Old Navy… You’re Dead to Me.


Yes, that’s right.  I’m in a fight with Old Navy.  It started out small – with a local store cashier – then the store manager and now my beef is with corporate.  Yes, maybe it’s a waste of my precious little free time to fight with Old Navy customer service over a $10 shirt, but I’m annoyed and now it’s the principle.  So here’s what happened:

About six weeks ago, I went to Old Navy in the Atlantic Center Mall and bought Theo almost $90 worth of summer clothes.  Keep in mind – we are in Brooklyn, so we have to walk to the mall and walk home and I have to carry everything hooked onto the stroller (not an activity I like to do frequently).  So I get home and I’m going through his new clothes and I notice that the little gray polo shirt I got him has this big brown mark on it.  I obviously didn’t notice this in the store – but I figured it was like that when I bought it and it must have slipped by undetected while I was being rung up.  I kept the tags and stickers on and put it back in the bag to exchange.  Since then, we spent two weeks shooting Adam’s second feature film in our apartment (I’ll tell you more about that another time), we went away for our Brooklyn Boys weekend and then spent a week in the Hamptons while our ceiling was being re-plastered (tell you about that later too).  Needless to say – I have not had time to make another Old Navy trip… until last Thursday.

I returned to Old Navy last Thursday with the soiled gray polo shirt to exchange.  I found a new polo in size 12-18 months and waited in the annoyingly long line.  When it was my turn at the register, I explained to the cashier what happened and she told me I was not able to return the shirt because it was damaged and it had been over 14 days since I purchased it.  Now, right on the receipt it says:

Unwashed, unworn merchandise may be returned within 90 days of purchase in the country of purchase for a refund in the original form of payment for the price paid or you may apply price paid towards a merchandise exchange.

I pointed this out.  She did not budge.  I asked to speak to a manager.  The manager came and looked at the item and also told me I could not return it because it was damaged.  I explained to her that it must have been damaged when I bought it.  I have a one-year old who doesn’t love shopping or waiting in long lines and it must have escaped my attention at the time.  She said it was impossible… that none of her cashiers would have rung up a shirt with such a mark on it.  She was basically accusing me of getting the shirt dirty at home and trying to get away with something by lying and exchanging it for a new one.  This did not sit well with me.  I asked who I could speak to above her and she told me to call 1-800-OLD-NAVY.  So I dialed them up as I was walking out of the store.  I was sure customer service would sort this out and side with me.  I mean… I didn’t even want my money back!  I just wanted to exchange the item for a clean one.

Well, after spending five minutes on hold, then explaining my story to a woman in customer service, then spending another five minutes on old, I finally got my answer.  The woman “felt very bad”… but she called up the store manager at the Atlantic Center Mall location and heard her side of the story and unfortunately, it is corporate policy to support the decision of the manager on duty.  The manager felt it was impossible that the shirt was soiled when I purchased it.  I therefore could not return it to that location with that manager on duty.  Since it is up the discretion of the manager, I was welcome to take it back to another Old Navy location or even back to the same Old Navy and try my luck with a different store manager.

Are you freaking serious?  I mean really.  Is this not the most ridiculously stupid thing you’ve ever heard?  Which is pretty much what I said to the customer service woman.  I argued that if it was up to whatever random manager’s discretion that happened to be working that day – then couldn’t customer service just do the right thing by the customer, since I was taking time out of my busy day to address the situation with them directly?  I mean – what is the point of even having customer service if they just always back the store manager?  Outrageous.

So I said to her (after reiterating what a STUPID policy that is) – who is above you?  I’d like to appeal this to someone higher up.  She gave me the customer service email and said I could write my complaint.  So I did – Friday morning at 10:30am.  I got a auto-response back saying someone should be getting back to me within a day.  I have heard nothing thus far.

So – now I’m personally boycotting Old Navy, Banana Republic and Gap (feel free to join).  Between my mom buying stuff for Theo at Gap and me buying Adam work clothes at Banana, they are going to lose thousands of potential dollars because they are handling this one stupid $10 issue incorrectly.  Not to mention, I have a big mouth, and a blog, and a Facebook and Twitter account.  Utter stupidity.  Get with the picture Old Navy.  Of course – if they remedy the situation, I will forgive and forget.  Though I will still probably avoid Old Navy at the Atlantic Center Mall.  They messed with the wrong mama!

So that’s that.  I’ll keep you posted.

UPDATE as of 7/18:

Click here to see the update on this Old Navy drama.


8 thoughts on “Old Navy… You’re Dead to Me.

  1. Man. Since moving, I have no lost love for the long lines at the Atlantic Mall Old Navy! But you’re right–you’ve got a serious customer service issue here. When a company leaves a bad taste in your mouth, you’ll use that mouth to let others know! They could do so much to change your opinion of their store by doing *one* small thing. Amazing that they don’t!

  2. Loved your blog. You should forward it to corporate! Maybe a consumer hot line in newspaper or on TV? A picket line?

  3. Grrrr. . . . Well, you could always send a written complaint and continue to follow up. They are probably just hoping you go away, so if it’s worth the effort, make a pest of yourself.

  4. Nell I agree with your mom. You should do everything that she said. Doesn’t Old Navy know that the customer is always right!! Even their explanation sounds stupid!

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