Saks return problem: Where’s my money?

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By Christopher Elliott

Julie Kuklenski returned her Stella McCartney cross-body bag to Saks. But the company won’t return her money. What’s going on?


I ordered a Stella McCartney cross-body bag from recently. I made this purchase while Saks was offering a promotion on designer handbags and received $200 off the original price of $950. But I received the wrong bag. 

I called Saks, and a representative said that this item was sent from a store and not their warehouse. Saks sent me a return label and I returned it via FedEx; the Saks return center received it.

I called Saks five times after I received the new handbag and finally received an adjustment of $209. But I did not love the color (brownish red), as I was looking for a vegan leather handbag in a chocolate brown. 

I decided to return the bag, and I did so well within the 30-day window to return from the delivery date. The tracking shows that the bag was received by the return center, and I have called several times to check on my refund. A representative promised a refund within 7 to 10 days, but I have not received it. Can you help me get my money back? — Julie KuklenskiEvergreen, Colo.


Saks should have sent you the right bag the first time. But I think you confused the company with your exchanges and return. It looks like it started the 30-day clock when it delivered the first bag, not the second one.

I list the names, numbers and email of the Saks customer service executives on this site. A brief, polite email to one of them might have cleared things up for you and resulted in a quick refund.

Saks promises its returns are “easy,” and, as you note, it gives you 30 days to return your item. However, it doesn’t specify when the 30 days starts. Is it when it delivered the first incorrect item — or the second one? If you were past the 30 days, someone from Saks should have told you before you returned your bag.

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Saks found itself in a difficult position. It had accepted your return, so it either needed to refund you or return the bag to you. It seemed to want to do neither. (Related: What happened to this Saks Fifth Avenue return and refund?)

What to do about this Saks return problem

If there’s a lesson here, maybe it’s that you need to be sure that you want an item before you order it online. Or, if you’re not sure, maybe go to a Saks location to take a look at the item before buying it. None of that would have prevented Saks from sending you the wrong bag, but once it replaced the bag with the correct one, your problem would have been solved.

I contacted Saks on your behalf. A representative called you and reviewed your order. Saks refunded you the full amount for your returned bag, as promised.

About this story

This case was really straightforward. You can’t take someone’s product back and refuse a refund. Kuklenski’s paper trail showed she had sent the merchandise back and that Saks was keeping her money. (A representative later blamed a “glitch” on the refund error.) This story was researched, written and fact-checked by Christopher Elliott, edited by Andy Smith and his team and illustrated by Dustin Elliott.

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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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