Beginning February 3rd, 2020 we’ll be modifying our Return policy to accept the return of personal, or gift purchases, for store credit (or exchange) for 14 days only. We will no longer be offering refunds on any purchases. As always, to return a purchase, you must have your original receipt or gift receipt.
We have come to this decision with much deliberation and research. We are sad to say our generous (and unusual) option to refund purchases and our lengthy window to accept exchanges was being abused and was putting undue financial strain on our small business. With this modification our return policy is now similar to most other stores our size in Portland.
Small businesses, such as ours, do not have a separate budget with funds reserved to cover refunds and exchanges. In this way we differ from large department stores and chain stores. And, surprise, exchanges are essentially the same as refunds: we are out the payment until we resell the returned product, which can take an unknown amount of time.
This has been a stressful decision that we have struggled with for quite some time. We certainly want our customers to continue feeling satisfied with their Tilde purchase, however, we simply cannot accommodate all these requests any longer and remain in business.
Before making this decision we did some research, in the last month we have emailed, called and queried dozens of small businesses in Portland, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles. We found that none of these stores offer refunds & most allow only 7 days for exchange or store credit (with longer windows during holidays). When we asked these other stores if their customers take issue with their policy, by requesting to return items outside the stated policy, not one of them had anything close to what we have experienced.
Our conclusion is that our issue could be caused from the very option we thought was so generous and helpful to our customers. A growing majority of our customers have been trying to bring items back whenever they want for a refund, or store credit, completely disregarding the written policy on their receipts. This was often weeks or months later than our previous policy allowed. And despite understanding the policy, they became quite frustrated with us and felt we "were not supporting them". These frequent interactions have left both us and our customers feeling upset and, on the occasion we acquiesced, has put our business under financial duress. We now feel that this growing issue was due to our generous option of refunds and our large window to return product.
Ultimately, we are making this decision for our financial well being and mental health of our staff. We hope our customers will understand why small shops have these policies and how it can dramatically affect their bottom line.