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Victoria's Secret counterfeits

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Reselling items you bought with coupons is always a controversial subject. Some extreme couponers have been known to have “garage sales” or set up shop at flea markets, selling a stash of deodorants and laundry detergents that you know they got for free. Some say it’s their right to sell their own property, no matter how they acquired it. But many manufacturer’s coupons discourage it, with wording such as “void if used to purchase products for resale”.

And some stores might even ban you for life.

That’s what a Wisconsin resident found out the hard way, when Victoria’s Secret told her she was no longer welcome in their stores.

So she complained to store employees, who wouldn’t back down. She complained to the state Department of Consumer Protection, which investigated but closed the case. Finally, she complained to her local television station, which aired a sympathetic story this week with a catchy headline about how the store had “served divorce papers” to a “loyal Victoria’s Secret customer”.

Except there’s a lot more to it than that.

Why sure, the woman admitted to Madison’s WMTV, she regularly used a bunch of coupons she bought on eBay. And yeah, okay, so a lot of them turned out to be counterfeit. Oh, and yes, she was turning around and reselling her fraudulently discounted purchases on eBay. And then there was that time she allegedly threatened a cashier and got cited for disorderly conduct.

But aside from all that, she was one of Victoria’s Secret’s best customers!

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“We will not accept any future purchases, returns, or exchanges of merchandise from you,” read a letter that Victoria’s Secret sent to their loyal customer (pictured above, click to enlarge). “To prevent any further misunderstandings, we ask that you not visit any of our stores in the future.” After she complained, the ban was rescinded, via an apologetic letter (complete with a $75 gift card) from customer service, but the woman said her local store continued to enforce the ban.

In response to the woman’s consumer protection complaint, Victoria’s Secret elaborated further on its reason for banning her. She “had been altering the survey coupons she had been using… cutting off the transaction dates”, a document from the company reads. She also used a number of other counterfeit coupons purchased on eBay, the document went on. Plus, she “has sold more than $185,000 in Victoria’s Secret merchandise on eBay.”

She admitted all that, to an extent, in an interview with WMTV. Did she use counterfeit coupons? Maybe, by accident. “I’m not an expert on what’s a fraudulent coupon and what’s not,” she said. Does she resell items she buys, for profit? Yes, but “it’s not my income, it’s just a hobby,” she said.

That hobby allegedly involved demanding that her local store call her whenever new merchandise arrived. When the manager declined, saying she didn’t have time to personally call customers, Victoria’s Secret said the woman “responded that she would just have to become annoying then, and call the store.” She then “began constantly calling the store and harassing associates.” The store also said she made excessive returns – at least 65 times, of merchandise worth more than $7,600.

And about that disorderly conduct incident, in which store employees called police after she allegedly called a cashier “a condescending *****,” and said “you better watch it, I know when you get off work”? “They filed a false police report,” she told the TV station.

Victoria’s Secret had already come to its own conclusions about the woman’s tactics and motives. She “is not an aggrieved customer, but a savvy business person seeking to lower her costs of acquiring Victoria’s Secret merchandise by using a combination of legitimate and fraudulent coupons in order to sell said merchandise on eBay,” the company stated. “Further, her use of fraudulent/counterfeit coupons provides ample justification for Victoria’s Secret to decline acceptance of all coupons from (her) should we decide to do so.”

Companies are free to ban bad shoppers for business reasons. So with no other recourse after her consumer complaint went nowhere, the woman took her case to the local news. But viewers and readers aren’t giving her quite as much sympathy as the station itself seemed to offer.

Victoria’s Secret “has the right to not sell to individuals they deem are not their customers,” one commenter wrote in response to WMTV’s story. “They’re not serving divorce papers – they’re protecting the rest of the shoppers from price increases because of con artists like this woman!!!” another added. “What a non-story,” sniffed a third. “I can’t believe she doesn’t see what she has been doing as wrong. Any similar retail store would have done the same.”

“As with all of our customers,” Victoria’s Secret said, the woman “was offered great customer service.” Now she’ll just have to get great customer service – somewhere else.

One Comment

  1. If these two people are as hard working at being dishonest as they are, think of what they might make at a legitimate job by being hard working and still be able to look their neighbors in the eye and still be able to sleep at night.

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