Bloomingdale’s Doesn’t Want You Returning That Dirty Dress After The Party’s Over

While it’s a blessing for many shoppers that some retailers have very forgiving return policies, other customers have stretched companies like Bloomingdale’s to the limit with the practice known as “wardrobing”: Buying an item of clothing, wearing it once and then returning it with the tags still on. It’ll be a lot harder to do that at Bloomie’s soon, unless your idea of a party outfit is showcasing large, plastic tags on your garment.

Bloomingdale’s will be outfitting certain garments with three-inch black plastic tags that are in un-hide-able locations so that it’ll probably be pretty noticeable if you try to wear it that way. It’s no issue for people who buy the items and want to keep them — the devices are removable but are impossible to reattach once you’ve done so. And at that point, the item can’t be returned, reports BusinessWeek.com.

This could be seen as evidence of retailers not trusting customers, including those who spend thousands on clothing.

“It is a delicate balance of loss prevention and good customer service, and the relationship has to be handled with appropriate finesse,” Rich Mellor, vice president of loss prevention at the National Retail Federation.

But because of those bad consumers out there guilty of wardrobing, there’s a reason for that mistrust — the NRF estimates that the industry lost $8.8 million in merchandise due to the practice, as some products come back dirty or have simply gone out of style by the time they’re returned.

“They are going to alienate customers that abuse the policy,” one retail consultant pointed out, “and I don’t think that is so bad.”

Time to fess up:

Bloomingdale’s Black Tags End Party for Next-Day Returns [BusinessWeek.com]