Motherhood Maternity Misplaces Misdirected Merchandise

Christine made a mistake, and she admits it. She needed to return some clothes purchased online from two different retailers. Somehow, she mixed up the packages, and the clothes destined for Motherhood Maternity ended up at the Gap, and vice versa. The Gap immediately realized the mistake and sent the package back so Christine could redirect it to the correct store. Motherhood Maternity…didn’t.

Three months ago, I ordered a batch of maternity clothes from the Gap and Motherhood Maternity. Unfortunately, when I returned the pieces that didn’t fit – I mixed up the returns! The Gap immediately returned the shipment meant for Motherhood, but Motherhood did not. In emails they have claimed to have 1. never received it (I sent the UPS delivering confirmation), then they claimed to have sent it back (I asked for tracking info what was never supplied), then they just quit answering emails. I reported them to the BBB saying – yes, this was my mistake but they still should have returned it – and they told the BBB that no proof was every supplied that the items were sent to them (I resent the email thread and the delivery confirmation).

What a huge hassle – and now it’s too late to get credit from the Gap. Still I feel I should at the very least get my return back. I’m pretty appalled that Motherhood has been such a stinker about this whole thing. I won’t ever do business with them again!

So, um, which was it? Did they receive it, or didn’t they? Did they mail the item back to Christine, or didn’t they? I suspect that mixups like this happen quite often, and while it is the customer’s mistake, she should still get her stuff back. I wonder whether Motherhood Maternity’s own mailed returns tend to disappear, too.

(Photo: kingfox)


Edit Your Comment

  1. lehrdude says:

    Somebody who shops at Motherhood is going to be VERY upset when the belly-stretch jeans they bought for their seventh month don’t actually stretch…

  2. flyromeo3 says:

    invisiblenemies: While thats true, there is still human intervention. The box needs to be opened and items taken out.
    Perhaps you should re-read the article where she clearly is blaming them for not returning the item!

    If anything the GAP would have a bigger distribution center. If they were able to return those items than whats the problem with Maternity M not doing the same.

    Customer service goes a long way.

  3. Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

    When the GAP returned the Motherhood Maternity clothes, did she send them in for the credit? We obviously know that the GAP didn’t get theirs…

    I know a lot of people advocate shopping online, trying things on at home, and returning what they don’t like/won’t fit. Awesome for them :) I guess I’m old fashioned– what little clothes shopping I manage for myself, I’d rather go to the store and buy it. I can feel it, touch it, see it…. less buyers remorse. I also get a high when I see how much I’ve saved :)

    But, I’m also one of those weirdos that gets to the checkout lane and says “That’s too much!” and puts stuff back on the checkout shelves because I feel I overspent.

    • Major-General says:

      @verucalise: I couldn’t agree more.

    • booboolee says:

      @verucalise: I feel exactly the opposite. Practically everything I wear I buy online… since I know my sizing very well, I never need to return for that reason. I get a significant discount and endless choices from ebay. I also save on gas from not having to go out to the mall (which at times in my life was an hour away).

      * I also get a high when I see how much I’ve saved. *

    • Hil-fish says:

      @verucalise: Sorry, pet peeve of mine rearing its ugly head…

      When you say “I [get] to the checkout lane and [say] “That’s too much!” and [put] stuff back on the checkout shelves because I feel I overspent” – you don’t mean you literally get to checkout and say that as the cashier is ringing you up, do you? Because especially with most cell phones these days having perfectly good calculators on them, there is no reason you can’t figure out how much you’re spending before getting all the way to the register. Most people can’t do math in their head easily – I get that. But it wastes the cashier’s time, and the time of anybody behind you in line, if you only realize how much you’ve spent when you’re being checked out.

      /getting off my soapbox now, thanks!

      • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

        @Hil-fish: Oh NOOO I don’t do that! When I’m loading things up onto the conveyer belt, I suddenly have a small panic attack and say “Why am I spending $10 on a shirt? $10 extra that COULD go towards bills! I don’t NEED a shirt!” then the devil on the other shoulder says “he he he… buy it, waste the money….”

        And I end up setting it on the empty cash register next to me. But I never hold up a line of people. And it’s never really about having enough money to pay- it’s about my frugal side and feeling guilty for small purchases. I always feel money could be better spent elsewhere.

        • Brunette Bookworm says:

          @verucalise: You know, as a former cashier, that’s really annoying too. The cashiers have to go around and pick all that stuff up that people leave there. Why not just not pick it up, walk around the store and think about whether you want it or not. If you decide you want it, then pick it up.

    • korybing says:

      @verucalise: I buy a lot of things online, but when it comes to clothing and shoes I just can’t do it. I’ve never been in a store that’s had the same sizing as another store, especially for girl clothes where the sizes seem purely arbitrary. I would never buy a pair of pants online, just because I happen to be a 6 in this store, a 8 in this store, and I fit into a 4 over in this store? There’s just too much chance of something not fitting me right to get more than a tshirt or a hoodie or something over the internet.

      Although that doesn’t have anything to do with the OP’s problem, hah. Motherhood Maternity should at least tell her the truth about the whole thing, sheesh.

    • ZoeSchizzel says:

      @verucalise: The problem is that with maternity wear, many stores do not carry the maternity line in house and you must order online. Our local Gap, for example, does not carry maternity wear. In fact, even though we are a good-sized city, we do not have any maternity shops and a lot of my friends bought all of their maternity clothing online simply out of necessity.

    • MMD says:

      @verucalise: I generally agree, but as the previous poster suggests, maternity shopping is a whole different story. Maternity clothing is simply not available in many stores outside of specialty retailers like Motherhood Maternity. I shopped in person in that store exactly once, and I was continually harassed by the salesperson. I took two items to the dressing room, and while I was changing she handed a dozen more things to me over the dressing room door. She also wanted to ask me all kinds of personal questions *through the dressing room door* to get me on their mailing list. I declined, and when I bought one item, she was visibly annoyed at me for not playing along (I know from a friend that if you get on their list, you will get endless crap in the mail. Sorry, not interested).

      After that experience, I’ve shopped exclusively at Old Navy online for maternity stuff. I order 2 sizes and ship back what doesn’t work. No invasive salespeople, no junk mail!

      • korybing says:

        @MMD: I’ve never been pregnant so I don’t know anything about buying maternity clothes, but every time I go shopping at target or walmart or any of those cheap-o stores they always have a maternity department. I don’t know what sort of quality those clothes are (I know clothes I get at walmart have the tendency of not lasting the year), and I haven’t really looked at them to see how stylish they are, but I’ve seen them around.

        • MMD says:

          @korybing: I tried Target, but as Eyebrows McGee mentions below, the options are very limited if you need decent stuff for work. I don’t shop at Wal-Mart on principle…that left Kohl’s, which had like two racks. I found a couple of tops there, but that’s about it. Online has been the best option for what I’m looking for, and if you time Old Navy purchases right, you can usually score free shipping for spending a certain amount. Plus, I’m in Chicago and Old Navy online charges the cheaper Illinois state sales tax rate, not the insane Chicago rate!

    • Etoiles says:

      @verucalise: I have to buy online, in many cases. For example, a store like Ann Taylor Loft carries size 16 and XL but not in stores — online only.

      Many stores do this also for their plus-sized / women’s clothes, or for extended sizes in either direction (00 and XXS in addition to 20 and XXL). So there’s only so much “buy it in person” you can do if you’re not between a 2 and a 14.

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @verucalise @korybing: I had no local maternity options other than like two racks at Target, one rack at a department store, and Motherhood Maternity (which sucked).

      The thing about my local Target is that the pickings were slim and random — I got a great raincoat, but they NEVER, my entire pregnancy, carried anything but sweatpants and yoga pants. I actually continued to have a life — and a job — through my nine months of pregnancy (I was grading finals two days before delivering!) so I needed ACTUAL PEOPLE CLOTHES, not clothes for sitting on my couch with the obligatory bonbons.

      I got two spectacular maternity coats (winter and rain), one pair of yoga pants, and one single shirt at Target. The coat selection was great but they NEVER had anything else.

      Motherhood Maternity is expensive, cheaply-made, and doesn’t hold up to washing. Also their stuff tends towards the “floral muumuu” theme of pregnancy clothes.

      So I shopped online. (Primarily from Old Navy, where I could get the sorts of things I wore before I was pregnant instead of floral muumuus.)

      • MMD says:

        @Eyebrows McGee (now with more baby!): I’m with you, sister! The few things I saw at Target beyond the sweats/yoga pants you mentioned were bizarrely-sized dresses, all of which were insanely small with no room to grow when I was trying them on at 4 months pregnant.

        I’m a college professor and still working until close to my due date (I’m teaching a summer class), so I still need some quasi-professional looking stuff!

        • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

          @MMD: Me too! I delivered the day finals ended and I’m teaching an online summer class with the newborn in arms. Fortunately, yoga pants okay for that. :D

  4. Anonymous says:

    Every single person on earth makes mistakes, as do companies. MM is being unreasonable. If MM had sent someone else’s order to OP, they would expect her to comply with instructions to help fix the mistake. And, MM should help OP fix mistake. She has proof that UPS delivered package to MM. Why can’t they find it? Is OP really the first person to ever make this kind of mistake with MM?

    • Corporate_guy says:

      @SukritiBadger: Lots of stores have a policy that they will never send anything back. Granted this store didn’t cite a policy, but this is basically the reason. Odds are someone threw the package away because it didn’t have an RMA number or an order number on it.

      • korybing says:

        @Corporate_guy: I think that would be a reasonable thing and I wouldn’t blame MM if that was the case. I think the problem here is that MM keeps changing it’s story around and isn’t giving the OP the truth on anything, which is just frustrating. If they had just said “sorry, we do not return mis-mailed packages” and left it at that, the OP could have just gone “well crap” and moved on with her life (presumably), instead of having to run around trying to figure out if there’s any chance of getting her package back.

      • HogwartsAlum says:


        You may be right. I know that when my facilities manager where I work has to send something off a machine in for service, some places REQUIRE the RMA number be written all over the box. I hate to imagine what would happen to it if I didn’t do that.

  5. Aladdyn says:

    @K-Bo: hes technically correct, if you get something in the mail and you didnt agree to pay fo it, its yours. Free gift. Minor point though, obviously its in the companys best interest to be honest and fix the problem.

    • K-Bo says:

      @Aladdyn: True, but I agree with @CheritaChen: Motherhood Maternity would come out looking better in this if they just said “hey, sorry when we get stuff that’s not to us we trash it/donate it ect. ” instead they are giving her the run around. No matter what the customer does wrong, a company giving them the run around never reflects well on them. Just come out and say sorry, you messed up. Telling her we got it, no we didn’t, we sent it back, that’s just stupid and waste not only the customers time, but CSR time since the customer keeps calling back to see why what the last csr said seems to be untrue.

  6. pb5000 says:

    Motherhood has always had one of the worst return policies ever. It’s been a few years since we’ve had to shop there but the last I remember, you needed to initial your copy of the receipt indicating that you agree with their return policy before they’ll hand you your bag. I tried not to initial it before, they were ruthless about it.

    • vjmurphy says:

      @pb5000: “Motherhood has always had one of the worst return policies ever. “

      No kidding! You can’t give those kids back! The return policy sucks: if you DO successfully return them to the maker, chances are good that you’ve broken several laws.

    • calquist says:

      @pb5000: I could see why though.. don’t you really only need maternity clothes the last couple months? I bet they get people trying to scam them all the time with clothes that they have worn.

      • Sanveann says:

        @calquist: Nah, not really … most of the women I know are wearing maternity clothes by the fourth or fifth month at the latest (earlier if it’s the second baby or later).

        Besides, Motherhood Maternity stuff doesn’t hold up worth crap, so there’s no way you’d be able to pretend it was new even if you did only wear it a couple months.

      • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

        @calquist: Depends on how you grow. I was buying maternity shirts like 8 weeks in (I’d never had boobs before! And my belly popped up/out early), but I was in my normal pants until about five months. One of my good friends, who is teeny tiny, was in maternity pants her second month, because the baby had nowhere to go but STRAIGHT OUT.

        Shorter women tend to end up in maternity clothes earlier than taller women, because the baby has to go OUT rather than UP right from the start, so they tend to “pop” earlier.

        It also depends on current fashions. When low-rise pants are in fashion, you can get away without maternity pants longer. When clothes are more fitted, you’re in maternity much earlier.

        @Sanveann: There’s no way you’d be able to pretend it was new if you looked in its general direction. :P I hated their stuff.

    • Posthaus says:


      I’ve shopped there once, thinking I was doing a favor for a friend. But their terrrible return policy, and rampant desire and pressure for personal information in order to get me on a mailing list has made me deterimined never to go back there when I have my own kids.

  7. Anonymous says:

    This is my first time commenting here, but I had to speak about Motherhood Maternity. They are one of the worst companies I have every dealt with. First of all, I’m surprised that online they allow returns, whenever I’ve shopped in their store, they make you initial the receipt showing that you understand their return policy (which I think is 7 days or something like that). Also, when I was pregnant with my first son, I was told to sign up for their new motherhood club and I would get free samples of diapers and such in the mail. Great, so I did. (I was young and naive) – well one of the “benefits” was subscirbing me to crappy Parenthood magazine and then charging my card $25 for the convenience.

    • MMD says:

      @RosaTapir: That happened to my friend, so I was lucky enough to know not to get on their mailing list. My friend was also my downstairs neighbor, so I saw first hand the deluge of junk mail she they sent her on a near-daily basis. They’re super-aggressive about getting your personal info when you buy something – I got out of there without doing so, but I’m never going back!

  8. invisiblenemies says:

    Smbdy shld stp xpctng thrs t fx hr mstks.

    • K-Bo says:

      @invisiblenemies: I think it’s reasonable to expect the company not to steal her stuff, and I feel sure she would be willing to pay for them to ship it back if they would quit lying to her about having not received it. She’s trying to fix her mistake, but sometimes there is only so much you can do on your own. What is she supposed to do, drive to their office, walk in and rummage around until she finds it?

    • CheritaChen says:

      @invisiblenemies: Wow, first comment already attempting to blame the OP.

      She already acknowledged she made a mistake. She did not say she was expecting Motherhood to fix it for her. What she expected, quite reasonably, was to be dealt with professionally and honestly when she attempted to correct her error.

      Is Motherhood Maternity at fault for her mixing up the packages? No. But they certainly are at fault for receiving the wrong package, apparently losing or discarding it, and then lying about it to her and to the BBB. They could have just ‘fessed up and said Well, when we receive packages not intended for us, we throw them out/sell them on Craig’s List/give them to the homeless, so we don’t have your stuff anymore, sorry. It might still suck, but it wouldn’t be dishonest. Sheesh.

    • joshua70448 says:

      @invisiblenemies: Well, maybe MM should stop lying about not receiving the package, hmmmmm?

    • nakedscience says:

      @invisiblenemies: So … you never, ever, EVER make mistakes, I take it? You’re 100% perfect!

    • B.Waite says:

      Disemvoweling a comment because you don’t agree with it is terrible customer service.

  9. JediJohn82 says:

    Small claims court! Bet they won’t even show up and you’ll easily re-coupe the cost of the clothes.

  10. tvmitch says:

    Motherhood is a scumbag company to be avoided at all costs. Their product is comparatively expensive and not very good, overall customer service is terrible, and you might as well assume you’ll be accosted by middle-aged women with too much sales training when stepping into their stores.

    It doesn’t surprise me that their online store provides a similar experience. After reading this, my wife and I will certainly not shop at their online store either.

    • Sanveann says:

      @tvmitch: You know, I haven’t been very happy with anything I’ve bought there, either. The T-shirt I got there looked ratty pretty quickly, and their clothes tend to shrink badly.

      I much prefer the Gap and Old Navy maternity stuff.

    • Anonymous says:

      @tvmitch: totally agree. As a former pregnant woman, I recommend that NO ONE EVER shop at Motherhood Maternity.

      For one thing, they discriminate. If someone non-pregnant is buying a gift for someone, they have 30 days to return it. If a pregnant woman buys something for herself, she has 7 days to return it. Fuck them.

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @tvmitch: I agree. Expensive, poor-quality clothing. None of it very attractive. And the salespeople sucked. One was really nasty about my body shape while I was pregnant (she decided my boobs were too large). Bite me, bitch. I didn’t go back.

      • coolteamblt says:

        @Eyebrows McGee (now with more baby!): I had a baby in December, and when I made the mistake of going into MM, they turned me away because I was too fat. I wear a 2X in most brands, so I’m no teeny eeny, but seriously! There was one MM store in all of Colorado that sold 2X clothes, and when I went there out of desperation, they had two pairs of $75 dollar pants and a strappy tank top for about $30. Not so great for winter wear or for work wear. I bought my maternity clothes at J.C. Penny online. Loved them!

  11. FatLynn says:

    Wait, if MM had sent the consumer something unsolicited, it would be hers, by law. Does the same not apply in the reverse direction?

    • JulesNoctambule says:

      @FatLynn: Considering the items were likely sent back with some manner of return form, I think her intent — that the items were a return, not a gift to MM — would have been pretty clear.

    • nakedscience says:

      @FatLynn: That doesn’t mean they have to be assholes about it.

      • FatLynn says:

        @nakedscience: True, but there just might not be an easy way to handle this. For example, the employees may not be able to print a shipping label that isn’t tied to an MM purchase. They set it aside to deal with later, and….?

  12. snowburnt says:

    BBB is absolutely worthless. I had an issue with a vet overcharging me (If I had been reading Consumerist at the time I would have done several things differently and would be happy with the vet and not known better about the BBB) I contacted the BBB about vet and they basically acted as a communications router for 2 back and forths and wrote me that they had “exhausted their efforts”…their efforts involve remailing correspondence with no commentary. Basically it’s like 3 people sitting at a table, I ask the BBB to ask the vet to pass the salt and the vet tells the BBB that I’m closer, I should get it my self and then the BBB stomps out of the room and locks itself in it’s room to listen to the cure.

  13. takes_so_little says:

    Motherhood may have no obligations, technically, to the OP. However, I really think they ought to help her out and send her stuff back, or at least admit they lost it. It’s in their own best interest, too. Things like this affect how people think about your company.

    From this story, it makes Motherhood sound like no one there really knows what’s going on, like a ‘left hand doesn’t know what the right hand’s doing’ situation. Even though the initial screwup was the OP’s, it seems revealing.

  14. synergy says:

    Maybe someone received it, realized it was from the wrong store, and kept it. Afterall, how’s it going to be tracked unless another person saw the person who took the delivery?

    • takes_so_little says:

      @synergy: I don’t even think it’s that bad if that’s what happened, they should just admit they lost it. Why lie? I dont get that part, unless they just don’t know what the hell is going on there.

  15. Pam Collins says:

    Motherhood is the worst. I warn all my newly pregnant friends about the store. I’d rather pay a little more at Gap and be able to return/exchange whenever I want.

    I’ve made the mistake of sending the wrong return to Fossil and they immediately sent it back to us. I probably would not have known for awhile.. we had a bunch of a returns all at the same time. It’s just the right thing to do.

  16. thepill says:

    Motherhood is awful. I bought some things there a few months ago, and the checkout process seemed to take a month…because of all the stupid questions the saleswoman had to ask me. Did I know they were having a sale on nursing bras? Did I want to sign up for their emails? Did I want free diapers and formula? Did I want a free magazine subscription?

    Then, they asked for my name and address. I said I’d rather not. The clerk took it well, and then asked me for my credit card. She didn’t swipe it; she took my name from it and punched the name in her computer. Then she handed it back to me, so that I could swipe it. After I specifically told her I didn’t want to share my personal information!

    I swear, their stores are simply fronts for marketing organizations – actually selling maternity clothes is the last thing they care about. They just want databases of new parent names and addresses. I will never shop there again, no way in hell.

    But if you do shop there, say NO to everything, then pay in *cash* so that they can’t get any info on you.

  17. rainbowsandkittens says:

    I hated their clothes. Uncomfortable and poorly made. The thing you need most when pregnant are comfortable, durable clothes and MM failed on both with several different garments. Maybe they’re run by a bunch of dudes? That would be the only reasonable explanation for the itchy seams sewn into the panels on the pants.

    Gap, on the other hand, was an amazing blessing. And Target had a few nice pair of jeans.

  18. nybiker says:

    I am trying to remember if I’ve ever read a story where every commmenter, without exception, said nothing nice about the main company cited in an OP’s story. Just to be clear here, I am referring to MM, not Gap.

    I suspect that even the contenders for the worst company in America had their defenders. But not MM. And going by the comments, I suspect that MM could be a contender for 2010.

  19. dimndgal1 says:

    I live in Hawaii so online shopping is a way of life.
    Not to mention that even when I lived outside of Washington DC and had a multitude of different stores under the same company to choose from, my size would never be in stock.
    With online shipping at reduced prices or free (love ya, Amazon!), it’s a lot easier to buy online. Many companies will let you return online purchases in store, including MM. Maternity clothing on island is limited to a few racks and lots of mumus (though with our new Targets, options are looking up). I ordered tons of clothes through MM and returned a few times to our brick and mortar store. Helps alleviate a lot of pregnancy induced confusion.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I will NEVER purchase anything from MH again. They charged my account for the WPI Parenting Magazine, that I DID NOT authorize. I made a purchase for clothes for my dil and was never asked if I wanted to buy the mag, but they did give my info to the mag and I was charged. I called June 12th, the day after I saw the charge, and they assured me they would credit my account, which as today, they have NOT. I tell everyone I know not to show there, and if they feel they must, they better use cash!