This was definitely a funny experience I had today. Last week I had to purchase some clothing items and it was recommended to me that I simply visit a Banana Republic store. I was given a list of things to buy and for the most part it was straight forward. However, I didn’t have my usual bargain hunting mindset on as I simply needed something in the near future for work and it isn’t exactly a category of expertise for me. So I just paid the full retail price. It definitely wasn’t inexpensive where two polo shirts came out to about one hundred and thirty dollars with tax.
So it was a surprise to me to learn today that they were having a 40% off everything sale. That is a pretty substantial savings where I could save like fifty two dollars. I read the price protection policy on the receipt and all too and it said they will adjust prices within 7 days of purchase.
Unwashed and unworn merchandise, accompanied by an original sales receipt may be returned to any Canadian store within 45 days Of purchase for full refund in original form of payment Markdown Merchandise ending in 97 or is an additional 50% off or more is FINAL sale and cannot be returned or exchanged. A one time price adjustment may be made within 7 days of purchase with an original receipt. All returns, exchanges and price adjustments must be made in the country OF original purchase, Valid photo ID required for unreceipted returns and to receive redeem store credits. Banana Republic merchandise cannot be returned to Banana Republic Factory Stores, Additional terms and restrictions apply.
So I figured great as I would simply bring my receipt to the store and get the difference back just like how most businesses operate.
That wasn’t the case when I arrived. While at the customer service desk I was passed on to a person who looked like the floor manager and it was explained that they couldn’t give me the price protection unless I brought back the actual clothes that I had purchased. That was very weird I thought and I re-affirmed to him that my intent wasn’t to return the items but rather I simply wanted the sale price as it is within the 7 day mark. Just as a better example for you all, imagine buying like a 50 inch TV from a store where they tell you that you have 7 days to get a price adjustment. Now normally in these cases you can just bring back your receipt and it would be as simple as that. In this case the guy was insisting that you must actually bring the 50 inch TV back.
Again, I tried to clarify with him and even mentioned that I worked at a retail store before and know how simple the process should be. He then asked if I have worn the clothes and I mentioned I haven’t as it’s all with its original tag and all. Regardless, he then mentioned that he needed to make sure that the clothes wasn’t actually worn to get a price adjustment as to his understanding of the policy it wouldn’t make sense to give me the sale price on an item if it has been used in anyway. Try thinking about that for a moment with what the concept of a price protection should be.
In the end, he said he would mark a note on my receipt to give me a few extra days to bring the merchandise to the store to process the credit. I didn’t want to debate with him too much even though it was super interesting to me from a business perspective. The thing is, based on this experience I am going to simply return the whole purchase and get a full refund. From a business point of view it just seems silly in almost every way. Therefore, it’s one of those situations I feel where you have to vote with your dollar. Hence, the only way to get them to realize how weird this process is on paper is to demonstrate how they lose business as a result.
Now granted maybe it was just this manager who was uneducated about his own company’s policies where my interpretation was indeed accurate. But it’s a good lesson business wise I think. Make it extremely odd and difficult for customers to get the things that you advertise on face value and it’s a good way to lose business fast. It’s quite a bit of money in this case too. So if you are reading this Banana Republic, or Gap the company as a whole, you may want to look into this odd price protection policy that you have.