(DALLAS) — Sex, money, shopping and betrayal spurred a woman scorned to file suit against Neiman Marcus after the luxury retailer, known for its generous return policy, refused to take back $1.4 million worth of merchandise.
During the three years Patricia Walker spent bedridden recovering from a traffic accident, her then-husband Robert Tennison’s spending spiked at the retailer’s Dallas location. He showered her with an outsized pile of gifts. But all the while, according to the suit, he was allegedly carrying on a secret affair with Favi Lo, his wife’s trusted Neiman Marcus personal shopper.
Lo earned a steep commission from the sales, which were made using Walker’s account, her attorney, Mark Ticer, said.
He noted a correlation between the spike in sales from 2007 to 2010 and the affair.
“Ms. Walker had no idea it was going on at all. She was in the perfect spot to be vulnerable after the horrible accident,” he said.
In 2010, Walker wanted to return the haul of luxury goods to the store, which is known for its generous return policy.
Neiman Marcus sent employees to look at the merchandise Walker had requested to return, but the store never followed through or offered an explanation for not taking the items back, Ticer said.
Neiman Marcus declined ABC News’ request and that of ABC affiliate WFAA for comment and cited the ongoing litigation.
The bonanza of luxury goods, from $285 pajamas to crystal sculptures and enough jewelry to fill a store’s display case, now sits unused in storage. Much of it isn’t even Walker’s taste, Ticer said.
Walker spent $100,000 per year before her accident at the retailer. Her husband’s spending on her account outpaced her spending by hundreds of thousands of dollars, Ticer said.
Still unaware of her husband’s affair with Favi Lo, Walker closed her account in 2010. She learned of her husband’s relationship with Lo a few months later while engaged in divorce proceedings, Ticer said.
For Walker, the lawsuit is about more than just getting her money back.
“The real villain in this case is Neiman Marcus,” Ticer said. “After learning of this affair decided they weren’t going to do anything about it.”
Ticer said Lo was not disciplined and continues to work at the retailer’s NorthPark Mall location. An attempt to reach her for comment was unsuccessful.
“It’s a sad story about breach of trust and profits over people,” Ticer said. “And Neiman Marcus isn’t taking responsibility.”
The upscale chain’s return policy is: ” If for any reason you are not satisfied, we will gladly accept your timely return of unworn, unwashed, or defective merchandise. Returned merchandise should include the vendor packaging and tags and be in the same condition as when it was received. Used merchandise cannot be returned unless defective. A pickup and/or restock fee may apply.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Sam Turner, Deseret News
Ahiza Garcia, CNN