13 Crazy Stories About Customers Trying To Return Worn, Altered, And Stained Clothing

Turns out, if you fuss enough and in just the right way, sometimes you can return gross, old stuff stores aren’t technically supposed to accept back. Anonymous associates from shops around New York City share stories of the craziest merchandise return attempts they’ve ever dealt with.

White House Black Market

Policy: Returns must be made within 60 days of purchase. Items must be unworn and unwashed.

ID: 339456

Plea: “One woman tried to return a pair of jeans that she had purchased a while ago. There was no receipt, no tag and there were stains all over the crotch area — lots of different colored stains, too. She said the stains weren’t hers, and that her roommate had borrowed them without asking… Looking back, I wish I had worn gloves or something.”

Verdict: Rejected.

ID: 339515

BCBG Max Azria

Policy: Return items within 10 days for store exchange. No refunds, except for online purchases.

ID: 339545

Plea: “It was around Christmas, and this woman came in, crying and begging for her money back. We told her our policy, and she eventually left. The next day, she came back and called the cops.”

Verdict: Accepted.

ID: 339610

Plea: “There was a customer who spent $17,000 in one day. The next day, she came back with a note from her therapist that said she was a shopping addict and needed to return the items.”

Verdict: Accepted.

ID: 339640

Plea: “My all-time favorite story is this guy who came in and bought $5,000 worth of clothes for his mistress — he told me she was his mistress, too. I helped him pick out a few outfits, but then two or three days later he came back in. She told him it was way too over the top, and made him return everything.”

Verdict: Rejected, with a twist: “He couldn’t get his money back, so he spent his entire store credit on three of us working in the store instead. I got a nice jacket.”

ID: 339672

Lucky Brand Jeans

Policy: Returns must be made within 30 days of purchase for a full refund.

ID: 339696

Plea: “People try and return jeans that they’ve already altered all the time. We’ve had customers come in who have added five or six inches to the hem line and now want a refund.”

Verdict: Rejected.

ID: 339701


Policy: Returns must be made within 30 days if unworn or defective. Receipt required.

ID: 339714

Plea: “One of our most popular items is this knee-length brown suede wedge boot. We’ve sold hundreds and we’ve never had a quality issue with them. One day, this lady walked in wearing them, but one of the boots was ripped down the side. She had wrapped a rubber band around them to keep them on. She had owned the boots for a year, and when we wouldn’t take them back, she made this huge scene and called them defective.”

Verdict: Accepted. (Begrudgingly.)

ID: 339721

Plea: “I kept explaining our policy to this one really angry customer, but she wasn’t having it. Then she slammed her fists on the counter and said, ‘Well, It’s MY policy not to be screwed over.’ She threw her credit card at me and knocked an entire table of shoes over on her way out.”

Verdict: Rejected.

ID: 339940


Policy: Return or exchange most merchandise for a full refund anytime after purchase. (One of the best policies in the business.)

ID: 339746

Plea: “I used to have a regular customer who I would always help pick out outfits. Eventually, I found out that she had figured out my days off and would come in and return the outfits that she had clearly worn, tags still on.”

Verdict: Accepted.

ID: 339754

Plea: “Prom season was always the worst. We’d have girls come in the day after prom trying to return dresses with sweat stains that smelled like cigarettes and beer.”

Verdict: Accepted.

ID: 339918

Kate Spade

Policy: Returns must be made within 30 days. (Or 14 days for sale items.)

ID: 339776

Plea: “We had a woman who would come in almost every week with returns of things she bought online. Every item would just reek of mothballs. Other customers would step away from her. Eventually, I told her that I couldn’t resell her stuff anymore.”

Verdict: Accepted, for a while.

ID: 339781


Policy: Returns must be made within 30 days, and items must be unworn, unwashed, undamaged or defective. Receipt required for items purchased by cash or check.

ID: 339796

Plea: “We get a lot of studio pulls in this store… That’s when a studio, like Disney or something, buys merchandise for actors to wear on shoots. So we also get a lot of illegal studio pulls. People don’t tell you who they are and they buy a ton of stuff and then return it when the shoot is over. One guy was trying to return one of these illegal pulls and I knew it. He made up this big story about how it was for his two nieces — both conveniently size 10 — who were going to visit Ethiopia but ended up not going.”

Verdict: Accepted, but he was added to the do-not-return list.

ID: 339817

American Apparel

Policy: Returns for store credit or exchanges must be made within 45 days, except for bodysuits (which are the most commonly returned items), swimwear, unitards, intimates, sale items, vintage, cosmetic and grooming products, which can only be returned if defective.

ID: 339837

Plea: “Some French tourists wanted to return a tutu unitard they bought before they went home. They wanted their money back and spent an hour yelling at me in French before I finally got them to call our customer service line.”

Verdict: Accepted.

ID: 339852


Policy: Returns allowed within 45 days if item is unwashed, unworn or defective.

ID: 339872

Plea: “Some people freak out over getting less back than what they paid for it— like if the item had gone on sale since they purchased it. They curse and yell at us over 89 cents. But we’re used to it. Yesterday, someone peed in the dressing room for no reason.”

Verdict: Accepted. (And, gross.)

ID: 339899

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