Sorry, Your $80 Brooks Brothers Shirt Is Only Good For Two Years

The phrase “unconditional guarantee” gives the impression that a product has a guarantee, and that it’s unconditional. B. writes that at Brooks Brothers, “unconditional” seems to mean “as long as you don’t wash or wear articles of clothing.” Is he out of line to expect the company to stand behind frequently worn and laundered items like dress shirts? Or is Brooks Brothers’ use of the word “unconditional” in this situation misleading?

B. writes:

Brooks Brothers Guarantee directly from their web site –

Our Unconditional Guarantee
Brooks Brothers guarantees its merchandise and your satisfaction. Purchases may be exchanged or returned at any time. With a receipt, full merchandise refunds will be issued by original payment method. Without a receipt, refunds will only be issued at current sale price on a Brooks Brothers Merchandise Credit Card. Cash refunded only in amounts of $200 or less at Brooks Brothers retail stores in the United States only.

I had some shirts that had been in my closet for a while unworn because of their condition (worn out in spots that shouldn’t have had them through normal wear). I was unaware of their “unconditional guarantee” until my wife told me to look on their website to see if they stood behind their $80 shirts. I was happy to see that such an expensive shirt had a guarantee.

I brought the shirts back to my local Brooks Brothers store and told the clerk that I wanted to exercise their unconditional guarantee for the shirts as I felt that they should not have worn out where they did. She looked at the shirts and told me that the shirts are outside of their expected life and that she can not do anything for me. I quoted their unconditional guarantee but she stated that it was company policy that the guarantee is only during the shirts expected life. I asked where this was stated and she responded once again that it is company policy. I asked her if she agreed that the definition of unconditional was without conditions and she agreed but still stated that she could not help me.

I then asked what the expected life of their shirts are. The surprising response – two years if laundered per their directions and six months if dry cleaned. I walked out of the store with my worthless shirts never to darken the door of Brooks Brothers again in my life.

In summary I learned two things that day –

1) $80 Brooks Brothers shirts only have a life expectancy of six months to two years.

2) Brooks Brothers must not have a dictionary in their corporate office as they don’t know the definition of unconditional or have the capacity to understand what “at any time” implies.

To all my friend at Consumerist think twice about purchasing from Brooks Brothers as their clothes have expiration dates.