INDIANAPOLIS –– A woman is warning others about online retailers after she ordered $1,500 worth of clothes, purses and jewelry and then ended up having nowhere and no way to return them.
Lynette Schnaare ordered several gowns from online retailer Wish, hoping she could find something to wear to her daughter’s wedding. She wasn’t sure what color, style or size dress she wanted, so she admittedly over-ordered and planned to send a bunch of the items back.
Schnaare says she waited more than four weeks for her products to arrive. Everything came separately, wrapped tightly in black, plastic bags.
“When they first started coming in, I said, ‘uh oh, I’ve got a problem,” she recalled.
Schnaare said the clothes were too small, even though many were labeled as XL or 2XL. Most of the items had thin material and some were falling apart.
“I should have known better,” she told CBS4. “That’s a heck of a lot of money for someone that is on a fixed income.”
According to the Wish website, the company allows returns as long as they are sent back within 30 days of the order. Schnaare couldn’t find an address, though.
“I sent some back to the only address I could find, which was a New York address,” she explained.
Within days, the box of clothes came back, stamped “return to sender.” She said the box was so damaged, clothes were hanging out of it.
Schnaare called CBS4, asking for help. At that point, though, she said she was outside of the 30-day return window.
CBS4 contacted Wish by phone, but a recording suggested we email them instead. We emailed Wish, asking for an interview or statement about their return policy. An automated message bounced back, saying, “I’m sorry to hear there’s something wrong with your order. At this time, any return or refund requests can only be placed within Wish and cannot be supported through email.” Because we didn’t have Schnaare’s order number, CBS4 was not able to attempt that.
Marketing expert, IU Professor John Talbott, scrolled through the website. He is now warning Hoosiers about buying items from such websites.
“If you’re a risk-taker and cheapness is the most important thing, it doesn’t really matter when you get it and you’re willing to fight to get a refund if in fact you don’t receive the goods, then by all means shop on those sites,” he said.
Talbott believes a lot of Wish’s items are shipped from China. That would make sense, considering all of Schnaare’s packaging had Chinese return labels.
“I think any of these sites that are drop shipping, which means they are sending an order to somebody else that is then executing on the order and then that entity is shipping in the name of the company from which you’re purchasing, the logistics of that are just a lot tougher,” he explained.
Talbott said the first red flag for him was how the website looked. He noted that there was a lot of movement and flashy deals on the homepage.
“I think I was looking at Shein or one of the other ones, and it said ‘buy one get the next one at 99.5 percent off,’” he said. “They had hundreds of things. You can just imagine, logistically, that’s very difficult to do.”
Talbott says if the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
“Stick to legitimate businesses and you know, in particular, consider working with a local supplier,” he suggested. “Brands matter more than ever today because brands tell you you’re buying reputation. A company like Target or Amazon or Walmart or Macy’s or any of these other entities? They have a stake in you having a good experience this time and in the future.”
As for Schnaare, she plans on donating the clothes or giving them away.
“All I want is my money back. I’ll give them anything they want,” she said. “It’s one of those ‘should have, could have, would haves.’”