In 2010, NBC journalist Jeff Rossen revealed that specific retailers continued to resell returned underwear as if new to consumers. Today noted that the report discovered that “certain Victoria’s Secret, Nordstrom, Wal-Mart, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, The Gap and Marshalls outlets were taking used underwear back from customers and putting it on their shelves for resale.”
Watch the clip from the 2010 report below.
[Video courtesy of Today]
Four years later, Today reports the team of investigators returned to a variety of outlets of the “same chains (though not the exact same stores) with hidden cameras.” The team followed the same procedure as they had used in 2010 — that is, they purchased the underwear from outlets, including Victoria’s Secret, Wal-Mart and Marshalls, took off all tags and marked the garments with 2 tiny black dots on the label before returning them.
The results demonstrate that specific stores are still refraining from the proper practices when it comes to undergarments and resale. Though Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom and The Gap marked the returned items as “damaged” and did not attempt to resell them, three specific chains failed to pass the test.
At Victoria’s Secret, the sales clerk received the return and wasted no time getting the items back out on the table for resale masked as new merchandise. As Today indicates, Marshalls carried out a similar procedure when items were returned.
“At Marshalls the Rossen team bought a set of underwear and a swimsuit, not only taking off all the tags, but also removing the protective liner from the bathing suit so it looked used. When the items were returned, the saleswoman wasted no time putting on new tags. The bikini and underwear were carted out and put right back on the racks as if they were brand new, even though a sales associate assured a Rossen producer that ‘we can tell if it’s used or not.'”
The Rossen team also involved Wal-Mart in their investigation as they had done four years prior. The results there were also surprising. The producer of the report returned the underwear and a hidden camera caught sales clerks adding new tags to the merchandise then throwing it in the returns bin.
A conversation between employees indicates that they suspected the items had been worn as one employee asked, “You think they wore that?” The discussion did not lead to the clerks refraining from reselling the items. Instead, the Rossen report team wound up finding the same underwear back on the same rack for sale the next day.
Cosmopolitan notes Wal-Mart’s response to the discovery that was recently made at one of their outlets.
“We have a clear and consistent policy regarding these items that has been repeatedly reinforced, but clearly there was a violation of our policy and a major mistake was made. This situation is absolutely unacceptable and if our customers have any concern about undergarments or any other product purchased from Walmart, they should come see us for a refund.”
Victoria’s Secret responded similarly stating to NBC that what was discovered by hidden camera is “clear violation” of their policy. Marshalls’ reaction followed suit as they stated they were “disappointed procedures were not followed.”
The three retail giants, Victoria’s Secret, Wal-Mart, and Marshalls all expressed that they are dedicated to reeducating their staff on the issue and to enforcing that their strict policies are followed.
Perhaps next Black Friday customers will be more reluctant to brawl over Victoria’s Secret discounted items.
[Feature image courtesy of Uproxx Web Culture]