Jo-Ann Jo Ann Joann Fabrics Shady Policies
MICHIGAN, MICHIGAN -- Although Joann's stores claim to have a clear, well-defined return policy which they post over the customer service stands, what they don't tell you (or advertise, for good reason) is that different items have return policies specific to themselves.
Recently, Jo Ann has also changed some of their policies.
1.) SPECIAL ORDER RETURNS: Special orders on their designer fabric samples in the home decor department ARE NOT returnable. Period. Even for FLAWS, which would be a legitimate reason to most retailers. BUY SPECIAL ORDERS AT YOUR OWN RISK. They USED to check items in one-by-one in home decorator fabrics at my local store, to check for weaving flaws, etc.--they NO longer do.
2.) CLEARANCE ITEM RETURNS: Clearance items and seasonal items are now NON-REFUNDABLE. Don't even try, because I have.
3.) "RED TAG" aka "FLATFOLD TABLE" FABRIC RETURNS: Many larger stores have a section in the back of the store with odd ball bits and ends/remnants of various types of materials, from home dec/upholstery, quilting cottons, fashion fabrics, etc-- called "RED TAG" fabrics--now, since Jo-Ann has instituted a no-return policy on ALL clearance items, these materials are also lumped in with "clearance" merchandise. RED TAG fabrics are NOT RETURNABLE anymore. They USED to be. It's not posted on the racks, and also for obvious reasons--they rope you in and then tell you, "the new policy is printed on the back of the receipt."
4.) SPECIAL ORDER POLICIES:
a. They used to allow you to put down 50% as a deposit on special order fabrics--NOT ANY MORE. You now have to pay all the balance up front, including SHIPPING--even though they are not even shipping the merchandise to your home--it arrives at the store you ordered it from on one of their TRUCKS--which, by the way, arrives on a weekly basis ANYWAY. Jo-Ann's is making YOU pick up the tab for their fuel costs!
b. If you fail to come and pick up your special order within 30 days, you essentially forfeit your order (including the amount you paid for it!)and it is placed on the rack for sale--AT FULL RETAIL PRICE. The special order form thingy HAS a chronological process of informing the sales clerks to call you and remind you at 30, 60, and finally 90 days (corresponding to the final extent of their return policy timeframe) however, I have witnessed orders going out to the floor after only 30! So, make sure your phone number is correct, and if at all possible, GIVE THEM MORE THAN ONE CONTACT NUMBER! They will NOT try to "look you up" in the phone book, etc. It's YOUR responsibility to GO IN AND CHECK, physically, with the people at the front desk and ASK them if your order has arrived yet.
c. KEEP YOUR RECEIPT! When you check out on a special order, you get BOTH a copy of the register's receipt ALONG with that big form you had to fill out at the front desk that describes what you ordered. NOT HAVING THIS WITH YOU COULD JEOPARDIZE your order! Some stores are nicer and let you come in and get your order without it, because they are supposed to have a binder with all the special orders carbon copies in it going back AT LEAST 2 years. Now, if you go to one of those "ghetto" stores with lazy, apathetic workers who will not put forth the effort to dig this binder out AND/OR tell you they don't know anything about special orders, BRING YOUR ORDER FORM AND RECEIPT!
5.) RETURNS WITHOUT A RECEIPT. Here is one that a lot of people on here just cannot seem to wrap their heads around. Jo-Ann's WILL accept returns without a receipt, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF FABRICS, TRIMS, OR THINGS THAT HAVE TO BE CUT. If it's cut, and you try to return it WITHOUT a sales receipt, the nice folks at the return counter will ASSUME you are returning the item FRAUDULENTLY.
In otherwords, let's say the more shady character buys ten yards of something, and only uses five, and tries to return the rest--being that you cannot present a valid receipt for only five yards, then you'd have to go without a receipt. BINGO! They caught you. No receipt, no return. PERIOD. I did this legitimately on the full yardage on trim once, and got asked to LEAVE THE STORE. They do NOT want you there.
NOW, if you have non-cuttable items like general merchandise THAT WAS NOT ON CLEARANCE, then you CAN return it without a receipt--WITH A CATCH.
ALL items bought without a receipt (EXCEPT CUT YARDAGE ITEMS) will be charged 50% off of the CURRENT SELLLING PRICE. Why? Well, the more shady customer could have used one of those lovely coupons they make you sign up for--then you'd be getting back more than what you paid. BINGO.
Well, what if you, the honest customer says, sure, I used a coupon, but it was ONLY a 40% off coupon, or a 30% off coupon! SO WHAT, because you could be potentially trying to defraud the store, and they DO issue 50% ones. So, BECAUSE they DO issue 50% coupons and they are readily available, they keep HALF of what you originally paid EVEN IF you paid full price under the ASSUMPTION that you are attempting to DEFRAUD them. Great customer service attitude, huh? This is how one of their store managers explained it to me.
BOTTOM LINE: When the clerk asks you if you want the receipt IN the bag, SAY NO--why? Because you are MORE LIKELY TO LOSE IT if it's in the bag, rather than your wallet--therefore lowering returns for Jo-Ann's stores. That's retail chain mentality for you.
6.) GENERAL STORE POLICY: Jo-Ann's store managers train their employees to treat every customer as if he/she is a POTENTIAL THIEF. Why? Because big-box retailers lose millions of dollars of merchandise to shady customers as well as shady employees. In order to protect from this, they cover their backs to the nth degree. So should you! Playing innocent of their policies won't absolve you of them. The second you select merchandise and agree to pay for it, you are bound to that retailer's long (and often unpublished) policy handbook!
Jo-Ann's used to be a store that NEVER took ANY returns, and coupons could NOT be used on ANY special order items or specialty things. Now, at least, they DO accept returns (although Jo-Ann's is getting back to being much more selective on those.) SO--what can you do? ALWAYS ask the customer service person at the FRONT DESK (more likely to be a manager or supervisor) "WHAT IS YOUR RETURN POLICY ON X PRODUCT?" BEFORE buying or checking out or having them cut anything. Protect yourself, and be pro-active. Don't get on these complaints boards if you failed to INFORM YOURSELF beforehand. Keep in mind, businesses are out there to MAKE MONEY--they are going to protect THEIR interests--not yours.
*The reviewer has spent several (heartachingly bad) years in the retail AND retail management fields. I have gleaned much of this info DIRECTLY from ACTUAL store policies--and am presenting it here for YOU--THE CONSUMER, because retailers DON'T want you to know this information!*
***STORES IN MICHIGAN TO AVOID IF YOU WANT DECENT CUSTOMER SERVICE--AKA "GHETTO" STORES:
--Lansing (west side near Lansing Mall)
--Waterford (near Summit Place Mall)
--Bloomfield Hills (Long Lake & Telegraph--TERRIBLE customer service, run by lazy rich people who argue every policy detail to the minutest)
--Roseville (at 13 Mile Road) Very dirty and bad service