Friday, May 05, 2006

My Straw Hat & Jessica Simpson

It was a cute straw hat from Ann Taylor Loft, with a festive bow and a flexible brim. At a very attractive sale price, I purchased the hat in two colors. The price was right and the hats were marketed as suitcase/travel friendly, with an illustrated how-to about rolling, folding and packing.

I followed the printed directions, but maybe my suitcase was packed too tight or perhaps, the baggage handlers were rough at the airport. But after a roundtrip flight to New York, my adorable hats resembled battered lampshades. I was not happy. My money seemed wasted.

Fortunately, the customer service department at Ann Taylor Loft had a solution. As a private consumer (no media credentials), I politely complained to the corporate office, where a courteous customer service representative arranged for me to exchange my travel-worn hats for newer models at an area store. My hats look great and I will pack them (unfolded) in hat boxes when I travel in the future.


Clearly, it pays to complain if your concerns are valid and honest. And don’t be shy about seeking price adjustments on merchandise that goes on sale after your original purchase. Even some celebrities and millionaires are careful shoppers.

$200 Savings for Jessica Simpson!

For instance, when Jessica Simpson was busy promoting, Dukes of Hazzard, she apparently had time to track down a price adjustment at Barneys, according to In Touch magazine. The magazine reported that Simpson requested a price adjustment when a pair of shoes she purchased at Barney’s was subsequently discounted by 40 percent. Her savings — according to In Touch — was $200.

Price Adjustment Policies

A represenstive for Jessica Simpson, could not confirm the story and referred me to Barneys. I spoke to Kimberly Oser, a New York-based spokesman for the store. Citing, customer confidentiality Oser declined to comment on the discounted shoes. However, in a subsequent email, she provided details about Barneys price adjustment policy.
“Price adjustments are given within 7 days of the original purchase date. The merchandise must be present in order to process the adjustment,” Oser wrote.

Other major retailers, ranging from Home Depot to Old Navy have similar policies. Meanwhile, many stores also have generous return and exchange policies. Based on my research, Bloomingdales and Macy’s have generous return policies. Receipts are not required, according to Lisa Kauffman, senior vice president for marketing in the Florida Division of Macy’s.

“We believe that a properly handled return is a good investment. It supports future business,” Kauffman said.

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