What happened to this Saks Fifth Avenue return and refund?

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By Christopher Elliott

Erica Goode made a return to Saks Fifth Avenue and expected a swift refund of $153. But the company says it never received the package and so she never received her refund. Can we help?

Question

I recently bought a pair of Ugg rain boots online from Saks Fifth Avenue. They did not fit. I got approval from Saks to return the boots the next day. The company sent me a prepaid label.

Three weeks later, the tracking information showed that the package was still at a facility in New Jersey. I called Saks customer service and suggested the package might be lost and requested a refund. A representative said Saks would open an investigation.

A week later, I got an email saying that they had not approved my request. I called customer service again and a rep confirmed that my return had reached the Saks warehouse but that the refund wasn’t approved. He didn’t know why so he said he would start a new investigation.

But the next time I called, a Saks representative told me that there was no way the first customer service rep could know whether my return had reached the warehouse. He promised to open a new investigation, too.

Two days later, a supervisor left me a voicemail message saying Saks could not refund my money because the return was still in transit. I called FedEx, and they said the package had been turned over to the post office but was most likely lost.

After a few more calls, I reached a nice woman at Saks, who said she would open another investigation. She apologized for the trouble and offered me a $10 off coupon. Four days later, I called again. A representative said a supervisor would call me back within two hours. Nada. I would like a refund for the boots I returned to Saks. Can you help me– Erica Goode, New York

Answer

What a mess! I don’t understand why companies make it your responsibility to ensure the post office or FedEx works. If you sent the package back to Saks in good faith, and a certain amount of time has elapsed, they should just file an insurance claim for the boots and be done with it. They should not make you wait. Saks should have refunded you quickly.

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But that would be too simple. Someone has to answer for the late package, and even though you used Saks’ prepaid label and followed all of its instructions, that someone was you. (Related: Saks sent me a refund but then took it back.)

You can avoid most of these problems by checking out my ultimate guide to product returns.

Finally! Saks sends a refund for the missing return

I see companies doing this all the time. Just today, I dealt with a product return at Apple Computer, which was just as bureaucratic. In the end, the company apologized for the problem and blamed a vendor. But that’s not what I requested — I just wanted the company to fix the problem. And I blamed Apple for the problem, not its vendor. After all, I didn’t choose the vendor; Apple did. (Related: Hey Saks, where’s my refund?)

When will companies understand that their excuses don’t matter? Probably never. But I can hope that someone higher up at Saks (or Apple) will read this and decide to put an end to the corporate excuses.

In the meantime, we have corporate contacts that can help. We list the names, numbers and email addresses of the Saks Fifth Avenue executives in our database. You sent a polite email to the company’s director of customer service and explained that you returned the boots and you wanted a refund. She wrote back immediately and sent you that refund and a $50 gift certificate, too.

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter.

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