We Don’t Refund Tax for Sales Made Over the Internet

I went to the mall today to return a few pairs of pants I purchased online from Ann Taylor Loft that did not fit. Women’s clothing stores are very odd. No two items fit exactly the same. I originally purchased a pair of brown corduroys. When they went on sale for much less than I paid I decided to return the original pair and reorder. But the second pair that arrived, (that were the exact same color, size, and style), didn’t fit at all like the first. So I reordered again. No luck. So I reordered a third time. No luck. I decided to try one more time with a different color. Bingo. Pants that fit like the first pair. Each time I reordered the price of the pants dropped. I started with cords that cost $43.20. I ended with cords that cost only $20.99.

Now I will admit that it’s slightly insane to purchase the same pair of pants four different times from the same vendor, but shipping was free and prices were falling, so I figured I had nothing to lose. I would return whichever pairs didn’t fit in person, thereby saving the return shipping fees.

Today I schlepped over to the store to return them. When I arrived there wasn’t another soul in the store. So I walked right over to the counter, pulled out the pants and matching receipts, and handed them to the cashier. First, she said she had to ring up every transaction separately. This surprised me because usually cashiers can handle multiple returns in the same transaction, but whatever, I wasn’t going to fight with her over it.

After she rang up the first return a customer walked up behind me. I offered to let him go in front of me, because purchases are always quicker than returns. The cashier rang his order and then I stepped back up to the counter. At this point the cashier asked me for the other receipts. I didn’t have them. I knew I had already handed them to her but she swore I hadn’t. So I’m searching all around the desk, on the floor, in between the pants, etc. I’m just about to head out to the car to make sure I didn’t leave them there, when she lifts up the pair of pants she already processed and finds them.

Now I’m frustrated. The cashier wasn’t particularly pleasant to begin with and she was ever so confident that I hadn’t handed her those receipts. When she found them she didn’t apologize. In fact, a few other people had gotten behind me in line by that point and she asked if she could take them first. I said, “No. I’d like you to finish returning these.” I was nice enough to offer the first customer to go ahead of me, I wasn’t about to wait an hour in the store while she took care of the other customers. Oh I forgot to mention there were four other employees in the store who could have easily opened a register by this point.

As she rings up the last pair of pants she informs me that the total doesn’t match the total on my receipt. She says, “It isn’t including the tax in your refund. Is that okay?” Is that okay? Did I hear her correctly? No of course that’s not okay. So she calls over the manager who informs me that Ann Taylor Loft doesn’t refund tax for sales that are made over the Internet. What?

That’s funny I tell her because I have two other receipts, (the two previous returns), in which the tax was refunded. She then informs me that she’ll refund the tax but that she’s only doing it because she’s so kind, because again she tells me, “we don’t refund tax for sales made over the Internet.” She seems upset that I am not more grateful for her ‘kindness.’

In the end the pants are returned and the money is refunded. I’m also informed that the store will start carrying long pants in January. So I’ll be able to try the items on in the store. Hooray! No more ordering pants just to return them.

5 thoughts on “We Don’t Refund Tax for Sales Made Over the Internet”

  1. Weird. I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen. Though to be fair, I haven’t lived in a sales-tax state for well over a year now, so I could’ve forgotten.

    Glad it all worked out in the end!

  2. I think she just didn’t understand how to process the return. I worked in retail for many years, even as a manager, and they don’t really train you on the register. There is a lot more trial and error involved than one would like.

  3. I’m pretty sure they must give you your sales tax back. I don’t know details as I’m not a finance person. But they report how much they make in sales to the state and then they give the 6% (or whatever sales tax is) on that amount. If they’ve done a return, they haven’t made that sale so they’re basically keeping your money for themselves.

  4. You’d be doing the company a favor by contacting the corporate office in writing and telling them about your experience. It’s the only way they can solve these types of problems which is rampant. Especially, with the holidays when most are part time seasonal employees. Bad customer service can kill a stores reputation and effect sales.

  5. I’m not surprised that the store employee did not know how to work the register, but I was surprised that the store manager didn’t know how to work it either. In all due honesty, I didn’t mind their confusion, but I was bothered that they seemed so adamant that they were correct and I was wrong. Or that they made a point to tell me they were doing something extraordinary by refunding the tax when, in fact, they were just doing their jobs.

    I am taking the advice of the anonymous commenter. I will be mailing a letter to Ann Taylor.


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