Wardrobing: another LP concern

Dec. 4, 2008

If the term "wardrobing" doesn't mean anything to you, you're either not in loss prevention nor are you addicted to wearing the latest fashions. The term refers to shoppers who buy an article of clothing, wear it (out on the town, they're not just trying it on) and then return it for a refund with the tags still often attached.

Good Morning America, a morning news program from ABC, did a quick report on this phenomenom on Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2008, and featured not only an admitted "wardrober", but also Joseph LaRocca, vice president of loss prevention for the National Retail Federation.

Among the high-points of the television segment:

  • "Wardrobing" has been increasing over the last few years.
  • The tactic is expected potentially increase in the down economy.
  • Retailers are often loathe to admit to the unscrupulous customers' practice.
  • Retailers have begun tracking individuals with a high-number of returns.
  • Some customers see the practice as not harming anyone, since they believe they are returning the clothing in condition where it can still be sold, however, that is not always the case.
  • Retailers consider this a form of returns fraud.

I stumbled across a video clip of the "wardrobing" segment this afternoon on ABC's Good Morning America website, but unfortunately ABC won't let you link to their videos. The best I can tell you is to try to navigate to it. I was able to find that the video ID number is 6381930, but I'm not sure you can search based on that number. Just look for the videos from 12-3-2008, and the title "Wearing and Returning", and you'll probably track down this video.

(Of course, if the term wardrobing means something to you, and you're working a retail firm or in security, you may also be interested in joining other like-minded individuals in our retail security/loss prevention forums. Registration is free, but is required before posting.)

I thought I'd throw a video still capture from the GMA site up. Big thanks to LaRocca for telling Good Morning America how serious of an issue this is for retailers. But again, you'll have to visit the Good Morning America site so you can try to track down this video clip.