Ann Taylor Changes Terms Of Sale After Purchase?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Photo: Marcin Wichary)