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)