Breaking News in the Industry: December 27, 2016

Shoplifting suspect dives into frigid river to avoid police

A shoplifting suspect was arrested in New Hampshire after he allegedly took a swim in the frigid Merrimack River in an attempt to evade police. Officers were called to the west side of Manchester for a man who had run from Bedford Police and New Hampshire State Police, crossed the highway and dove into the river. The man was suspected of shoplifting items from Kohl’s.

A resident later called police to say a man had just walked up the riverbank and walked toward the street. A K-9 unit tracked the suspect and found him soaking wet at about 12:30 a.m. Saturday morning. He was identified as Timothy Winslow, 22, of Manchester. Winslow was charged with resisting arrest or detention. He was held on $1,000 personal recognizance bail.  [Source: BostonCBS Local]

 Alibaba plans to take action against counterfeit listings

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd has had trouble in the US for quite some time now. And it was in trouble yet again this week after it was reported that the Taobao Marketplace of the company had been blacklisted. And the Chinese company now wants to take corrective actions to get itself out of the list.   According to a report by Wall Street Journal, Alibaba will be working with brands and other enterprises to kick out sellers who are selling counterfeited goods on its marketplaces. The e-commerce company has not yet named which brands it will be working with to curb the sale of counterfeited goods.

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Chief Executive of Strategic IP Information, Bharat Dube, said that 80% of the products that are sold on Taobao are fake and the company has not taken any action to remove these counterfeit goods. The Taobao Marketplace is home for counterfeit goods of brands like Zara whose leather bags are available for a price of about $17 only.   Alibaba has said in the past that it has been working to remove counterfeit goods from its platform and has so far removed 380 million listings till August. These numbers are double of the listings that the company removed in 2015 showing that the counterfeit listing on its marketplaces is increasing.   Alibaba said that it had removed 180,000 stores that were involved in these listings and is working closely with other brands through its good faith program. Through this program, brands can notify the company about any infringements of their intellectual property and get them removed from the marketplaces.

Alibaba now needs to take serious actions against offenders who are involved in counterfeit goods to build its authenticity. Taobao had not featured in the list of notorious marketplaces in the US since 2011, but this time it made it to the list after complaints from brands that they were unable to get counterfeited listings removed from the platform. [Source: SmartStock News]

“Grinch” used 28 fake applications to steal from Toys for Tots

Polk County Sheriff’s Office detectives are calling a Polk County woman a Grinch for stealing from “Toys for Tots.” Deputies Detectives arrested a former volunteer for the organization after detectives say she filed 28 bogus applications to get free toys from the popular charity. Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Tammy Strickland, of Eagle Lake, would have potentially kept toys that should have gone to more than 140 children. Detectives got a tip that Strickland had kept toys that were intended for children in need. Detectives began investigating Strickland’s association with “Toys for Tots” and learned Strickland submitted a large number of applications requesting assistance from the organization on behalf of dozens of children. They say Strickland listed herself as the contact person on each application. Detectives found out the applications were counterfeit. They say Strickland used 140 fictitious children’s names and 28 fictitious adult names on falsified Toys of Tots applications.

Detectives worked undercover and arranged to meet Strickland to collect the toys for the children she listed on the applications. Strickland was arrested after she loaded the toys in a utility trailer. Strickland’s vehicle, a 2005 Cadillac Escalade, was seized. Judd held a news conference about the thefts on Tuesday morning. Toys that were found at Strickland’s home were on display at the news conference. Detectives believe the toys were stolen from 2015 to 2016. Sheriff Judd said that Strickland was also collecting government assistance. Strickland was charged with grand theft, 28 counts of providing a false statement to obtain credit or property, obtaining property by fraud and 164 counts of possessing counterfeit ID. [Source: WSPA News]

Richmond RCMP arrest 16 during “Christmas blitz” against shoplifting

Richmond RCMP say they have teamed up with store loss prevention officers to make 16 arrests of shoplifters in the city’s central business district this holiday season. Some of the shoplifters worked alone, while others were seen working in organized teams. Stolen items included beauty products, clothing, sports apparel, electronics and video games. Charges are expected soon.

“The arrests came largely from recognizing subtle differences, tells and unique body language,” RCMP Cpl. Ray Basi said in a press release. “One theft group was affectionately referred to as the Lego Gang, as they had an affinity for procuring the popular building block toy,” added Cpl. Dennis Hwang. Police say they are seeing a “crossover” effect, with some of the retail theft suspects also breaking into mailboxes, vehicles and residences.

“We caution people to be cognizant of what they are buying through popular online buy and sell sites and forums,” says Hwang. “Sometimes that good deal might not be.”  [Source:]

Making a return? Retailers are ready for you

The notion that stores are making it harder to take an item back no longer holds.  There is good news if you’re making a return Monday or soon thereafter: Retailers are in a mood to please. Even without a receipt, consumers are likely to find retailers that want lines to move quickly and have customers leaving the returns desk happy. “Retailers want the least amount of friction,” said Sandy Stein, a Twin Cities-based retail consultant. “They’re trying to facilitate the most number of people in the shortest amount of time.”

About 1 out of 10 gifts are expected to be returned, according to the National Retail Federation. While the knock on retailers for many years was that they were slowly tightening return policies, the annual review by Consumer World, the news site started by consumer lawyer Ed Dworsky, found that return policies held steady or improved this year.
Return policies at brick-and-mortar stores are leaning toward becoming more friendly to remain competitive, said Marshal Cohen, a retail analyst with the NPD Group. For example, Target Corp. last year extended its return policy on its private label brands to one year.

Some of the most consumer friendly return policies include Costco, Sam’s Club, Macy’s, Kohl’s, Herberger’s, Von Maur, Nordstrom, Penney’s, L.L. Bean, Lands’ End and Bed Bath & Beyond. Apparel stores usually can be counted on to offer the most generous return policies but warehouse clubs such as Costco and Sam’s Club don’t specify a time limit for returns on most items, except for electronics and a few other things. Target and Best Buy have relatively short return periods but each provide additional return time to rewards customers. Target purchases made on a REDcard get an extra 30 days for returns, except for electronics. Best Buy adds more time for its Elite members too., the biggest online retailer, possesses stellar ratings for customer service but has a fairly restrictive return policy of 30 days. Items shipped by Amazon between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31 can be returned until Jan. 31. Many online merchants, such as ShopRunner and PayPal, now offer free return shipping.

Dworsky suggests that consumers who don’t have a receipt can ask the merchant to look it up if the item was charged. Macy’s, Target and Menards can look up receipts if you can identify which credit card was used. This also is true of many small retailers. Those paying cash are out of luck at most retailers. Returns without a receipt may result in a credit at an item’s lowest, recent selling price. It pays to know the rules. Walmart allows shoppers to make up to three returns without receipts within a 45-day period. Toys ‘R’ Us has an unstated policy that items purchased from Sept. 1 onward may be returned until Jan. 28. Video game hardware, cameras, music players, netbooks and e-readers must have been purchased after Oct. 31 for returns until Jan. 28.

Retailers are not required to accept returns, according to the Better Business Bureau. An “all sales final” is acceptable if the retailer has prominently posted the policy on receipts or on signs in the store. Finally, consumers who find an item to be defective may ask for a replacement or store credit.  [Source: Star Tribune]


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