‘Wardrobing’ Fraud Harder To Commit Thanks To Obtrusive New Tags

Have you ever bought a dress, worn it and returned it the next day? It’s OK, I’m not here to judge — 65 percent of retailers have experienced you doing it, according to a National Retail Federation survey quoted by Business of Fashion.

Well, department stores are mad as hell about the tactic — called wardrobing — and they’re not gonna take it anymore. In order to combat this illegal form of return fraud, Bloomingdale’s now puts unsightly black tags on the front of garments that cost over $150, and the company won’t accept your return without them.

Wardrobing has become common practice for customers shopping for special events that require an outfit you’ll only wear once, and abuses the system are more prevalent thanks to social media. As Fordham University professor Susan Scafidi told Bloomberg Businessweek, “We love our selfies. More items become single-wear, in effect, because everybody has seen you in it.” Apparently, some of you rebellious returners haven’t heard of shopping your closet.

Some skeptics fear that this new return policy will alienate customers by implying mistrust. “Our experience is that if you treat the customer with respect, the customer will respect you back,” a spokesman for Nordstrom told BoF. His particular department store will not be adopting Bloomingdales’ system.

Still, I can hardly blame the retailer for taking action — wardrobing cost the fashion industry $8.8 billion last year, because soiled returned garments can’t be resold.

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September 20, 2013. September.

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