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Return Policy Rundown: Non-Mega Department Store Edition

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For the second edition of Return Policy Rundown, let's take a look at a few other stores and their in-house remedies to your favorite retail mistakes. While long established department stores' return policies are a little more standardized than newer stores, some rules go for both, like (a) "saleable condition" is up to an associate's discretion and (b) they really, really, really appreciate a heads up before you return something by mail.

Enter the Return Authorization, or RA. Think of the RA like a phone call to your friend in which she agrees that it is appropriate and desirable that you show up for an extended visit (the metaphor goes sour when you factor in the "salable condition" part). It's like common courtesy for clothes. The reason we mention the RA here is because some stores have hardcore penalties for return without authorization. Check out which ones these are, plus other rules and regs, after the jump!

OAK
Time-limit: Within 14 days of purchase or receipt.
Rules of play: Unadulterated merch must be returned online or in store with all original tags attached, in original packaging (i.e. shoe boxes for shoes). All sale items 30% or more off are final sale. Swimwear and something the site calls "innerwear" are only accepted if they have the protective strips.
Can you return online purchases in store? Yes!
Can you return in store items by mail? Also yes!
Permission to return: All returns must be authorized by Oak.
Price adjustments are a go: Within 7 days of purchase. Items that receive price adjustments become final sale.

OPENING CEREMONY
Time limit: 14 days for online. In-store only gets exchanges.
In-store Rules of Play: There are none really because merchandise in saleable condition with all original tags attached plus the receipt in hand may be exchanged within 14 days of purchase for the current selling price. All sales final in-store for any item marked down, phone and special orders, Rodarte, Topshop, Topman, underwear, CDs, books, and magazines. For online orders, add to the list pre-orders, international orders, OC Workshop customizable products, Rodarte x Nicholas Kirkwood, Playbutton, Maison Michel for Opening Ceremony, Imitation of Christ, socks, jewelry, eyewear, fragrances, stationary, umbrellas, and toys.
Online Rules of play: Un-mussed items with intact tags along with the original sales receipt and a return authorization number may be returned or exchanged within 14 days of shipping date. After 14 days, all sales are final.
Can online purchases be returned in store? No.
Permission to return: For online order returns by mail there are penalties if you don't get your RA. "If you return item(s) without a return authorization number, we will not refund you and you are responsible for the return shipping from Opening Ceremony back to you. In addition, please note that unauthorized returns will be charged a 30% restocking fee."
Price adjustments? No. Ever? No.

BIRD
Time limit: Returns must be postmarked within 21 days of the original ship date and should be sent prepaid. Surprise: They don't accept those little somethings called CODs.
No-go: Jewelry not in original packaging, sale merchandise, lingerie, and swimwear are final sale.
Return Authorization? A must. You get it by signing into "My Account" and hitting "Create Return Request," select the items and reasons for the return and click "Create." The number is then e-mailed to you and you place it very visibly on the return package.
Price adjustment? No, but they do have price matching for up to 10 days after purchase. That is, Bird will refund you 120% of your purchase if you find the identical item (style, color, and size) on a legit online store given that the other item is not subject to sale or any special offers. We'll take it!

INTERMIX
Time limit: Within 14 days of the date you received your order.
No-go: Sale items
Rules of play: Exchanges can be made either in store or by mail free of charge. However, mail returns will cost you $10.00 for postage (the fee doesn't apply if you ship it back without the pre-paid return label, or in other words, on your own dime). In store returns ask that you bring the credit card you used when you placed the order along with the invoice slip.
Price adjustments: Intermix's website doesn't explicitly state they offer adjustments but we've been told if you ask nicely it can happen.

SCOOP
Time limit: Within 14 days of receipt.
No-go: Anything "soiled," "damaged," or "altered." Shoes without shoeboxes. Anything that was purchased on sale.
Is it possible to return by mail? Yes, but you will be charged $12 if you use the pre-addressed return label.
Can you return in store purchases in store? Yes! Have the invoice and credit card used to place the order on hand and a sales associate will write you a receipt of your return.
Can you return online purchases at a store location? No! Or rather, "not at this time."

TOPSHOP
Time limit: Within 14 days of receipt, and you get cash for cash, credit for credit.
No-go: Pierced jewelry, underwear, swimwear, or cosmetic products sans hygiene seal. For makeup, Topshop will accept a return if the product is of "unsatisfactory quality" or "unfit for purpose."
Necessary items: (a) All barcode tags (b) original packaging
Can you return online purchases at all, ever? Not if you live in the US or Australia, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, or Sweden.

MADEWELL
Time limit: Within 30 days of in store purchase and within 60 days of online purchase.
Rules of play: Oddly, Madewell is one of the only stores that explicitly guarantees returns for "defective merchandise." It's also one of the only stores that requires a government-issued photo ID for purchases paid for by cash or check along with the usual the receipt (or gift receipt) and saleable quality.
No-go: Monogrammed, personalized or final sale items.
Returns by mail? Yes, but the cost of return shipping for one item is $5.95 and for two or more items is $7.50.
Price adjustment? Yes, within 7 days of retail purchase or mail order ship date. Must present receipt or gift receipt. This goes for items purchased at full price only.

J.CREW
Time limit: Within 30 days of in store purchase and within 60 days of online purchase.
No-go: All lingerie as well as monogrammed, personalized, and final sale items.
Rules of play: J. Crew is another store that explicitly guarantees a refund for manufacturing defects as well as requires a government-issued photo ID for purchases made by cash or check.
Can you return in store purchases by mail? Yes.
Can you return online purchase at a store? Yes, except if you live in Canada.
Price adjustment? Sure thing. 7 days of the full price retail purchase or mail order ship date with receipt.

UNIQLO
Time limit: Within 30 days. After that you can only exchange.
No-go: Sale items, packaged items, and altered items that are opened.
Can you return in store purchases by mail? Not yet. Check back when Uniqlo opens its online store.
Price adjustments? Yes, within 14 days of purchase.

· Return Policy Rundown: Department Store Edition [Racked NY]

Madewell

115 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10003 212-228-5172 Visit Website

Opening Ceremony

35 Howard Street, New York, NY 10013 (212) 219-2688 Visit Website

TopShop

478 Broadway, New York, NY 10013 Visit Website

Bird

220 Smith Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201 (718) 388-1655 Visit Website