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Brooks Brothers return policy change, September 2012

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
http://www.brooksbrothers.com/Returns-and-Exchanges/returns-and-exchanges,default,pg.html

I just recently noticed that Brooks Brothers recently (as in, during fall 2012) changed their return/exchange policy in what I consider to be a negative way. I'm kind of disappointed and irritated about this, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. Just wanted to mention it and see how folks feel about it, and bring it to peeps' attention if they've not noticed it.

Basically, Brooks Brothers has always unconditionally guaranteed their merchandise. In other words, no time limit on returns, and you could basically return stuff at any time and for any reason. That is no more. I linked to the new policy above, and it seems they will definitely take returns on saleable merchandise within 90 days, along with items that have "legitimate manufacturer's defects", with no definition of what that means.

I worked for Brooks for nearly a decade, so I am really familiar with the company, merchandise, policies, etc. I found it to be a bit ungentlemanly when dudes would take advantage of the generous return policy that existed, and roll into the store, peel off the hole-ridden socks they were wearing (yes, this happened), claim they "weren't wearing well" and ask for new ones.

Still, the old return policy did more good than harm, in my view, and made people like me loyal to the company, long after I left. I don't return much or anything, but all things equal between two companies' merchandise, I could justify the higher price point on the Brooks stuff, since it was guaranteed. Just peace of mind and all.

Anyone else annoyed by this?censored.gif
post #2 of 19
I'm not concerned because I do not think that it is ever acceptable to return something that is not defective or an unwanted gift. And there is no reason to wait over three months to return an unwanted gift.
post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
That's a great point about gifts. I hadn't thought about it, but def reasonable for those purposes.

I guess I was thinking more about the overall change in attitude - we were always told "make the customer happy, period - if he says it isn't wearing well, then it isn't." I just can't imagine ever hearing the word "no" at Brooks Brothers. Seems foreign to me, that's all.
post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grenadier View Post

I'm not concerned because I do not think that it is ever acceptable to return something that is not defective or an unwanted gift. And there is no reason to wait over three months to return an unwanted gift.

Why isn't it acceptable? I have bought ties before that I thought might look good. When I got home and tried to figure out how to wear the tie, I couldn't come up with anything good, so I returned it.

 

If I could not do this, I would stop shopping at that store, period. I am sure I'm not alone here.

post #5 of 19
Yes but did you wait 3 years to return it?. Yes when i worked there i had returns from well over 3 years all the time. I even had a lady return about 4000 worth of stuff that was 10 years old.
post #6 of 19
Unfortunately that is the trend pretty much everywhere. At 90 days their return policy is still better than most. And I believe if something is genuinely defective and not just "not wearing well" they will return it after 90 days has passed.
post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by phoenixrecon View Post

Yes but did you wait 3 years to return it?. Yes when i worked there i had returns from well over 3 years all the time. I even had a lady return about 4000 worth of stuff that was 10 years old.

Yea, we had the same thing happen when I worked there. It's part of why I have been so loyal to the company over the years. I feel like the new policy is focused on short term profits, and not long term customer loyalty. It doesn't seem very "Brooks" to me. Definitely not impressed with the change.
post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by phoenixrecon View Post

Yes but did you wait 3 years to return it?. Yes when i worked there i had returns from well over 3 years all the time. I even had a lady return about 4000 worth of stuff that was 10 years old.

I waited maybe 2 months. 3 years is a long time, but I was responding more to the statement that only defective merchandise should be returned.

post #9 of 19
I find their new polices quite acceptable and will have no problem purchasing from BB in the future.
post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by MickCollins1916 View Post

Yea, we had the same thing happen when I worked there. It's part of why I have been so loyal to the company over the years. I feel like the new policy is focused on short term profits, and not long term customer loyalty. It doesn't seem very "Brooks" to me. Definitely not impressed with the change.

The thing is, a loyal customer does not bring years-old merchandise to the store expecting a refund. A liberal return policy on merchandise that "just isn't wearing well" only works if customers respect the intent behind the policy - to do right by the customer where the merchandise is truly faulty - and do not try to take advantage of the store. If you have people coming in who just bring in worn out socks for replacement, then you know your policy isn't working.
post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 
I
Quote:
Originally Posted by viator View Post

The thing is, a loyal customer does not bring years-old merchandise to the store expecting a refund. A liberal return policy on merchandise that "just isn't wearing well" only works if customers respect the intent behind the policy - to do right by the customer where the merchandise is truly faulty - and do not try to take advantage of the store. If you have people coming in who just bring in worn out socks for replacement, then you know your policy isn't working.

I don't know that I agree. Like I said above, there were people who took advantage of the old policy, granted. But I had a customer who came in after her father died in 2004 or so, and brought in a TON of stuff with tags on it dating as far back as the late 70s. All new old stock, but we gave her what we could for it. The guy was a shopaholic, since it totaled like $4k in credit. She was extremely thankful, and probably spent $10k with me that year. I guess those issues would be few and far between, but I am looking for what would separate BB from any other retailer these days. Let's just talk non-iron shirts, since those are common nowadays. If I can buy 3 from Brooks for $219, vs Retailer X who sells them 3 for $199 or something, and the return policies are equal, why wouldn't I save $20 and go with Retailer X? BB's motto used to be "legendary customer service." Doesn't seem too legendary now, it seems common. I guess I am looking for what would make BB stand out these days and can't find much.
post #12 of 19
I agree that this is a significant change in a negative way.
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by MickCollins1916 View Post

I
I don't know that I agree. Like I said above, there were people who took advantage of the old policy, granted. But I had a customer who came in after her father died in 2004 or so, and brought in a TON of stuff with tags on it dating as far back as the late 70s. All new old stock, but we gave her what we could for it. The guy was a shopaholic, since it totaled like $4k in credit. She was extremely thankful, and probably spent $10k with me that year. I guess those issues would be few and far between, but I am looking for what would separate BB from any other retailer these days. Let's just talk non-iron shirts, since those are common nowadays. If I can buy 3 from Brooks for $219, vs Retailer X who sells them 3 for $199 or something, and the return policies are equal, why wouldn't I save $20 and go with Retailer X? BB's motto used to be "legendary customer service." Doesn't seem too legendary now, it seems common. I guess I am looking for what would make BB stand out these days and can't find much.

I'm not sure I understand your point here - you agree that returning $4k in NOS stuff from the 1970s is abusing the policy, but you think they shouldn't do anything about it because of their customer service commitment. I think the modified policy is appropriate given the price point they compete at - BB is competing with Tyrwhitt and the other Retailer Xs. If they were charging Charvet prices, I would expect more of a commitment to the garment for its normal life span.

In my mind, there is a period of time after I buy something where, if a problem pops up, I would think that a given seller should make it right. If I buy a sweater at BB and it pills after a month, then I would be comfortable taking it back. After a year? Then I just have to decide whether I am comfortable with the level of quality I got for my money when deciding whether to shop there again. (Sort of analogous to dining out: you wouldn't send your meal back or complain to the staff if the food was a little disappointing, you just might not return. But if you get a cockroach in your food, you would obviously expect the staff to make things right for you.) On the other hand, if I paid $$$ for a bespoke suit and the sleeve fell off after a year, I would feel the tailor should make it right. I guess in my mind it comes down to whether you paid a luxury premium that would lead you to expect "legendary customer service." At BB I don't think you do.
post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by msulinski View Post

Why isn't it acceptable? I have bought ties before that I thought might look good. When I got home and tried to figure out how to wear the tie, I couldn't come up with anything good, so I returned it.

If I could not do this, I would stop shopping at that store, period. I am sure I'm not alone here.

It is unacceptable because, at least with most stores, people have every opportunity in the store to try on clothing and to decide if they like it. The fact that people have buyer's remorse or decide they do not like the product in no way suggests a failure of the store to deliver the promised quality of merchandise. In other words, buyer's remorse shouldn't result in a store losing a sale.
post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Man Of Lint View Post

I find their new polices quite acceptable and will have no problem purchasing from BB in the future.

I agree, 90 days is more than enough
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