She returned a Gucci bag to TJ Maxx. But where’s her refund?

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By Christopher Elliott

When Olga Levy returns a Gucci bag to TJ Maxx, she expects a prompt refund. Instead, the company stalls. What’s going on?

Question

I placed my order from TJ Maxx last year, and I paid via PayPal credit. I returned a few purchases, including two clothing items and a Gucci bag. They refunded me for the clothing items, but not the bag.

After numerous attempts to get a refund for the bag, and several emails with the TJ Maxx customer service department, I turned to PayPal. But PayPal declined my case because the item was “as described.” I never said the item wasn’t as described, I simply asked for their help to retrieve a refund for an item I returned. Can you help? — Olga Levy, Honolulu

Answer

TJ Maxx should have refunded you for the purchase immediately. So why didn’t it?

A review of the correspondence between you and TJ Maxx shows one of the problems. “We apologize for the delay in processing your return,” it said. “When items such as this are returned, we have to authenticate them. This does cause a delay in processing the refund.”

TJ Maxx is suggesting that you might have sent a different Gucci bag back. But you assured me that you did, indeed, send the same Gucci bag back to TJ Maxx as you received. So what went wrong? (Related: Why won’t T.J. Maxx refund my purchase on PayPal?)

It looks as if when TJ Maxx didn’t refund the order, you filed a dispute with PayPal. That dispute was ongoing when you contacted me. So when I reached out to TJ Maxx, it said it couldn’t refund you until you dropped your dispute. (Here’s our guide to get your money back on PayPal.)

Contesting your PayPal dispute is a lot like filing a credit card chargeback (though not exactly the same thing). If you had won, and TJ Maxx had also returned your money, then you would have gotten two refunds. 

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You could have reached out to one of the customer service executives at TJ Maxx. I list their names, numbers and email addresses on my nonprofit consumer advocacy site, Elliott.org. They might have helped you sort this out quickly.

My advocacy team and I contacted TJ Maxx on your behalf. It checked your return and verified that it was the correct Gucci bag. It also agreed to refund your purchase but said you had to drop your PayPal dispute first. Once you did, you received a refund of $1,162.

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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. He is based in Panamá City.

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