Have you ever had to go to an event and needed to buy an outfit for that one evening? How about a holiday party that you want to look good for but you really didn’t want to have to splurge on a new dress or suit? Over the past couple of years I have had a couple of graduations to attend for my children and while I would have been happy wearing my slightly snug, 1987 light blue sports coat, my wife would not permit me to do so. She says it is out of date (I contend it is retro and I would be a trend setter). She also says I have put on a few pounds since then, so it is too tight. I believe the jacket does not need to be buttoned and besides, the jacket just shrank in the closet and only needs stretched out. The few extra pounds are strictly muscle, attributed to a strict diet of protein (ie; hamburgers from my favorite fast food protein take out restaurant). Regardless of our disagreement I did breakdown and purchase a new sports coat, tie, and shirt. Now I would point out, I rarely wear these items, I wear business casual at one of my jobs, and a company polo shirt and slacks to my second job. Even my church clothes are my business casual attire. In my mind I could have saved the money on the new duds, but apparently I would have embarrassed my family. The jacket and tie sit in my closet waiting for the next big event. There are some people however, that make purchases for a specific night out or event, wear the clothes and return them for a full refund. This is a form of return fraud known as wardrobing and is a financial drain on retailers. A method to prevent this fraud is when a business uses Alpha Shark Tags on their garments.
When wardrobing takes place the “customer” is basically borrowing the merchandise for one or two activities and returning it. They are careful to conceal or remove clothing tags so they cannot be seen when the item(s) are worn but can be easily replaced or unhidden when they are ready to refund the purchase. The Alpha Shark Tags are brightly colored devices that are pinned to a location on an article of clothing where they can be seen if worn. Unlike retail anti-theft devices, the tags are removed at home by the buyer not at the point of sale. Once cut off, the tags cannot be replaced and the store can enforce a no-return policy. The tags do not interfere with the fit of a garment so there can be no excuse for removing the tag just to try on the merchandise. If the tag is intact and all manufacturer tags and receipts are present a retailer can give the appropriate refund for a return.
As a former Loss Prevention Manager and Manager On Duty I have had to deal with wardrobing fraud and it is more prevalent than you may imagine. The merchandise is returned with the receipt and if a reason for the return is needed, usually the excuse is that the clothes just didn’t fit right. There were many times I was called by the return desk personnel to look at merchandise being returned and there would be a stain from make-up or perfume or cologne odors. I couldn’t turn down the refund because clothes frequently get make-up stains on them just from being tried on in the fitting room. Perfume, cologne and even body odor smells could also permeate clothing when tried on so it wasn’t enough reason to decline a refund. Make no mistake, the activity is return fraud because the person has no intent to keep the merchandise, they don’t even want to rent it their intent is to borrow and return. It isn’t a criminal act however, since there are no laws broken and store policies are being followed. Unfortunately there is a cost associated with return fraud. Frequently merchandise that has been used for wardrobing quite often has to be significantly reduced in price, causing loss of profit margin. In the worst cases the clothing has to be marked out of stock and destroyed, costing the store the full retail value of the item.
You don’t need to be victim of return fraud and you don’t have to lose customers due to overly burdensome return policies. Use Alpha Shark Tags on all articles of clothing and improve the bottom line for your store.
Alpha Shark Tags are important and we can help you with them. Call 1.770.426.0547 and let’s talk.