Practice Costs Industry $8.8 Billion A Year

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Someone you know has probably done it — and maybe you have, too: Buy an item of clothing, wear it once and then return it to the store to get your money back.

As CBS 2’s Maurice Dubois reported, stores such as Bloomingdale’s are taking action by attaching what they call “B” tags in visible places on most dresses costing more than $150. If the tags are removed, they cannot be returned.

“I wouldn’t want to buy something that people were sweaty and gross in,” said Naomi Noxon, a New Yorker.

Added tourist Elise Petty: “It’s wrong and it’s gross, and I would want to keep it if I bought it.”

Such returns cost the retail clothing industry about $8.8 billion in 2012, said Alexa von Tobel, founder of, a financial planning website. She said adding “B” tags is an expensive policy to implement, but worth it.

The special tags are even being attached to dresses ordered online.

About 65 percent of people surveyed admitted to returning something they purchased after wearing it, von Tobel said.

Kathryn Wilkins, a sales associate, said customers attempt to return used clothing at her boutique at least twice a week.

“People will try to do whatever they can to get their money back,” she said.

Boutique co-owner Allison Moss agreed that “B” tags are necessary.

“Department stores have a reputation of having really flexible return policies, and I think they need to draw the line somewhere,” she said.

Bloomingdale’s declined to speak with CBS 2, but reiterated in a statement that “once the ‘B’ tag is removed, merchandise cannot be returned.”

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