pale pink ASOS dress

ASOS are accusing me of “abusing” a pair of trousers: WTAF?

If you read my post on retailers cracking down on online returns, you might recall that ASOS had refused a return I’d sent them, claiming the item was in a ‘used and unsuitable condition’. Well, because I’m bored and don’t have much of a life, really, I knew I couldn’t just leave it at that, so I contacted their online support, and, in a plot twist I could not possibly have predicted, here’s what they said:

ASOS weirdness

I’m sorry, WHAT?

Abuse? Of trousers?

I mean, is it just me, or is that kind of intense language to use about someone trying to return a pair of joggers? A bit… judgey, maybe?


But it got weirder.

And, honestly? Grosser. Trigger warning for… well, bodily fluids, I guess…

ASOS stained trousers message


I never thought I’d ever have something in common with Bill Clinton, but here we are. Well, this is awkward.

So, first of all, I’m assuming it’s stains that Taylor-from-ASOS  (Who the chat informed me was a human representative, fyi) here is accusing me of having left inside the trousers, but I guess it could also be “strains” and the trousers are about to unleash some kind of deadly virus on the world. If it’s that, then I obviously have bigger problems here than those posed by a pair of trousers, so, assuming she meant stains, I… well, I’d like to think this would go without saying, but I swear on all that’s holy that I did not leave any stains in those trousers (If you could imagine me saying that in the manner of Bill Clinton on the stand — only more innocent — that would be great).

As I said in my previous post, I had the trousers in question on for a matter of seconds, and, call me crazy, but, for obvious reasons, I always, always wear underwear why I try on clothes. It’s just a personal rule of mine. Still can’t quite believe I’m writing about this on the internet. Anyway, there’s just no way that I could have “abused” these poor trousers in the manner implied. (Or AT ALL.) 


So, quite a bold assertion from ol’ ASOS, there. Especially when you consider that if I didn’t leave ‘stains’ in the trousers (And, again, I can’t stress enough that I most definitely did NOT…), then that can only mean that ASOS must have sent them out to me in that condition. Pre-stained, if you will.


And, I mean, this is — horribly — totally possible. The trousers were too long for me. I could see they weren’t going to work out as soon as I saw them, which meant they were literally only out of the package for a couple of minutes, and I didn’t examine them closely. I don’t know if this is unusual or not (Is it?), but, until now, I haven’t been in the habit of peering inside allegedly new garments in a search of stains. Or even strains. I WILL BE NOW, obviously, but in the much more innocent time of two weeks ago, I was still under the impression that ASOS would probably NOT send me someone else’s used clothing, so… more fool me, I guess. Lesson learned.

So, to recap, to the best of my knowledge, ASOS have…


Sent me a pair of “well worn” trousers. What in the Only Fans?!


Accused me of having “abused” the trousers myself; emotive language, which I can’t help but feel implies a deliberate act of… well, depravity, really. THE ASSAULT IS ON MY GOOD NAME, SIR.


Announced their intention of sending this gross item of clothing to me for a second time, which… is that even legal? You’re going to send me a what now?!


Charged me £26 for the, er, privilege.

Oh, and their online chat also mysteriously crashed right after this final message from Taylor:

ASOS customer service is shit

So Taylor was “unbale” to overturn the decision, unfortunately: a statement that proves she definitely was human, because, honestly, AI can normally spell better than this.

Now, obviously this is a very small thing in the great scheme of things, so I don’t want you thinking I’m losing sleep over it or anything. I really just decided to write about it because when I mentioned it on my Instagram Story, I got so many responses that it was clear that people had become way more invested in these trousers than I ever was, and wanted to know the outcome — which made it easier to write this post than reply to dozens of messages. Seriously, if you guys showed as much interest in my books as you have in my stained ASOS trousers, I’d be RICH, I tells ya…

I also wanted to write about it, though, as a kind of cautionary tale in light of my previous post on the dangers of ordering items online. Needless to say, I will never be shopping with ASOS again after this (Which is a shame, because, as anyone who’s been following me for a while will know, I’ve been a loyal customer of theirs for over a decade now — I’m old enough to remember when they were As Seen on Screen — and have also given them endless free publicity over the years, both here on the blog, and on my socials), but if you want to risk it, I’d give you the following pieces of advice:


Find some way to document the opening of the package. Photos. Videos. An assembly of impartial witness, all willing to swear under oath that you did not abuse those trousers. And, yes, OK, I’m being facetious now, because it’s obviously ridiculous to suggest that someone should have to video themselves opening a package just to protect themselves from allegations of clothing abuse, but I honestly can’t think of how else I’d have been able to prove to ASOS that it wasn’t me who stained their clothes? Like, even if I HAD noticed a problem as soon as I opened the package, unless we start to involve forensics and take some DNA samples, how would they know it was like that when it arrived?


Check the item really carefully for damage/stains. Don’t be like me, folks. I make the mistakes so you don’t have to, remember?


If you do have to return something, make sure you keep hold of the tracking number: my experience with ASOS has been that they frequently claim to have ‘not received’ a return, so I’ve had to use the tracking details more than once to prove that they have.


Oh, and for the love of God, wear underwear. This should probably have been number one, really, but I don’t want to patronize you by suggesting you wouldn’t do it anyway, because, like I said, WHO WOULDN’T?

As for me, I will be not-so-eagerly awaiting the return of the ‘worn and unacceptable’ trousers before I decide on my next move, because, unfortunately for all of us, I’m exactly the kind of petty to never let something like this drop. I WILL CLEAR MY NAME, people. I AM AN INNOCENT WOMAN, and I will die on this hill if I have to. 

Or I’ll get my £26 back, at least.*

#JusticeForAmber #FreeTheStainedTrousers 

(*Just for the avoidance of doubt, this isn’t actually about the £26, which is at least not a huge amount of money to lose. It’s still more than I want to spend on someone’s stained trousers, though –– like, about £26 more –– and I want to highlight it because it could so easily have been a much more expensive item that got rejected, and I don’t expect there are many people out there who can afford to take that risk…)

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  • Gem


    If I download (and read) your books via prime unlimited do you still get paid? I’ve been following you (well that sounds creepy) for over a decade so want to make sure I’m actually supporting you when I do get around to that resolution to read more books.

    January 31, 2024
  • Melissa


    I’ve spent far too much time thinking about this (my life is very boring), but as a serial returner of clothes also a bit worrying. I’ve been wondering about possible explanations and I can’t help remembering the weird incident where I had a package delivered for an online order that had clearly had something odd happen to it. Although the item I’d ordered was fine, there was a very badly photocopied note saying my parcel had been damaged in transit and to phone royal mail on X number if damage to item and also inside was an additional item, clearly worn and old, not from the retailer. The whole thing was bizarre, but my item was fine, so I did nothing. But now I’m wondering if someone is intercepting parcels and opening them… I have a suspicious mind 😂

    January 31, 2024
  • mary


    Online customer service is abysmal lately. I had problems with Zalando some time ago, stopped using it after they sent me a defective item for the second time in a few months (first was a pair of trousers with a broken zip, second a sweater with a hole), and after I was refunded by them and told not to send the item back (I contacted customer service both times to warn them that since I’d received a defective item, I’d be sending it back like that for that reason). After all this, they took away all my payment options except for an instant bank transfer because, according to them, I had abused of their return policy. So, to get this straight: I received 2 defective items because their quality control didn’t check, I tried to be as transparent and honest as possible in warning them that I’d be returning a faulty garment because it’d already arrived like that, and my honesty resulted in me getting blamed and penalized for someone else’s error? Nah, never shopping at Zalando ever again.
    These big brands either need to step up their quality control game or they will lose clientele. Having customers who steal from them is no excuse to steal themselves from the loyal, honest customers.

    January 31, 2024
  • Ana Paula


    I’m still thinking there will be no stains or even strains in it. The same way they claim not receiving your reruns and you have to prove using the tracking numbers, I believe they either mixed up the orders or just gave a lame excuse to not accept the return.

    February 2, 2024