Tiffany tells Consumerist that she thought that returning a pair of $15 sunglasses to an American Eagle store would be a simple transaction. This seems sensible enough. What she didn’t know that her bank issuing her a new credit card was simply too much for the chain’s computers. Bringing in her credit card statement wasn’t enough, and now store employees now insist that she have her bank issue her a personalized letter in order to issue the refund.
A few weeks ago, I needed to get a pair of sunglasses last-minute before leaving for a trip. I picked up some cheap $15 plastic frames at American Eagle, but ended up changing my mind and decided to go back and return them. With my original receipt and the sunglasses in brand new condition, I thought it’d be a routine transaction. It turned out to be anything but.
When I got to the store, the cashier asked for the original credit card that I made the purchase with. No problem — except I realized I’d just been issued a new credit card by Charles Schwab, and I had shredded my old card already. The cashier told me I could come back with my credit card statement showing the purchase, and only then could they grant me the refund. I was a little annoyed and taken aback by the request, but since I wanted the credit refunded (not store credit), I obliged by going home, sifting through my paper records, and finding the statement showing the purchase.
My second time to the store, I presented the sunglasses with the original receipt and my credit card statement showing the same date, name, purchase total, and account number to corroborate the receipt. The cashier started to process the transaction until the manager came around to approve it. Looking at my credit card statement (which I already considered a mild invasion of privacy, as it showed information on ALL my purchases, as well as my full account number and address), he informed me that he could not give me a refund. When I pointed out that the statement perfectly matched the information on the receipt, he continued to refuse, despite what the other cashier had told me earlier, and insisted that what I actually needed was a personalized letter from Charles Schwab, saying that they had issued me a new credit card.
Essentially, he was demanding that I go to my brokerage firm and ask for a special letter explaining that they had sent me a new card and showing both my old and new account numbers, just so I could get $15 back for a pair of plastic sunglasses. Not only that, but this AE manager insisted that this was a perfectly acceptable and even expected demand to make – to always carry around such special documentation – because ALL stores have such similarly ridiculous return policies.
When I asked why many other stores could simply refund to the original account without asking for such extensive documentation, he claimed it was because AE “lacked this technology.” I was flabbergasted. By “technology,” I think what he actually meant was “common sense” or “courtesy” or “sensible return policy.”
I was determined to get my measly $15 back, so I chewed him out a bit and finally he found the largesse to grant me the refund. With a swipe of his card, it was done – just like that. No “special technology” needed.
Hope you’ll spread the word, and that this never happens to anyone else!
Could she have solved all of this by taking her refund in store credit? Yes. However, that wasn’t what Tiffany wanted, and their demands were out of line.