is timeframe. And what constitutes a “timely return”. I imagine everyone has a different definition.
    Her husband was cheating? Irrelevant. They were married. He was spending their money, not HER money. I only say this because I didn’t see anything about a pre-nub or anything. There could be special circumstances, but all I see is someone shopping.
    This angle about “having an affair with a personal shopper” it’s interesting. You see, it’s neat because that’s what personal shoppers do to a much much lesser extent to trick you into buying more than you want. I guess at $1.4 Mil you kick it up a notch :P

    /I realize I’ll get flamed. And my ideas are full of holes. Just sayin

    • StarKillerX says:

      Actually I think your spot on, although I don’t think you needed to even raise the question of a pre-nup as according to the story the money he spent was on gifts for her, which I can’t imagine would violate any conditions on any pre-nup.

  13. Geekybiker says:

    It sounds like this stuff was bought across years. You can’t really expect a store to take back merchandise that is that old. I can understand her wanting her money back but I don’t fault Neiman Marcus for not wanting to accept all those returns.

  14. ferozadh says:

    “The real villain in this case is Neiman Marcus,” What planet are these people living on? The only villain in this “case” are the lawyers, wasting taxpayer’s money and the court’s time on frivolous lawsuits. I hope Neiman wins the case and makes the idiot pay for time and resources spent on this BS.

  15. RedOryx says:

    “Patricia’s attorney thinks Neiman Marcus is at fault here, as the personal shopper still works at the store and wasn’t disciplined.

    “The real villain in this case is Neiman Marcus,” he said. “After learning of this affair decided they weren’t going to do anything about it.””

    What the hell does this have to do with anything? If there isn’t a policy in place about hooking up with clients or customers, then I don’t get why Neiman Marcus or the personal shopper should be held accountable for the affair. And, look, maybe TMI, but I’ve been cheated on and the person I got pissed at was the person who cheated on me, not the other woman’s place of employment (and that is how they met)

    I’m also confused about who initially paid for these items. They were made using Patricia’s store account, but who forked over the cash when the bill came? If it’s the ex, then I don’t get why she’s trying to return it. I mean, SHE’S not out of the money, it seems like she’s just trying to get back at the employee.

    • crispyduck13 says:

      For someone who regularly drops $100k a year on crap from NM, I’d be willing to bet she isn’t the type of person who has to whip out the ol’ checkbook every month to pay bills.

      That’s what full time accountant is for. Although my biggest question is why the hell didn’t that person ask her if this crazy exhorbitant spending was ok. Maybe it was ok at the time when she thought he was spending her money to make her feel better, not trying to distract her from his banging the sales girl.

      • RedOryx says:

        Ah, see, yeah. Forgot about the possibility of a full time accountant.

        I was curious about why she didn’t question the purchases, but it would make sense if she just thought he was buying them to make her feel better after the accident.

  16. StarKillerX says:

    I get a “page doesn’t exist” error on that site when I try and view the linked story so I’m not sure if it includes more details but I’m curious how long she had the items and when she decided to return them, although I don’t really think it matters, unless they were returned very promptly, which it doesn’t sound like they were.

    As for the personal shopper and her husband, I would think that might give her a legal standing, criminal or civil, against one or both of them but not against the store.

  17. iesika says:

    IANAL, but I work for one, and this is actually in my legal area.

    I can’t be sure about the laws of the state she’s in (family law codes vary wildly), but community property laws tend to go like this: Money you earn during the marriage belongs to both parties. Gifts given belong solely to the recipient. Any debt on those gifts would probably be ruled as belonging to the holder of the gifts. I’d want to return the stuff, too. Even if it was ruled as hers and any debt on it assigned to her husband, returning them is still a better way to get the money out of it than a garage sale. The items were apparently purchased on her account without her permission, so I’d think the store has an obligation here, the same way a credit card company does when someone makes unauthorized charges on your account (this stops being the case if the husband is a signer on her account.)

    If this is a ‘fault’ state, the outcome of the divorce proceedings will be very different if there was an affair than if there weren’t, so it is relevant to the story.

    A divorce involving people who can drop 1.4 million at Neiman Marcus is going to be hella expensive. The court would consider that 1.4 million in goods to be assets which could be sold to cover attorneys fees, so that may very well be what she’s planning to do with that money.

    All that aside, the real issue is that the store’s return policy doesn’t have a line in it that says “you can’t return over $XXXX in merchandise,” so I don’t think they have a leg to stand on in court, assuming she meets the other outlined requirements for returns. You can bet they’re updating their return policy right now (and so is every high end store whose upper management hears about this story).

    • FatLynn says:

      I’m pretty sure the fact that the debt was incurred to purchase gifts is not relevant. Marital debt is marital debt.

      Also, I think “timely” is going to be the “out” for NM, here. Most stores allow 90 days, at most, so I think any reasonable judge would allow them that.

    • ChuckECheese says:

      There are also laws in many states that say that using an incapacitated person’s (bedridden wife’s) money to purchase unnecessary stuff is caregiver abuse/exploitation. Especially since the husband’s girlfriend materially benefited from these sales.

      I think NM never responded simply because the whole situation is too ugly and embarrassing to them, and they’re hoping the problem would go away if they ignored it.

    • JJFIII says:

      Their policy CLEARLY states “timely”. If he came in today and dropped $1.4 million and she returned it tomorrow, I think we all agree NM should give a refund (assuming all the other policy exceptions are met). I doubt that is what happened since the story says SALES, not sale. Meaning this happened over multiple events. If the affair was not discovered until the divorce precedings it would mean it was likely many months before she attempted to return the items.
      In my opinion, timely would be minimally based on seasonality, especially in retail. You can not return your Nehru jacket from 1968 since it is probably not in style anymore or would be required to be on clearance.
      I would bet NM will have a new policy in place shortly that will specify the number of days and there will be a complaint on Consumerist about the evil corporation taking away from their customers when they try to return something one day after the number of days lapses.

    • Dagny Taggart says:

      This reminds me of a story I read about an insanely wealthy couple who was divorcing after decades of marriage. The wife claimed that the millions of dollars of jewelry she possessed were all gifts from her husband, but he claimed that the jewels were investments, and therefore, marital property.

      Imagine his chagrin when she produced the birthday/anniversary/christmas cards that accompanied every single piece of jewelry she had been given, along with his romantic, handwritten note inside, and her own notes identifiying the accompanying gift.

      Who says sentimentality is worth nothing?

    • StarKillerX says:

      Someone above posted this link

      http://www.neimanmarcus.com/product/prodPopupReturns.jsp?fromPopup=Y

      So it appears the return policy is spelled out a little better then the story says.

      Also my issue with this story is that from what I’ve read she didn’t appear to want to return the gifts until she found out about the affair so why should the store be on the hook because she got her feeling hurt?

    • Aliciaz777 says:

      The husband purchased the items using the wife’s store account. How is that possible unless he was authorized to use the account? The article doesn’t say he was authorized so I can’t be sure, but if he wasn’t, then they were unauthorized and NM should do returns on everything as that’s considered fraud, right? It can also be said that the husband and personal shopper conspired to purchase all of that so the personal shopper would get the commissions. That doesn’t sound very legal, IMO.

      Either way, the husband and personal shopper are scumbags and I think NM should try and work things out with the wife and fire the personal shopper. She’s demonstrated she can’t be trusted as far as defrauding a customer goes. Just my opinion, of course.

      • Anna Kossua says:

        That’s what I wonder, too. It’s possible the personal shopper allowed transactions to go through, even though his name isn’t on the account. Not unlike when someone steals a credit card and buys stuff all over town, with the cashiers never asking for ID.

  18. 2 Replies says:

    This one is INTERESTING!
    Normally I’d say, caveot emptor. That the store doesn’t need to take the items.
    But since it was an a store’s employee (representative of NM) that not only GAINED (through commission), but ALSO had an abnormal advantage in persuading the guy to purchase (by the illicit relationship) this is TOTALLY a conflict of interest case!

  19. Blueskylaw says:

    For a second there, I thought this was a story about John Edwards.

  20. some.nerd says:

    Aah, the problems of the 1%…

  21. frank64 says:

    Why isn’t this viewed as fraud between the husband and the employee? He bought things on his wife’s credit to help an employee get commissions. If a teller stole your money, even with the aid of a relative, the bank is ultimately responsible. Neiman Marcus should be responsible first. Then they should go after the employee, instead they are supporting her.

    • StarKillerX says:

      It would only be fraud if they sold at inflated prices.

      Also in this case I would say she wouldn’t even have a case against her husband unless she refused the gifts when he gave them and he continued, but since it appears she accepted them and then only tried to return them after finding out about the affair I think she’s stuck with them and she has no cause for legal action against anyone.

  22. rlmiller007 says:

    It’s not up to Neiman Marcus to monitor the employees’ personal lives. They’d probably be sues if they did do something about it.

  23. Sad Sam says:

    I can see some point to this, vicarious liability for the employee who was carrying on an affair with the husband and exploiting the woman’s credit card account for which the employee earned commissions. Certainly within the scope of her duties as a personal shopper.

    • dollym100 says:

      Unless she held a gun to the guy’s head to make him buy the stuff, she is not liable. The husband spent money that he was entitled to spend and the gifts he bought were given to the wife. The fact that his girlfriend earned commission on them certainly shaded the reason for his gift giving but it was not illegal. The husband conducted the transactions and if there is any blame it should go to him.

  24. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

    Does she have a reciept?

  25. RedOryx says:

    How interesting that the Consumerist posts the return policy, yet fails to include the section that follows that paragraph:

    Return Within : Amount of Credit

    0-60 days from receipt of merchandise 100% of purchase price

    61-120 days from receipt of merchandise 75% of purchase price

    121-180 days from receipt of merchandise 50% of purchase price

    181+ days from receipt of merchandise 0%

    http://www.neimanmarcus.com/product/prodPopupReturns.jsp?fromPopup=Y

    • RandomLetters says:

      That policy reads like it is for orders placed online. Not sure it applies to items purchased in store.

  26. JJFIII says:

    This is in no way on NM. The only thing that makes this story up for debate is the amount of money. Let’s look at it from the POV of the 99%. You take your wife to dinner at a nice restaurant. You are having an affair with the waitress. You buy an expensive bottle of wine and have great meals. The bill comes to $140. Would the restaurant be required to fire the waitress for selling her lover on the expensive bottle of wine while he ate with his wife? She did HER JOB. The basic premise of a personal shoppers job is to upsell and sell more for NM. As long as the husband had authority to use her card there was nothing wrong. The affair is not relevant. It has nothing to do with NM. I would be more pissed if NM disciplined employees for who they choose to sleep with in their personal lives.

  27. vivalakellye says:

    http://www.neimanmarcus.com/product/prodPopupReturns.jsp?fromPopup=Y

    ^That’s its real return policy. Way to go Consumerist, you’ve failed to adequately research yet another article.

  28. majortom1981 says:

    The husband bought the stuff and the wife is trying to return it but is blaming the store? How is that right?

  29. mariospants says:

    There is definitely some kind of conflict of interest going on here:

    1) neiman marcus hires a salesgirl/personal shopper (who is presumably attractive enough to spend $1.4M on).

    2) said salesgirl – let’s be charitable – is “coerced” into a relationship with the husband of a client.

    - here’s where the salesgirl ethically – and legally – should have either severed the working relationship or said “no” to the relationship altogether –

    3) said salesgirl proceeds to abuse her position to purchase items ON THE CLIENT’S ACCOUNT, thereby gaining these items PLUS getting commission for their sale WITHOUT THE CLIENT’S APPROVAL FOR THE SALE. Hold on, this isn’t a conflict of interest, it’s outright THEFT. The fact that the sales represents a 14X multiplication of the client’s usual yearly business with nm is icing on the cake.

    I don’t know what nm’s legal responsibility is here on this situation but they should definitely have fired the salesgirl at the very least.

    They will obviously lose the $100k-a-year business of the client plus any (presumably also wealthy) friends or relatives she can tell her story to. I guess they’d rather keep the $1.4M than absorb the cost of making good for the client.

    The wife should not have taken back the goods (the article isn’t clear on how she got ahold of them) but should have claimed a theft loss against her account.

    • RedOryx says:

      3) said salesgirl proceeds to abuse her position to purchase items ON THE CLIENT’S ACCOUNT, thereby gaining these items PLUS getting commission for their sale WITHOUT THE CLIENT’S APPROVAL FOR THE SALE. Hold on, this isn’t a conflict of interest, it’s outright THEFT. The fact that the sales represents a 14X multiplication of the client’s usual yearly business with nm is icing on the cake.

      Salesgirl didn’t get the items, she only got the commission. The HUSBAND purchased the items and gave them to his wife. Plus, it’s entirely possible he was a signer on the NM account and had was allowed to make purchases.

    • Peggee has pearls and will clutch them when cashiers ask "YOU GOT A WIC CHECK MA'AM?" says:

      The wife should not have taken back the goods (the article isn’t clear on how she got ahold of them) but should have claimed a theft loss against her account.

      What in God’s name did you smoke before you read this article?

  30. KyBash says:

    I think the posters here are missing the central point:
    The clients are millionaires and the lawyers are getting paid by the hour — of course they’re going to find some way to drag things out.

  31. WildGibberish says:

    I’m not sure you can ever truly win a lawsuit against a company for not accepting a return unless there was some kind of fraud involved. Plus, as most people forget sometimes, no business is required to accept returns. Company policies are not laws and accepting returns is a service, not a requirement of businesses. And most company policies are going to have enough wiggle room to allow them to do what they want when it comes right down to it.

  32. Dave on bass says:

    Gah. It saddens me that NM will probably get away with stiffing the wife (after the husband’s been stiffing the personal shopper – heyoo!). I have to think it’s not as easy as some commenters think, though.

    - The wife was receiving all this merchandise while bedridden. In that case, she was probably thinking she may not need another bracelet, fur coat, etc but was incapacitated enough to not bother doing anything to stop it. By the time of the divorce and the revelation about the affair, she could have been in a better position to do something about it but hadn’t yet. At that point it’s up to NM to honor her wishes as a customer or not, as this just isn’t a cut&dried policy-only situation.

    - The husband was using the wife’s account to buy her things (we’ll ignore the lover’s commissions for the time being), so there is one possible downfall, depending on his status and authority over her account.

    - Finally, getting to the personal shopper herself: It could well be NM’s unspoken/unwritten policy that PSs do whatever it takes to make sales and big commissions, up to and including holding their, er, most powerful weapon very, very close to the shopper’s head for awhile, perhaps on weekends, but the surprise here is that NM didn’t let the PS go over the publicity alone. One the one hand, good for them for not making employment conditional on one’s personal life, but lesser companies have done so for lesser personal flights.

    I hope the woman is made whole if she hadn’t actually used the merchandise. Whether or not she has a legal claim depends on some extra facts I don’t have, but NM has got to be able to at least re-sell much of that stuff.

  33. soj4life says:

    This story is more suited for jezebel than the consumerist. The husband bought all of this stuff from 2007 – 2010. She had no problem with it when she closed her account with them in 2010. It is only after she learned that her husband had been cheating on her that she wanted to return it. I don’t see anywhere in the return policy over a scorned wife or lover.

    Along with that, why would the store discipline an employee over their personal affairs? This lawsuit is the kind that gets made fun all of the time on tv shows. I liken this to the lawsuit on Frasier where someone got stood up on their wedding and called it a breach on contract.

  34. AM says:

    Not surprising the store does not want to refund her for merchandise worth over $1 million. In this case it’s not Neiman Marcus’s fault her husband used her account to score a date with one of their employees. She should have included the amount he spent in her divorce settlement. He cheated and he bought the stuff he should pay. I wonder if she can take him to court after the settlement and sue him for the amount he spent along with lawyer fees of course.

    This way she gets compensated for him cheating on her. Maybe she can go buy a new designer bag? One new designer bag one less cheating husband. Good trade off!

  35. AM says:

    Not surprising the store does not want to refund her for merchandise worth over $1 million. In this case it’s not Neiman Marcus’s fault her husband used her account to score a date with one of their employees. She should have included the amount he spent in her divorce settlement. He cheated and he bought the stuff he should pay. I wonder if she can take him to court after the settlement and sue him for the amount he spent along with lawyer fees of course.

    This way she is compensated for him cheating on her. Maybe she can go buy a new designer bag. One new designer bag one less cheating husband. Good trade off.