Sears Confiscates Your Coat For Attempting To Return It And Buy It Back For Less

Reader Nick’s mother bought a coat that was on clearance at Sears. A week later she saw that the coat had been marked down even further, so she brought it back and asked if she could return it and then buy it again for the cheaper price.

That’s where it got a little weird. Rather than just saying “no,” the Sears employee processed the return, then told Nick’s mother she couldn’t have the coat back. Nick’s mom then asked her to call the whole thing off, void the return and give her the coat. Sears refused.

Nick writes:

My mother has always been a Sears customer. She regularly shops there at least once a week. Recently she purchased a beautiful winter coat on clearance, at a price of $35, marked down from $150. She was so excited to have found the perfect coat to wear next winter.

A week later she goes in to see the same coat, different size at $15. So my mother naturally wanted to get some kind of reimbursement. She brings in the never worn coat and the original receipt. She explained to the associate that she wanted to return and repurchase it. After the return is completed, the associate explains that my mother “could not repurchase the coat because of store policies.”

That obviously made no sense to my mother because somebody else was going to buy it at the same lower price. My mother explained her story once more, then asked for the manager. The manager also said my mother couldn’t repurchase it. My mother was not angry, just confused. She watched as another associate took the coat away from the counter and bring it into the back.

My mother then asked to just cancel the return, so she could just keep the coat, all she wanted was a coat for next winter. Working in retail, I know how simple the “post void” would have been. The manager explained the coat had to go to the “return processing center,” which made no sense to my mother who saw a dress on the floor she returned the day before. My mother at that point was mad. She just wanted the coat!

She approached several associates on the floor asking them where the “return processing center” was, nobody knew.

Finally she asked where the returns go, the answer from several associates, “right back to the floor.”

Do sears employees find pleasure in torturing customer?

The Sears employee should have just told your mother that Sears doesn’t have a price guarantee on clearance items and left it at that. Refusing to void the transaction and hiding the coat is just mean, not to mention bad for Sears. Stores don’t put things on clearance because they don’t want to sell them.

If we were you, we’d try to kick this complaint upstairs to the bigwigs, although we have to warn you that Sears rarely responds. Here’s some contact information you might want to try.



Edit Your Comment

  1. punkrawka says:

    Not letting her have it back at $35 is just bizarre and spiteful. Like they’re actually WANTING to go from $35 in pocket to $15 on the floor that may or may not sell.

  2. fizzyg says:

    I’m guessing someone at that register liked that coat, and probably later purchased it.

  3. Buran says:

    Stupid and I agree it sucks. Alas, since she’d already returned it, she had zero right to it and the store can legally refuse service.

  4. Mollyg says:

    I am confused, your mother wanted Sears employees to help her take $20 from the company and is pissed because they did not cooperate?

    I am normally very pro consumer, but this one I am on the fence. I can can understand why they did it. They could not refuse the return, since it was being done in accordance with policy, but they did not want to help the person take $20 from the company.

  5. Caveat says:

    I guess in those cases it is always a smart thing to go check if a similar item is still available and on the shelf before returning the higher priced item. A few weeks ago I bought an electric blanket for $48 which was on clearance at K-Mart (which owns Sears). A couple of weeks later I saw that they still had some blankets in the queen size I wanted at $40. I went to return the blanket (I had not used it or taken it out of its packaging). I was fully prepared to get a refund and then get another one off the shelf if necessary. However K-Mart Customer Service just gave me the $8 difference.

  6. jnorris441 says:

    @Mollyg: I sincerely doubt most cashiers give a shit about their company’s bottom line.

  7. ChuckECheese says:

    So mama had returned a dress the day before her coat was confiscated. Methinks Sears doesn’t want to play the return-merchandise game anymore. Being a long-time customer and repeatedly buying and returning things are not the same thing.

    I was surprised to learn not so long ago that people actually buy things and then return them to the store–repeatedly–as a sort of hobby. A friend who works at Kohl’s says some people do this a couple times a week, every week. Ugh.

  8. Anonymous says:

    @Mollyg: The anger isn’t at not being able to cut the price down. The OP is angry because, seemingly out of spite, they wouldn’t just let her keep the coat at the original sale price.

  9. FlashGordon says:

    Sounds like it was such a good deal, the person at the register had to take advantage of it, and the manager has an “understanding” with the staff.

  10. ThunderRoad says:

    Odds are the employee purchased it.

  11. mojoshtudd says:

    @Mollyg: Please tell me you are joking. Almost every major retailer has a price protection guarantee if the price drops within a reasonable period of time.

    I just bought a Lenovo for $xx; the price went down to $yy within 10 days. When I called Lenovo, they just refunded me the differences.

    I have had the same experience with JC Penney.

    This is definitely something to be pro-consumer about. On a side note though, some credit cards have a price protection guarantee. e.g., my Amex refunds me the difference if the price drops within 90 days of purchase.

  12. Amelia Subverxin says:

    She returned a dress the day before, and now she’s returning the coat to re-buy it at a lower price?

    I’m not blaming the original poster or his mother, but it sounds like the staff at this Sears decided to fight back against a chronic returner. I really don’t think corporate would be willing to help in this case, but I also believe that the manager in this case really took things to extremes.

  13. Blueskylaw says:

    Tough call on this one. I would like to have the difference in price back of course, but being so excited to get get it at $35, it might not even be worth the gas, time and aggravation for $20. Once again, tough call.

  14. ohiomensch says:

    The local Kmart where I live will put a limit on the number of returns they will accept from a customer (thats why you have to fill out your name and address on the return form) But I have never seen a case where they would not let the customer do a price adjustment on an item. When I worked there, the policy was if the item went on sale within 28 days of purchase, you could ask for a refund of the difference. That was a few years ago, but I don’t think it has changed. Perhaps the fact that it was clearance had something to do with it, but I think more its a case of the manager or cashier playing games.

  15. qwickone says:

    @fizzyg: I didnt even think of that!

  16. qwickone says:

    @Buran: just because you CAN do something, doesnt mean you should.

  17. coan_net says:

    If she said she planned on purchasing it back when she returned the coat, then this story looks very bad for Sears.

    I’m wondering if she did actually mention this when she started the process – since I think it would have been very simple for the employee to say they could not do that. It just seems like this is one of those “pop on bottom of cart gets you arrested” type of stories in which once the whole truth came out made more sense.

    how it is now – this story does not add up to me.

  18. Imafish says:

    “So my mother naturally wanted to get some kind of reimbursement.”

    She “naturally” wanted to back of a deal see agreed to the prior week?!

    When Sears raises its prices, they don’t come to your house asking for a higher price than what you paid the week previously. Nor should you go to their store asking for the better price. Both sides should honor the price they agreed upon.

  19. madanthony says:

    I frequently browse the clearance thread for Target on Fatwallet, and some users there have reported that some Targets won’t let you return and rebuy – they make it go back to the sales floor. Sears might operate the same way.

    If there was another jacket the same size, I would have bought it and returned it with the first receipt. If there wasn’t though, she probably would have been better off eating the $20.

  20. bohemian says:

    Stores usually have a price guarantee policy. She should have tried to do that with the receipt sans coat. What the store did was just awful though. They could have just said they don’t offer a price match.

    I find the amount of people returning stuff a bit disturbing though.

  21. MikeB says:

    @somdeb: In many stores, the price protection guarantee is suspended when it comes to clearance items and they should have just informed the customer of this, if that is their policy.

  22. starrion says:

    The person at the register probably wanted it. Once the product is returned the customer gave up the right to it.

    If she liked it at $35 she probably should have kept it.

  23. MightyWeasel says:

    You may want to look into local retail regulations. I know Washington has a law that requires retailers to honor discounts within 30 days of purchase. So if you buy something and it becomes cheaper at the same store any time in the next thirty days, they have to give you the difference (of course you have to spend the time to notice and take the thing back and ask for it).

  24. Truthie says:

    This, my friends, is just one of the many reasons Sears has been slowly dying for the past 20 years.

  25. juniper says:

    “…which made no sense to my mother who saw a dress on the floor she returned the day before.

    Not going for the blame-the-consumer jugular here, but if mom here makes a habit of constantly returning things, the clerk may have just cut her off.

  26. ChuckECheese says:

    @Imafish: Just today, Costco came to the house and asked for an extra $10 for the rice I bought last week.

  27. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot says:

    I remember being at Sears several years ago on Boxing Day (here in Canada) with my Grandmother, returning a sweater she received for Christmas that was too large. She had wanted to exchange it for one that fit, but they didn’t have her size, so they refunded her the money ($150.) On the way out we saw a rack with the exact same sweater….marked down by 80%!! She was able to purchase 3 other sweaters and 2 pairs of shoes there, with the $$ she got back from that one overpriced “pre-Christmas” sweater.

    From that moment on, my family decided to stop giving gifts AT Christmas and instead we give gift cards or cash in a Christmas card and do all our shopping for large-ticket items *after* Christmas. We still have stockings with small stuff in them, but large gifts are purchased afterwards. Why pay double (or more) for something when you don’t have to.

  28. mike says:

    @Buran: Hmmm….

    1. Process product for return.
    2. ???
    3. Profit.

  29. rdldr1 says:

    So Sears does not have a price difference policy? No wonder Sears is old fashioned.

    Whats the worst is that they confiscated the coat… thats theft and against the law. Sears probably thinks “oh we wont see that customer again so we can do whatever we want.”

  30. Shmonkmonk says:

    I’m on the fence as well…
    I work retail and we used to have a customer who used to rip us off constantly by buying things, waiting weeks, sometimes months, then returning and re-buying. We had to cut him off- hold unto a receipt long enough and eventually everything will be clearanced down. He said if I don’t let him re-buy he was going to return and come back when I’m gone. I told him that in that case, the shirt won’t be making it’s way back onto the sales floor. I was happy to lose him as a customer, he was costing our sale rather than helping it.

    On the other hand… I don’t understand why Sears just wouldn’t let her buy it back at the previous price of $30 or just post void the transaction. Not only that, a week is a reasonable time to expect a price adjustment. It’s not like she bought the coat months ago.

  31. Coder4Life says:

    Umm. woulnd’t you just ask for a price difference. Why in the world would you goto a store and tell them how to do the return process.

    can you return it and repurchase it..

    most stores have a thing so they can just credit the difference, w/out having to return and rebuy.

  32. P_Smith says:

    In normal circumstances, I would empathize with the customer, e.g. if she bought the jacket at $150 and returned it to get it at $135 on a sale two days later.

    But unless she is absolutely destitute and the poorest of the poor, I can’t empathize. A $150 jacket marked down to $35 and she’s still trying to get it for less?

    Get a grip. I’m not rich, but when something like that happens, I suck it up and say, “Too bad, too late” and lose the few dollars. It’s just not that important.

    And yes, Sears is scum.

  33. DeeJayQueue says:

    I seem to remember a similar story posted here a long time ago, and I’ll say again what I said then.

    She bought the coat, originally priced at $150, on clearance for $35. She saved $115 on the coat, then she goes back and wants another $20 off because it got marked down further?

    Greedy much?

    Why can’t people just accept that they got a really good deal and move on with their lives instead of making a stink over a few extra bucks.

    Plus, most stores return/price match policies explicitly exclude clearance merchandise. If she’s that gung-ho about the extra money back, she should have just hung around till they put the coat back on the rack and then repurchased it for the extra discount. She already said that’s what someone else would do anyway.

  34. BuriedCaesar says:

    Best way to handle this next time – without ever handing over the merchandise – “I see that you have a better price on an item of clothing I bought just last week – can you refund the difference?”

    If the answer is “no” – great, walk out with the item.

    If the answer is “yes” – great, walk out with the item AND some extra cash.

    Based on the description of the events, this was handled poorly on both sides of the counter.

  35. kaptainkk says:

    @Mollyg: You said “did not want to help the person take $20 from the company.” What in the world does that mean? She was entitled to a refund. I don’t understand how you could be on the fence w/ this situation. And you say you are pro-consumer??!!

  36. ptkdude says:

    I have to side with Sears on this one. The customer returned the coat. End of story. If she wants to repurchase it at the lower price, she needs to wait until they put it back on the sales floor and buy it then.

  37. mountaindew says:

    I had to do a return after Sears’ 90-day return policy, and they did not give me any hassle. But because it was over 90 days, I could only do an exchange (with receipt) by picking out something else in the same dept.

  38. XTC46 says:

    this makes sense to me. Returned items need to be checked for damage before being resold. Sure the item she saw the day before may have been threre (although for all she knows it may have been a different one…sicne you know..companies make several of an item in order to make money) I wouldnt have given it to her either.

  39. MsFeasance says:

    First of all, notice that the headline didn’t say “Illegal”, but “Rude.”
    @P_Smith: I don’t understand the difference: if the cost is $100 higher, $20 is allowed to matter?
    As a starving law student, I would empathize the other way around: sometimes $20 matters a hell of a lot even if you ARE getting a steep discount. If it had been, say, a $150 interview suit, that had been marked down to $35, well, that’s the only way I’d ever own that $150 suit, so I’d cough up the $35. But if it got marked down by $20 two days later, well, I’d be pissed off. That $20 would buy me groceries, not to mention pay back my student loans. So just because you don’t need that $20, don’t think it means that someone else doesn’t.
    Not to mention that the customer was willing to buy it back at the original $35 price, and the manager LIED to the customer.

  40. @fizzyg: You read my mind. With their employee discount, they probably got the coat for $5.

  41. cmdrsass says:

    Items go on clearance when they don’t sell. This coat hit the $35 price point and sold. The customer was thrilled with that price. The remaining coats were still not selling and were marked down to $15. The customer bought a coat that was worth $35 to her. Why would the merchant want to give her $20 to keep that coat. It makes absolutely no sense.

  42. Youthier says:

    @MsFeasance: Agreed – it was rude. If customer said upfront, “I want to return and repurchase this coat” as the OP says she did, then Sears should have said, “Sorry, no can do.”

    Whether she should or should not get the $20 is pretty irrelevant here – the lady should have been able to keep the coat if she was willing to pay what Sears required for it.

    Admittedly, the fact that she had returned something the day before is a little suspect.

  43. Buran says:

    @qwickone: Well, my problem is with how they treated her. But do they or don’t they have a policy against this very thing? It’s a good question.

    If they don’t, then I can’t see why she shouldn’t (beyond “we can refuse service to anyone”) be able to buy something for the same price someone off the street would pay.

  44. megan9039 says:

    Why didn’t she check the sales floor and see if there was another one there she could buy. Then should could have done the return and done a brand new transaction for the coat.

  45. KyleOrton says:

    @Mollyg: I disagree with you, which is fine, but beyond that I’m confused.

    Have you ever met a retail employee not willing to legally take money from the company? If the cashier isn’t already looking for a new job once Sears inevitably goes under, she should be. That $20 isn’t going to keep a worthless company afloat, but it might make her a friend and potential employer.

  46. tomok97 says:

    The problem here isn’t that Sears wouldn’t price adjust. There’s a difference between a “sales” price and a “clearance” price. When something reaches clearance they are normally down to a few remain items and there won’t be the same selection of colors and/or sizes. I totally get why Sears wouldn’t honor a price match on a clearance item that has been placed on further clearance.

    That being said, they should have let her keep the coat at the $35 price. I can’t blame her for trying and I can’t blame Sears for saying no. But I can blame them for keeping the coat. The previous poster that described it as “spiteful” was dead-on.

  47. @juniper: Like they do at Nordstroms now…

    I’ve seen little old ladies return hundreds of dollars in pantyhose full of runs and red nail polish or bring back shoes littered with scuffs and missing heels. I asked my friend who is the manager at my local Nordy’s why this is allowed, and she assured me they do keep tabs on who’s a “return junkie” (that’s why they ask for ID, address, and phone number) and cut them off once in a while. But she also said they usually just get their friends to return stuff for them or go to another Nordstrom’s.

    If a store offers a price guarantee, I say use it and abuse it to save a few bucks. But, I know how much it costs to manufacture clothes, so I’m already hesitant to buy clothes that are expensive. Even at $35, this lady is still getting the cost at near-cost.

    Unfortunately, Sears s does not have such a policy, so this lady is SOL.

  48. jdame says:

    I’m guessing the store was sick of people gaming the return/repurchase system. I bet the coat ended up back on the floor after the customer left.

  49. Teleolurian says:

    @megan9039: That’s exactly what I was thinking.

  50. I’ve never shopped at Sears, so I can’t say anything about their retail practices, but I just get the feeling that we’re not being told the whole story here by the OP.

  51. AaronC says:


    And that is why companies resort to extremely strict Return Policies. People who abuse the system. Funny how people say abuse it to save a few bucks, and then cry when a company changes its policy… nice. Bad consumer in action.

  52. AnderBobo says:

    There is a difference between buying a regularly priced item only to find out it goes on sale 4 days later.

    This purchase was a clearance item, I can see how the store would refuse a price-matching guarantee. If anything she should have just returned with the receipt and see what they could do for her.

    Most people recognize that clearance items get cheaper and cheaper the longer they stay out until they eventually just get shipped away. She took a gamble purchasing it for 35 bucks instead of waiting to see if it would still be around for a cheaper price later on down the road.

  53. MissTic says:

    So the “return was completed” and she had the reciept. So I’m assuming they credited her for the amount she paid? If so, why not just go over to the rack and re-purchase the coat at the lower discount price? I would have just walked away (assuming they credited me via my original form of payment) and then came back a few minutes later to buy the coat essentially taking a de facto discount. She did say she “saw a dress on the floor that she had returned the previous day” right???

  54. Wally East says:

    @FlashGordon: Hey, quit using The Flash’s logo as your own! :)

  55. Mr. Gunn says:

    Well, price protection typically doesn’t apply to clearance items(even AMEX price protection, IIRC), but she shouldn’t have been expected to know that.

    Not voiding the transaction when she asked is just pure asshattery, though. I guess when a company like Sears loses so much public esteem, they stop caring. It’s not likely people could actually think worse about Sears than they already do.

  56. Concerned_Citizen says:

    I’ve never heard of price matches on clearance items. They are marked down to sellout. Some may sell at 80% off and then you may still have a few left. So you mark it off to 90% to get rid of the rest. This doesn’t mean you can come back in and expect a price adjustment. She could have held out for the cheaper price, but then she wouldn’t have been able to get her size. That being said, why the hell didn’t they just let her keep it as long as she was willing to keep it at the price she paid for it? There definitely has to be more to this story, something seems to have gone terribly wrong in the way this woman communicated her intentions.

  57. katylostherart says:

    @MissTic: the article said the coat on the rack was the same price but a different SIZE. the coat she returned was still behind the counter when they told her she wouldn’t be getting it back.

  58. alhypo says:

    @AaronC: I don’t think this is an instance of “bad consumerism”. We only have her side of the story, but if she did indeed clearly state her intentions, they should have just told her they can’t do that rather than processing the return. I would not be surprised, however, if she actually didn’t ask for the coat back until after the return had been processed.

  59. AMetamorphosis says:

    I had a similar experience with a chain called ” The Bon Ton ” that carries a dish pattern I collect called ” Franciscan “. I paid close to $ 800 dollars for two 4 piece settings to find that they went on sale 2 weeks later.

    I called The Bon Ton and asked since I was a loyal customer if I could get a credit to my Bon Ton charge account for the price difference. I was told that that was impossible.

    Since I did not unbox the dishes I grabbed one of my best friends and we headed to The Bon Ton to return them.

    The moment I returned them and had the charge taken off my account I told them I wanted to repurchase them at the lower price. I was told no.

    I then simply turned to my best friend and said you know, those dishes would look lovely in your kitchen.

    She whipped out a credit card and bought them from the cashier as I wrote her a check for the cost of the reduced dishes @ the same time.

    Bon Ton has lost all business with me as a result of not giving me a 30 day price gurentee on their OWN merchandise.

    BTW, the price difference was 500 big ones and YES, I expect as a loyal Bon Ton charge holder for 22 years that I would have gotten the sale price without having to resort to the tactic I did.

  60. goodywitch says:

    So, Kmart and Sears are owned by the same company, but Kmart has price match and sears doesn’t? If they ever consolidate their policies, I hope it goes in favor of Kmart’s policies instead of sears’.

  61. silentnight913 says:

    The women told the person behind the register exactly what her intentions were up front. The employee processed the return with no intention of allowing the woman to repurchase the coat. If the transaction could not be completed as the customer requested, the employee should have said so from the beginning. The way I see it, the person processing the return was in breach of an oral/implied contract.

  62. rbilotta says:

    The thing I do not like about the story and some people might of mentioned it is that the when returning the coat, the mother said she wanted to return it with hopes of repurchasing it for a lower price. I think Sears by agreeing to refund it is implicitly agreeing to allow her to repurchase it, and then changes her mind and says sorry you can’t do that. She clearly only wanted to refund if she rebuy the coat and Sears accepted the refund. Just because they don’t anything about the repurchase it clearly was a part of the mother’s transaction. I think the exact way they did it was wrong.

  63. picardia says:

    I agree that Sears was within their rights to refuse return/repurchase on a coat sold at clearance. That said, once she said she would take it at the full price, they should have let her do so. It’s on clearance; they want it out of the store. Refusing to let her buy it back was merely petty.

  64. @AaronC: Didn’t mean to imply blatant abuse (typo)… but if I happen to buy a shirt for $34 on Friday and it’s on sale for $10 on Monday, you bet I’m going to get a price adjustment. The store has this policy for a reason (why, I cannot say, it seems rather counter-intuitive to let folks who pay more get their money back, but whatever…). But you are right, stores do tighten their policies because of people like those old ladies at Nordstrom’s, and infrequent returners like me suffer for it.

  65. framitz says:

    Scumbag action on the customer’s part, hopefully Sears threw the coat in the dumpster, maybe the “customer” can find it there for FREE.

  66. littlemoose says:

    Having worked clothing retail for many years, I have to second the distinction made above between regular-price and clearance-price items. Where I worked, we would gladly do a one-time price adjustment if the item went on sale within 14 days after you bought it. You didn’t even need to have the merchandise; just a proper receipt. But if it’s outside that 14-day period, or if it was a clearance/price-kill, no, we might not honor the price adjustment. I think that is fair — like a commenter said above, everything goes on sale if you hold onto your receipt long enough.

    And serial returners are in fact a big problem in retail. People would steal, forge receipts, attempt to return worn or damaged items, etc. We, too, kept track of customers’ names just to cut off the frequent returners. Ordinary customers did not pay the price for the bad conduct of these bad apples.

    That said, refusing to void the return is a jerk thing to do.

  67. freshyill says:

    @ceejeemcbeegee: At that price, employee discounts probably didn’t apply.

  68. biblio26 says:

    @Mollyg: It’s a very common practice for stores to allow a return of a product for the difference in price if the price drops within a specific point in time. If it’s not their policy, they should say so before even processing the return.

  69. MsFeasance says:

    @Youthier: I wouldn’t consider the fact that she’d returned something a day earlier suspect. When I was in high school in my hometown and completely busy, my mom, who doesn’t work, would buy a few sizes of the same item so that I could try them on at home rather than going out to the store. NOTE THAT THIS IS NOT RETAIL RENTING–I never wore them anywhere but in my house for a brief period to assess whether the size fits, and returned–with original receipt–the items that didn’t fit.

  70. katoninetales says:

    @juniper: If they wanted to cut her off, the thing to do would still have been to refuse the return in the first place. I don’t think anyone’s necessarily defending habitual returns, but Sears did this the wrong way any way you slice it.

  71. Imafish says:

    “If it’s not their policy, they should say so before even processing the return.”

    If a retailer wants to have such a policy, that’s great. But to put a burden on a retailer to explain every possible policy it does not follow would be ludicrous.

    The general rule of contracts is to honor the contract. Some retailers have made an exception to that general rule and will allow price reductions post sale. These could make sense because it would allow customers to buy without worrying about a lower price around the corner.

    However, merely because some retailers do this does not mean that every retailer should. And more importantly, if you are not happy with the price offered, do not buy at that price. Ever. If you follow that simple rule, your life will be much happier.

  72. friendlynerd says:

    She was up-front about her intentions with the return. By even starting the return after it was explained to her, the employee was being nasty. They could have simply said that if it’s returned it can’t be repurchased.

  73. friendlynerd says:

    How much did you get paid for that post?

  74. RINO-Marty says:

    Buran, nobody’s questioning whether it’s legal. We’re questioning whether it’s right.

  75. Raanne says:

    I wonder if she really explained what she wanted to do to the sales associate?

    Price guarantees never apply to clearances. Its also possible that the number was not in the system anymore – although I believe a return should put the number back into the system.

    Not quite sure what the reality is behind the story, without hearing both sides, but I would have to side with the Sears employee on it not being allowed, and with the customer for the “they shouldn’t have said they’d do it if they wouldn’t”…

  76. codpilot says:

    That’s only one of the reasons I haven’t shopped in Sears since 1990. Sears is an evil customer hating monster. Why do people still shop there?

    They hate you, so take your money to someone who will give you good customer service and a quality product at a fair price!

    Some deal that turned out to be.

  77. irfan says:

    i only read half the posts… but she found the same coat but a DIFFERENT size?! thats not the same thing. odd sizes get discounted more than common sizes. they shouldnt honor it if she cant find the exact same coat in that color and size at a cheaper price, and even then it was on clearance and id think its excluded from price mathces.

  78. Coelacanth says:

    @Mollyg: Well, it’s not “taking” $20 from the company… they just earned less from the original purchase.

    I once bought an expensive gift for somebody, and two weeks later the item went on sale. Fortunately, they were willing to honour the price difference.

    At the very least, they should have allowed her to walk out with her original purchase. They risk losing less that way and only come off as *partial* jerks.

  79. InThrees says:

    This is just incredible, and very sad because of just how prominent this behaviour is in retail.

    Instead of letting this woman have her minor $20 victory and ensuring she views Sears in a more positive light (imagine a joking sales associate or manager ringing up this return-and-repurchase), we now have a woman who will likely never go back to Sears with a story to tell to boot.

    Was that $20 worth it? Sears corporate definitely doesn’t think so, I guarantee it. The sad part is they have obviously done NOTHING to educate their employees and management about how mistreatment of customers is.

  80. Lazlo Nibble says:

    @framitz: If Sears dumpstered it (always possible) they probably destroyed it first.

    My first “real” job was stocking shoes at Sears. Any returned shoes that weren’t in like-new condition went into The Box. When The Box was full, it was dumped onto the floor, at which point we hacked up every last shoe with boxcutters until it was completely unwearable, then tossed it. Even “lightly worn” shoes — items that could easily have been donated to charity — were destroyed and discarded.

    I’m not ashamed of much, but I’m still ashamed of that.

  81. MrMold says:

    Sears dumped all their old and experienced sales staff as they were more costly than teenagers or meth heads. Might be that’s the reason they are in pain.

    Something about this tale doesn’t add up. Methinks the teller is conveniently forgetting some salient points that would make this more believable.

  82. KogeLiz says:

    @megan9039: Yeah, I was wondering why no one mentioned that.

  83. greenpepper says:

    If you find a lower price on an identical branded item with the same features currently available for sale at another local competitor retail store, Sears will match that price plus, give you 10% of the difference. Just bring in the original advertisement to a sales associate at the time of, or within 30 days after, your purchase.

  84. laparka2 says:

    The “Return Processing Center”, for most stores, is code for “We’re hiding this in the back room until you go away.”. This from a couple of friends that work/have worked in retail. They said it was mostly used for people who’d buy things, then bring them back weeks later when the item was on sale, attempting to return it so they could re-buy it at the sale price.

  85. @MsFeasance: My mom did the same thing, but honestly I’d still consider that suspect. I mean, I don’t know about your mom, but my mom wasn’t particularly interested in making extra unnecessary trips for returns. So even though sometimes she’d have a number of items to return (for me, my brother, and my dad – she was a veeeery patient woman), she’d do it all in one trip, not over the course of several days. The fact that this customer was back wandering around a store she’d returned an item to just the day before makes me think that either she is just completely addicted to shopping, or she spends a lot of time hunting for deals. I suspect it’s a combination of both. Either way, it probably means the employees recognize her, and if she has a habit of requesting returns or price-difference refunds chances are she has tried their patience before.

    Of course, her son probably hasn’t really got any particular interest in accompanying her on her many trips to Sears, and he really has no reason to not take his mother on her word, so he may not be aware that there’s a chance there’s more to this story.

  86. My guess is she knew they didn’t price match on clearance and tried to get around this by just returning it hoping to rebuy it. The Sear’s employee clearly knew what she was up to and called her out on it. The woman got what she deserved.

    Also, even if they had given her the $20 I can guarantee she wouldn’t have been spreading Sears-love amongst her friends. I know her type exactly they want everything for nothing and nothing pleases them.

  87. ben1711 says:

    @rdldr1: They didn’t confiscate the coat…they returned the money back as requested. No law was broken here friend…unfortunately the minute the consumer recieved the money back…Sears repurchased the coat and is free to do with it what they want. Spiteful thing to do by Sears…yes. Theft by Sears…no.

  88. jimv2000 says:

    Scam fails, engage plan B:

    Leave, come back later, purchase coat.

    Issue solved.

  89. ben1711 says:

    @silentnight913: No breach of contract at all…
    Lets pretend I go return a product at X-merchandiser and say “I’d like to return this AND recieve 1,000,000 dollars back. So then the employee refunds my money…do I get 1,000,000. Was there a contract? Not a chance.

  90. Buran says:

    @RINO-Marty: Legally, they were in the right. Practically? I dunno whose side to be on.

  91. Trojan69 says:

    Only a moron dos not understand the mechanics of CLEARANCE. They are identical to GOING OUT OF BUSINESS.

    Prices are periodically reduced until sold. The consumer’s choice is to risk having the product sell out against the benefit of paying less at a later time.

    This lady was given the benefit of holding onto the product for a period of time wherein Sears would have had the opportunity to sell it to someone else. By what right does this lady claim a price guarantee? Could she, or anyone else, guarantee that the product would not have been sold for $35 to another customer?

    I am actually stunned that Sears took the coat back in the first place. Clearance means ALL SALES FINAL in almost all stores.

  92. StevieD says:

    I filled up my gas tank on Friday.

    The price went down on Saturday

    (it really did….. don’t worry it went back up on Sunday….. somebody must have made a mistake)

    Should I get a refund for overpaying on Friday?

  93. kyle4 says:

    @FlashGordon: I agree, I think the employee liked the coat and wanted it for him/her self. Maybe to give it as a gift, maybe to keep, who knows. That’s the only thing that makes sense to me here as to why they’d be so annoying.

  94. anyanka323 says:

    I have to side with Sears. It sounds like she was trying to scam the associate. I don’t know if Sears has a price protection policy, but from my understanding clearance items are excluded from it at most stores.

    I also can see the side of the frequent returners. My mother is one of them, especially for shoes because she has an odd size. She’ll return over half of the shoes she buys in stores and online and reorder them in the other sizes that she’ll fit into. I can see that retail stores lose money on returns, but if the customers find the size/style they prefer, then it’s better for the retailer and the customer.

  95. irid3sc3nt says:

    That’s true.
    There is a difference between an item on SALE and an item on CLEARANCE.
    If the item went on sale, then just source the advertisement and you’ll get an adjustment. If the item went on clearance and you want it for that price, the only way you can do that is return the item and get a new item off the floor. At guest service you’re not supposed to return an item and let it be bought back all at the same time, it has to go back to the floor or else you could get fired. Some employees do it anyway because they’re tired of hearing guests bitch at them all day.

    If the story is true, then that’s a jerk thing for Sears to do, but if she waited until the return was processed to say, “Okay, I want to rebuy that for the clearance price,” then, yeah, they probably have a similar policy and can’t just give it back to her. And I’m sure when they told her that she wasn’t very nice.

    And, yes, there are people that return things they buy all the time. I don’t know if they’re lonely or have nothing better to do or if they just feel good about aggravating people.

  96. BugMeNot2 says:

    I think those serial returners more pretty common than most people think.

    I worked with a women who had gotten herself out of massive credit card debt. I guess some credit counselor had explained she might be addicted to shopping, but you don’t have to keep the stuff.

    So she shopped Friday night, Saturday all day, and Sunday all day. She then spend Monday-Thurs returning all of the stuff she had bought. She even rotated malls so she wouldn’t get refused a refund. She really really enjoyed the experience of spending money and pretending to be a ‘rich’ person.

  97. radio1 says:

    This is ridiculous.

    Mom sees the same coat, but a DIFFERENT size, on clearance for $20.00 cheaper?

    Why does mom deserve the cheaper price? They clearly did not have the same coat in HER size available. If there was a coat in her size, I can totally see her point.

    Clearance is not a sale. Clearance usually means ‘all sales are final’.

    Imagine if you went to an electronics store that had surround sound receivers on clearance. You buy it and you’re happy. A friend goes there a week later says, “Dude, they have your receiver but the next model up (more wattage and channels) for even cheaper price than when you went and got yours…

    What kind of brass balls would it take to walk in and demand an additional discount because another ‘in-stock’ clearance model was price-reduced even further…? What should the store manager say?

    1) Sure, your clearance item is no longer in stock, but to be nice we’ll give you an additional discount to match.
    2) You are welcome to return the receiver and purchase the more expensive receiver with that credit?
    3) Ma’am, I’m sorry the item was a clearance product.
    4) F* off you old bat.

    Plus this item is clothing that was worn for a week. It’s not new anymore.

    I agree, the people at Sears should have been nicer and given the lady what she wanted- just to keep her happy.

    But God, if she had a bad attitude- “You old bat, you the coat for cheap anyways, there are no more of your size in stock. That’s why it’s ca;ed clearance.”

  98. oldscud says:

    Why would she “naturally” want some sort of reimbursement? When have we reached the stage of our consumerism where it is natural to want additional benefits a week after a deal is struck and a sale is consumated on a *clearance* item?

  99. TVGenius says:

    Sorry, but if it’s on clearance, too bad. I’ve never seen a store that would honor a price difference on a clearance item. At any rate, she only should have been able to return it and get the clearance price back, as most stores would handle this. Why would she return used clothing anyway? Getting kinda tired of the greedy-misers-that-don’t-get-their-way stories…

  100. forgottenpassword says:

    and this is why you dont let the store in on what you are trying to do (return an item just so you can purchase it cheaper later).

    Return the coat ONLY after making sure that there is another on the rack you can buy for a cheaper price. Then buy that one.

    You never know what idiotic bullshit policies a store is going to have.

    If I were that woman, I’d have her son go in every day to look for her old coat on the rack & buy it.

    And btw…. IF this is INDEED store policy…. then the employee should have informed her of it before processing the return. Processing the return when you already know the person wants to buy it at the cheaper price & THEN denying it is just spitefull(like the first poster said) & mean. ANd horrible customer service. It is not up to the employee to “punish” customers for being a savvy consumers & this is what i feel was the intent here.

    No wonder sears is on the road to bankruptcy.

  101. forgottenpassword says:


    Because “a few extra bucks” can make a big difference over time.

    You’d be amazed.

  102. EtherealStrife says:

    Some stores are not allowed to turn around and sell items that have been returned. Returns are boxed up and shipped back to a central return processing location that determines whether the item can still be sold as “new” or even “as-is”. Where I worked it was a *corporate* policy, and not the sort of thing an employee (or even a manager) had discretion over.

  103. Cool story bro says:

    Lesson: don’t be such a miser.

  104. Scatter says:

    Most companies won’t allow price protection or even returns on clearance items. Though it was kind of shady for Sears not to explain this before processing your return.

  105. waffle iron says:

    Price match: []
    Return: []

    Sears has a 90 day return policy on clothes. The price match period is 30 days. (Links are from but most all stuff can be returned in store and the return policy is the same.)

    I don’t think they do price matching on clearance goods, but if an item went from regular status to clearance in 30 days, you probably could get a manager to do it. Then again my local sears is notorious for rolling over if a customer complains to a manager long enough.

  106. rbilotta says:


    You example is ridiculous…there wouldn’t be a contract because no body would believe they would agree to that…that defies any common sense. However asking to somebody to refund and resell a coat…that is not ridiculous on the face of it. *If* and and I say *if* the clerk took the coat after the mother said both conditions, I want to refund the coat on condition of getting for a lower price, then the cashier refunded only, she broke an implied contract. You cannot accept certain terms and ignore others of a person’s offer. This like Contracts 101 literally. You give a ridiculous example that no reasonable person one would think, using common sense as being serious. The alleged proposition by the mother is much more realistic.

  107. fuzzyprint says:

    I worked at Sears 10 years ago and back then there was a 30-day price guarantee. If anything went on sale or if the customer found it for less at another store, we were allowed to make a price adjustment- even the register had commands programmed in it so that it knew that a price adjustment was happening.

    Has Sears since dropped this practice?

    Just two years ago I purchased a clearanced coat from Sears. Though it was clearanced the cashier went above and beyond by calling other local stores to find the color and size I wanted. Calling other stores for clearanced items wasn’t something I was allowed to do when I was an employee.

    Sounds to me like those particular employees were being spiteful and that Sears owes you an apology.

  108. Deusfaux says:


    when doing price protections or return/resells.

    It has no reason to be there -everything they need is on the receipt – and they can’t screw you by only doing it halfway.

  109. OrvinEsplanade says:

    Understand something. Ive been working at Sears Holdings for 3 years. Every store runs itself in its own fasion. I have never heard of such a center. Normally if this ever happened, the customer would get a price adjustment (with 10% lower price included).