2013 December 26

Front_Row_Sewn_Stripe_Rugby_Shirt-2168-511What are your rights if you receive something you don’t want, can’t use, doesn’t fit … not as many as you might imagine. There’s no legal redress for being given a rubbish or inappropriate gift, sadly!

1. However, lots of retailers do offer a goodwill policy that may either be an exchange for goods of similar value, or a refund, providing that you have the receipt. So the first question is – are you willing to let that gifter know you’re going to swap their present for something else?

If not, you might like to try some of these:

2. Make a profit: if the gift didn’t cost you anything, you can always sell it on eBay – bear in mind though, that the same thing applies as point 1 – your gift-giver may spot you flogging off their gift online!

3. Be a good citizen: take the garment to a charity shop and let the worthy cause benefit from it.

4. Re-gifting: put it away until next Christmas, or the point at which somebody gives you an unexpected birthday present … then perhaps your unwanted clothing will become the perfect gift to give to somebody else. Of course, take care you don’t give the orange rugby shirt to anybody who will come into contact with the person who gave it to you in the first place and don’t give a pair of pink leggings to your hyper-masculine uncle Bert, just to get rid of them!

5. Re-purpose: Cut the sleeves off a jacket and it might make a great fleece for running or gardening. The hideous scarf can be turned into a kitsch cushion – just use your imagination, as you’ll lose nothing by getting creative with something you didn’t like anyway!


2013 April 16

SG_Mens_TShirt_53_705The answer is simple, but it’s not always what we do. The first thing is not to do any of these:

1.    Shop online at the end of a day of real life shopping. It’s called ‘desperation shopping’ and while women do it after they’ve failed to find anything in the bricks and mortar shops they want to buy, men tend to do it the night, or a couple of nights, before they need a new top, having left it until the last moment to put in some effort. In either case it leads to a desperate attempt to find ‘something’ that is acceptable, and it nearly always leads to disappointment.
2.    Shop because you’re bored or have been let down. It’s called compensation shopping and women do it most – buying something cute just to cheer themselves up. While the process works at the time, the chosen garment usually disappoints on arrival.
3.    Shop in the dark. Seriously! The tendency to buy garments from a small screen in a darkened room late at night is reckoned to be causing nearly a fifth of all returns to online clothing retailers – it’s partly because our eyes are tired at the end of the day so we don’t see as clearly as we should, and partly because screens are daylight balanced but our body clocks by evening are night balanced by circadian rhythms so our eyes can actually distort the colours on the screen. The only time it’s okay to buy at this time of day is when we’re buying black or white garments.

Instead

1.    Buy in daylight. Or get your computer to balance itself to your circadian rhythms with a programme that adjusts colours according to the sunset time in your region.
2.    Check the small print to find out what the deal is with returns and whether there is a bulk buy discount that could get you free postage or some other good deal.
3.    Sign up for mailings and alerts from your preferred online retailers – such deals often save a lot of money for the consumer and being aware of them in good time can help you plan your spending effectively.
4.    Be sure of your size. Not clothing size, as that varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, but your actual body size – and recheck it every six months as even the slimmest of us will change shape in winter as we exercise and eat differently. Get a friend to help you measure your chest, arm length, waist, hips and inside leg – this allows you to assess your real size against the dimensions of the clothing advertised online.


2013 January 17

SG_Mens_Hoodie_74_384If 83% of teenagers now own a smartphone, it’s natural to assume that they do most of their shopping online. Yes – and then again – no.

While Britain as a whole spends £6.58m every hour online shopping, teenagers are still one of the least likely groups to buy clothes online, for complicated reasons.

1 – teens shop as a herd or pack – it’s important to get to the High Street or mall and be with your mates to chose clothes
2 – teens trade clothes a lot – so often they are buying something that needs to have crowd appeal, and that means getting their friends to try the garment on too
3 – teens like to be different – that means that shopping in any way that’s approved of by their parents is automatically out!

So how does a parent encourage teenagers to the most for their clothing budget?

•    Encourage dual shopping – they can go to the shop to try on clothes and then make their actual purchase online, having used comparison shopping to find the best deal for something they already know suits them.
•    Remind them that click and collect means they can pre-order a T-shirt and try it on in the shop without have to necessarily buy it. Often if a teen goes to town for a specific purchase they come back with more money in their pockets than if they go haphazardly to look for ‘something cool’.
•    Coupons, vouchers, BOGOFs and free delivery all make online shopping enticing to cash-strapped teens because their friends don’t need to know they bought from the bargain basement.
•    Most teens need some kind of part-time job and encouraging them to find one that has a uniform can save a massive amount of wear on their personal clothing, so it lasts longer and has more appeal to them because they haven’t been wearing it to work.


2011 December 28

Apparently Americans will return 10% of their Christmas gifts this year and the breakdown is fascinating. 62% of returns will be clothing and shoes that don’t fit properly or aren’t considered ‘suitable’ by the recipient. Not even close, by comparison, is the 16% toys, games and hobby supplies that will be returned and exchanged, closely followed by 14% returns in consumer electronics.

So what can you do to avoid being the giver of an unwanted gift or being lumbered with something you don’t want?

First, if you’re not sure about the item you’re buying, ask about the retailer’s returns policy – some online retailers have a brilliant exchange system for gifts, others charge a fortune in return postage – be sure that it’s possible to return or get a refund on an unwanted gift item so that the recipient can get something they do want.

If you’re the recipient, you may wish to ask the giver of an unwanted present for the receipt – it’s tricky but if you know them well and are willing to explain why (I already have one, it’s a size too small/large, I don’t wear T-shirts that colour etc) it can be done tactfully. Saying ‘I hate it and will never wear it’ may not get you the receipt, in fact, it may ensure you don’t get many more presents, so run your reasoning by a third party before launching into your request!

Always bear in mind that if they buyer didn’t pay cash, your refund may take the form of a gift token or voucher or for some stores, you can only get a refund onto the card that was used to make the purchase.

If you can’t exchange or refund, you can try selling your unwanted item on eBay – there are fee free weekends where the bulk of items on offer are unwanted gifts. Alternatively you can try for a swap – if it’s worth less than £50 lots of local papers allow you to put in a free advert, or even just give it away to a charity shop or online through sites like Freecycle, Greencyle or Freegle, in the hope that karma will deliver a free item that you want at some point in future.


2011 April 27

Have you ever had that experience where you see a fantastic item in a shop window and yet when you try it on, it just doesn’t look good on you? Most of us have been through that disappointment and it’s one of the things that can make shopping online quite stressful – bad enough to feel the let down when you try something on in the shop, but so much worse to feel it when you’ve ordered something and had it delivered and then have to send it back.

The answer is to put in a bit of research first. There are so many different ways of sizing clothes (even the New York Times can’t work it out) that it’s good try on some of the clothes from major brands to see how they fit you – that helps you choose the right size when you shop online.

Then look for an online retailer who’s been around for a while – there are loads of fly-by-night scamsters, often selling fake clothing, who vanish before any disgruntled customer can get to them to ask for a refund, so companies who have been selling online for several years have normally ironed out their customer service and are able to offer excellent advice: look out for numbers for advisers you can call to talk through your decisions – you may not need to use them but the fact that they exist is a positive sign. Google the company and see what others have said about them – that helps you work out which are the genuine long-term retailers who care about customers and selling really good clothing online.

Check delivery systems carefully, many small sites deliver only within their own national boundaries – and look at the delivery costs because often you can make a substantial saving if you shop with a friend and get a bulk discount or reach the ‘free delivery’ level.


2008 September 1

hilfiger-label-sonictk.jpg

 

A button-down decision

As if Hurricane Gustav wasn’t enough – teenagers in Lafayette Parish School System in New Orleans have to contend with a sudden clampdown on school uniform policy. The problem has arisen for female students whose uniform is a polo-shirt which should, according to the schools, have a maximum of four buttons. The problem has arisen because the families of the students have bought polo-shirts with eight buttons. Of course it does sound a little over the top as a reaction, but the point is that if a teenage girl unbuttons eight, rather than four, buttons on a polo-shirt, it can be a real distraction from learning for her male classmates!

Counterfeit China goes full circle

Knockoff polo-shirts go full circle from Beijing to Beijing. In a hilarious development, con artists who have been scamming top level polo-shirt retailers have discovered that the polo-shirts they bought in Beijing have gone back there, as top class mementos.

The way it worked was that young men from Britain would go to the huge street stalls of Hong Kong, Shanghai or Beijing where counterfeit Fred Perry, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger polo-shirts are sold. They would buy bagfuls of knockoff jeans, polo-shirts and trainers and take them home, where they would go into upmarket retail boutiques in major towns and buy identical items to the counterfeits they’d picked up in China and then – a day or so later – return to the shop with the real receipt but the fake clothing.

Because they had a perfectly genuine receipt, they would get their money back and have earned a top of the line polo-shirt for the price of a street stall counterfeit. But here’s the funny bit. Those returned clothes would be sent to catalogue shops and outlet stores which sell off seconds and returns for the big brands at tiny fractions of the original price. And who ends up buying them? Well – very often the purchasers are Chinese tourists on holiday in the UK – desperate to stock up on Western brands, so they go home, quite often, with a counterfeit polo-shirt that was probably made only a couple of miles away from their own home and that they could have purchased there for a tenth of the price they paid in the UK.

Label courtesy of sonictk


2007 February 7

Here I try to answer a few questions posed by our customers.

Q. Bit disappointed in your ‘no swapping’ policy. To charge the postage again just to change one shirt size is a little extortionate.

A. I understand the frustration that can be caused when you select one wrong item and just want to swap it for another. It sounds simple. But for us it’s not that simple and I’ll try to explain why.

Your returned item takes time to process.

The goods need to be quality checked and returned to stock.

Then our warehouse staff need to pick and replace the item with the replacement which takes time.

The goods then need to be sent out again so we need to add on the postage cost.

Our standard postage rate of £5.00 also includes the cost of packing. This not only means the postage cost itself but also the poly bags in which the garments are packed, the delivery bags, delivery stickers and, as mentioned above, the time of our warehouse staff.

Unlike other companies in the wholesale clothing industry charge a restocking fee for returning items. Polo-shirts.co.uk do not charge a restocking fee.

I hope that this explains why we aren’t able to offer a “swap” for your returned items.