Don't Even Think About Returning That Dress

Return fraud costs America’s merchants almost $9 billion annually. Now they’re fighting back
Photograph by Emily Keegin for Bloomberg Businessweek

High-end retailers such as Bloomingdale’s are always happy to sell a glitzy party or bridesmaid dress that can cost hundreds of dollars. The return of a pricey frock after it’s been worn is a less jubilant event. If a garment comes back obviously used—sweat-stained, for example—a retailer can refuse to refund it, but that conversation can be “awkward,” says Richard Mellor, vice president of loss prevention at the National Retail Federation. So some retailers simply look the other way.

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