Stephanie Hallett
January 30, 2017 11:18 am

As mall stores around the country shutter seemingly every week, big anchor retailers are doing their best to keep the lights on. The latest department store to announce changes is Nordstrom, which revealed this week that its return policy has changed, tightening up a famously lenient system.

Until recently, Nordstrom allowed returns on all products with no time limit, deciding on a “case-by-case basis” which products would be taken back. Most often, customer returns were accepted — even when items had been worn, washed, or even purchased years earlier.

Now, according to Nordstrom spokesperson Emily Sterken, who spoke to Yahoo Style, the company has instituted a number of changes.

First, formal dresses must be returned with tags still attached. Nordstrom’s internal auditing system found that special-occasion frocks were being purchased and returned with high frequency, leading to used dresses on the sales floor — and many customer complaints — so the return policy on those dresses had to shift.

Second, since Nordstrom requires anyone making a return to provide their ID, those found to be abusing the system may be banned from shopping at Nordstrom or on its website.

“Occasionally there have been situations where we have felt a customer wasn’t being fair with us, like when their returns to Nordstrom were greater than their purchases with us or when we have no record of ever having sold the item being returned,” said Sterken.

Finally, refunds will now be made only to the original form of payment; if that’s not available, customers will receive their refund on a Nordstrom gift card. Previously, customers could  request cash when making a return, no matter the original form of payment.

Unsurprisingly, many Nordstrom shoppers are unhappy about the changes, with customers expressing their frustration on Twitter.

It was a necessary move, though: the National Retail Federation estimates that return fraud cost retailers more than $2 billion in 2015. So if we want Nordstrom to keep its doors open, we’ll have to get on board with these changes.