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View Full Version : What to do if dept store forgets to remove anti-theft device from a purchase?


bordelond
03-13-2006, 11:24 AM
Last fall, I bought a blazer and two pairs of pants from a chain department store whose local location was going out of business. One of the pairs of pants is cream colored, so I was saving them for the spring.

I break the cream pants out this morning and discover that the anti-theft security tag is still on them. I can't tell from looking whether or not it is an ink-tag or just a tag meant to set off the dorway alarms (or both).

Anyway -- I am trying to come up with a legitimate way to have the tag removed. The store I bought the pants from is out of business, though there is another location 90 minutes away. Also, I no longer have the receipt, though the price tags and UPC code are still on the pants.

I've thought of the following:

1) Take the pants to another department store that doesn't carry this brand of pants, and ask for a favor.

2) E-mail/snail mail the HQ of the company from which I bought the pants. Ask if I can mail the pants to one of their other locations, have the UPC code scanned to confirm purchase, have the security device removed, and then have the pants mailed back to me.

3) Take a road trip some weekend and stop in at another location to have the UPC scanned and the tag removed.


(NOTE: I am not looking for a way to remove the security tag myself. I am not trying to break the law. I'm just looking for the fastest, most convenient way to lawfully and legitimately get the security tag off these pants so that I can get some wear out of them.)


So, what options have I got here? Thanks in advance for any advice.

CookingWithGas
03-13-2006, 11:35 AM
. . .The store I bought the pants from is out of business, though there is another location 90 minutes away. Also, I no longer have the receipt, though the price tags and UPC code are still on the pants.

. . .have the UPC code scanned to confirm purchase, have the security device removed, and then have the pants mailed back to me.

3) Take a road trip some weekend and stop in at another location to have the UPC scanned and the tag removed.
It might be tricky to enter a store with those pants and convince them that you bought them. Scanning the UPC code will not confirm purchase. Clothing does not get individual serial numbers, just a SKU that says what style, size, color. If given a particular pair of pants, they can't tell who bought them.

However, because they will no longer have the same merchandise in stock it might be plausible. If you don't have a receipt, how did you pay for them? Do you have a credit card bill or cancelled check that shows you at least made a purchase at that store? Do you have the bag they came in?

Go to another branch, and go straight to customer service or a cashier and tell them what happened. They will probably be helpful. Better yet, call them before you go. All of this assumes that the pants are worth 3 hours of driving. The mail-in option sounds better; again, call them.

bordelond
03-13-2006, 11:40 AM
However, because they will no longer have the same merchandise in stock it might be plausible. If you don't have a receipt, how did you pay for them? Do you have a credit card bill or cancelled check that shows you at least made a purchase at that store? Do you have the bag they came in?

I used a debit card. It would be no problem to confirm that I actually made a purchase at their local location last fall. Of course, it wouldn't be itemized.

I assumed all large retailers had an inventory tracking system like Target's. I have brought items back to Target several times without a receipt, and they summarily credit my checking account with the purchase price. I had always assumed they could pull up a record of the transcation (i.e. a duplicate receipt) from just scanning the bar code. In turn, I thought large department stores did the same.

Balthisar
03-13-2006, 11:41 AM
(NOTE: I am not looking for a way to remove the security tag myself. I am not trying to break the law. I'm just looking for the fastest, most convenient way to lawfully and legitimately get the security tag off these pants so that I can get some wear out of them.)


So, what options have I got here? Thanks in advance for any advice.
Actually DYI is probably the EASIEST option. They're buggers to get off in the store because it's obvious what you'd be doing. But at home it's easy to improvise. Just Google for it.

Don't worry about it being illegal -- they're your pants and you're not breaking a law. You could probably argue that it's now you anti-theft tag, too.

Bippy the Beardless
03-13-2006, 12:01 PM
Actually DYI is probably the EASIEST option. They're buggers to get off in the store because it's obvious what you'd be doing. But at home it's easy to improvise. Just Google for it.

Don't worry about it being illegal -- they're your pants and you're not breaking a law. You could probably argue that it's now you anti-theft tag, too.
How do you know it isn't an ink device? Could diy lead to ruining the pants if ink is released?

Turek
03-13-2006, 12:10 PM
I assumed all large retailers had an inventory tracking system like Target's. I have brought items back to Target several times without a receipt, and they summarily credit my checking account with the purchase price. I had always assumed they could pull up a record of the transcation (i.e. a duplicate receipt) from just scanning the bar code. In turn, I thought large department stores did the same.

All Target can do with a UPC is confirm that they stock the item and then assume you bought it and credit your account. The thing is, they can and do often times credit you with less than you paid.

A couple months ago, right after Christmas, I bought some router bits for about $90 using a gift card at Home Depot. I usually keep every receipt I ever get since I pay for most stuff with my debit card and I use the receipts to keep track of my purchases. However, since I used a gift card, I didn't keep the receipt. Of course, I realized two days after I bought them that the bits were the wrong size. I took them back, but since I didn't have the receipt they only gave me $66 of credit. I went to the customer service desk and asked why. It turned out they had been on sale a month or so before and since they couldn't verify that I HADN'T bought them on sale, they could only credit me with the sale price. (They did evenually dig through the sales records and verify I paid full price and credited my full purchase amount.)

The point is, if the item has been on sale or otherwise had a lower price recently, there's a very good chance that if you don't have a receipt you won't get your full purchase price back.

Maastricht
03-13-2006, 12:22 PM
This is a complete WAG, but it won't hurt to try: try if holding a magnet on top releases something, so you can remove it. From what I've seen, the removers at the store work magnetically. But then again, I could be talking nonsense.

Balthisar
03-13-2006, 01:39 PM
How do you know it isn't an ink device? Could diy lead to ruining the pants if ink is released?
Do it in the bathtub? Seriously, yeah, that's a consideration if you're not careful.

Squee
03-13-2006, 01:48 PM
Do it in the bathtub? Seriously, yeah, that's a consideration if you're not careful.

I've read somewhere else about putting the item in the freezer, so the ink won't won't run if it's released. Sounds reasonable, but I don't have first hand experience with this or any other method.

A.R. Cane
03-13-2006, 02:03 PM
I definitely would not walk into a store w/ the pants, even if I called ahead and they said OK. They might very well assume you're trying a scam. It wouldn't be worth the possible hassle to me. Send them in the mail? Maybe, but it's still possible they could cause you trouble.
You'll have to admit that your explanation sounds fishy.

bordelond
03-13-2006, 02:10 PM
You'll have to admit that your explanation sounds fishy.
I was hoping the bar code would save the day.

bordelond
03-13-2006, 02:16 PM
I definitely would not walk into a store w/ the pants, even if I called ahead and they said OK. They might very well assume you're trying a scam. It wouldn't be worth the possible hassle to me. Send them in the mail? Maybe, but it's still possible they could cause you trouble.
You'll have to admit that your explanation sounds fishy.
Additionally -- come on, I can't be the first person this has happened to.

gotpasswords
03-13-2006, 02:20 PM
AFAIK, only Macy's adds a barcode tag to the item - right next to the item's UPC - to identify the specific transaction, and to identify that the particular item has actually been sold at a Macy's store.

If someone attempts to return an item witout this tag, it's assumed that the item is either stolen or purchased from a different company.

bordelond
03-13-2006, 02:23 PM
AFAIK, only Macy's adds a barcode tag to the item - right next to the item's UPC - to identify the specific transaction, and to identify that the particular item has actually been sold at a Macy's store.

If someone attempts to return an item witout this tag, it's assumed that the item is either stolen or purchased from a different company.
I believe the chain I bought the item from is a subsidiary of Macy's. Need to check.

bordelond
03-13-2006, 02:35 PM
I believe the chain I bought the item from is a subsidiary of Macy's. Need to check.
No dice.

Eureka
03-13-2006, 02:46 PM
When I bought a couple of pairs of jeans that had anti-theft devices on them after I got them home, I took them back the next day, in the bag, with the reciept. My mother and I walked up to a clerk at a register, said "We bought these jeans the other day and found out that they had these security tags still on them when we went to wash them". The clerk removed the tags immediately, apologized to us, and that was the end of it. She didn't question the story, and I don't think she even asked to see the reciept.

Of course, the fact that more than a week has passed, and the store in question is out of business makes it more difficult/makes story seem fishier.

CookingWithGas
03-13-2006, 02:55 PM
Additionally -- come on, I can't be the first person this has happened to.Well, you might be the first person who didn't notice the device for 6 months. ;)

Most well-known department stores are customer service oriented and will do their best to help you out. Shoplifters generally don't come back months after a purchase to ask to have a tag removed, AFAIK. The more prevalent scam is to shoplift merchandise then try to return it for cash.

Even though your records are not itemized and therefore not proof positive, it is at least a show of good faith.

ralph124c
03-13-2006, 03:37 PM
I once bought a pair of trousers and got it home..and found the anti-theft attachment thingy still firmly attached. it clearly did not trigger the door warning. So, I took a par of plaiers to it-man those things are tough to break!

Push You Down
03-13-2006, 04:02 PM
This happened to me once. I bought a pair of pants at KAMRT and forgot about them in the closet for a good three months. I found the bag and took them out and discovered that the antitheft tag was still on them. The tag was on the belt line so I just used a pair of scissors and cut a line straight down to the tag and then pulled the tag out. I sewed up the cut and torn part and had a decent pair of pants.

Push You Down
03-13-2006, 04:03 PM
umm.. That should read KMART and not KAMRT.

Gary Robson
03-13-2006, 04:34 PM
I had always assumed they could pull up a record of the transcation (i.e. a duplicate receipt) from just scanning the bar code.The bar code just identifies what the item is (e.g., pants, brand, size, color...). It doesn't identify which pants they are, who bought them, when they were sold, or anything else.

If you are going to a different branch of the same store and they have centralized records, then they may be able to call up your purchasing records to prove that you bought a pair of those pants six months ago. That wouldn't prove that the particular pair you're holding is the pair you bought, and if you didn't identify yourself to the clerk, they'd have no way to check at all.

I'd just call and ask for a manager and explain what happened.

Shagnasty
03-13-2006, 04:46 PM
Am I the only one that thinks this would have been a great basis for a Seinfeld episode?

bordelond
03-13-2006, 05:05 PM
I once bought a pair of trousers and got it home..and found the anti-theft attachment thingy still firmly attached. it clearly did not trigger the door warning.
This is another thing -- why the eff did the alarm not go off as I left the store? Or is it one of those deals where 90% of the security tags are duds?

Mr. Slant
03-13-2006, 05:57 PM
This is another thing -- why the eff did the alarm not go off as I left the store? Or is it one of those deals where 90% of the security tags are duds?

Well, I don't know ANY specifics here, but I do know that at least one of my local stores has "deterence detectors".
Not only are their detectors silent, but they have no power leading in, have no batteries, and in fact no circuits of any kind inside.
This info per an employee I used to associate with.

Punoqllads
03-13-2006, 06:37 PM
Happened to me, but I noticed only a month later that it was still attached, I still had the receipt (go go gadget packrat!), and the store hadn't closed. I took it in, explained what happened; the clerk was apologetic, removed the anti-theft device, and out the store I went.

Hilarity N. Suze
03-13-2006, 07:15 PM
When this happened to me, the customer service person I talked to (Lord & Taylor) offered to send someone to my house to remove the item for me (I was putting it on, a few weeks after buying it, for the first time and I was in a hurry). But it seemed quicker to just go by the store. Wearing the dress.

Very annoying. I was late to my event. And for once it wasn't my fault.

I did once remove one on something that I bought for my husband. Pliers & Xacto knife. I had put it in layaway because I had no place to hide it. The store (Sears) also wrapped it. Walking out of the store after picking it up I heard the alarm go off and thought, "Hah, they got somebody." No idea that somebody was me until he unwrapped it.

cantara
03-14-2006, 09:40 AM
I have had this happen a couple of times. I have taken it back to the store (with receipt) and had them remove it. I don't think they would have looked sideways at me if I didn't. I just brought it back in the store bag and went straight to a cashier.

I also got home to find one and decided to try a magnet (since that is what the device embedded in the counter seems to be) and it worked. It needed a little finagling, but I got it off without using force.

Heh...I had a cow-orker who showed up to work one day with a tag flopping about on her pant leg. Apparently her mother had bought the pants for her and this was her first time wearing them.

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