New Zealander's complaint about The Warehouse not accepting return for worn underwear goes global

A social media post about a Kiwi unhappy they couldn't return a multi-pack of underwear, one pair of which had been worn, has gone global.

The person posted to The Warehouse's Facebook page, saying they were disappointed after they purchased the $12 five-pack at the WestCity store in Auckland. They said they had bought them for a friend and thought they had the correct size, but it turns out they needed the next size up.

"We took them back to Warehouse WestCity hoping for an exchange, as we had the original receipt, or a refund. The Warehouse refused to do either of these! Basically their attitude was tough shit," the customer said.

"I get that there are health and safety concerns. But it's not like all the underwear were tried on, only the first pair. You can still resell the remaining four and get something for it.

"Twelve dollars isn't a huge amount, but it's the principle of the matter. I do not like being ripped off. If that's your policy, then you need to have it somewhere where it can be seen, so customers do not get caught out."

Screenshots of the person's Facebook post were shared on Reddit, where one Warehouse worker said this person's complaint isn't a rare experience.

"It's been policy for years that items such as underwear and earrings and shit like that is non-refundable. We have to tell customers this. It's printed on receipts. And yet, people will still come in and throw a fit when we tell them we can't exchange," they said.

"Someone threatened to go to Fair Go … because 'there was nothing to say she couldn't return the underwear she brought' after I had pointed out the signs and where it said she couldn't on her receipt."

The Warehouse does have a 60-day money-back guarantee with proof of purchase, with the exception of some items due to copyright, hygiene, and security reasons. Items including underwear, lingerie, phones, CDs, confectionery, opened printer cartridges, and more can't be returned unless they're faulty or damaged.

The Warehouse's website makes note that: "Due to hygiene reasons, we are unable to refund underwear, swimwear, and lingerie, if worn and not in original condition including packaging."

Three pairs of retro Nylon blue Y-fron underpants hanging on a red washing line against a clear blue sky.
Photo credit: Getty Images

One Redditor sarcastically commented on the post that they "totally get" where the complainer was coming from.

"Couple weeks ago I tried returning my toothbrush. I owned it for only a month so as expected, I only used it twice AND I washed it off both times. Didn't like it so I brought it back. I even had the receipt! But they said no because customer service is dead."

Other users shared their horror stories of working in retail.

One person said that when they worked at a surf shop, a customer tried to return a wetsuit that was soaked, covered in sand, and "smelled like pee" - and then tried to claim it had never been used.

Another wrote that the returns policy for the retailer they worked for was "don't say no" and they had to take back anything. One person tried to return a pair of well-worn shoes that had wear and tear - but alleged they had only been worn for a week.

"Policy was with no receipt we had to give the lowest selling price in the last 180 days as store credit. This particular colour didn't even show up in our system, but we had to take them back. She ended up getting around a third of the retail price."

Some people also questioned why the person was even trying to get a refund on a $12 multi-pack of underwear.

"Where do people even get the energy for this. If I spent $12 on any item of clothing and I get home to find it doesn't fit, it sits in my drawer for three years before I throw it out," they said.

One New Zealander said the person's story made them "ashamed to be a Kiwi".

"The warning is actually on the receipt," they said.