(WFLX) – You wear it. You own it!
Bloomingdales says it’s not thrifty. It’s theft. It’s a practice so common, retailers have given it a name, “wardrobing”.
“People go in to a store, they buy the merchandise, they wear it maybe once or twice, and they return it,” said Hitha Prabhakar. What people don’t realize is that it’s an illegal process, and also known as return fraud.”
In the most recent survey from the National Retail Federation, 65 percent of retailers say they’ve had customers return used clothing. “They’re losing almost $15 billion a year to return fraud. “When stuff like that happens, the prices go up,” said Rick LeBron.
“You can’t just buy it because you want to wear it and return it,” Sherif Eldalash added. ”It’s not right.”
Now, Bloomingdales is saying no more! Adding what it calls a “B-tag”, a black plastic tag on all dresses that cost more than $150.
Sales people put the tags on when shoppers check out, and they explain the dresses can’t be returned once the tag’s taken off.
“I think, for a retailer like Bloomingdales, attrition is naturally going to happen with customers because quite frankly, who wants to deal with an annoying return policy,” said Prabhakar.
Some shoppers are already complaining on Twitter “This black tag news is turning me off.”
But analysts say, in the long run, the change will save customers money.
Outside the chain’s flagship store in Manhattan, many welcome the move. “I probably wouldn’t want to get a new outfit from a store and someone had already worn it,:” said Michaela Whelan
Rival stores, like Nordstrom, say they have no plans to institute similar policies.
But take note, retailers have been trying to fight fraudulent returns for a while. Some are tracking your return patterns in a data base, others using receipts that are hard to fake, all trying to limit what is a very expensive fraud.
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