There’s something comforting about knowing you can get your full money back on a purchase you’ve made at your favourite retailer, but have you noticed that more and more stores are making it harder to get a refund? Retailers like Forever 21 and American Apparel implement exchange only policies, while other retailers have swapped lenient protocol for stricter rules. So what’s the reason for these new policies? CBCMarketplace investigated and found that return policies are getting stricter because retailers are trying to protect themselves from return fraud, leaving honest customers a price to pay and a heavy case of buyers remorse.

According to the Retail Council of Canada, Canadian retailers are losing $4 billion a year to “shrinkage,” which includes loses from theft, credit, debit and return fraud – a major increase for big name stores in the past five years. While many people would never think of committing return fraud, there are many who take advantage of retail policies. A couple examples include customers stealing products and attempting to return them, sometimes with found or forged receipts and buying products with the intention of using them once, returning them for full money back. While the latter seems innocent enough, it causes a major problem for retailers because the items returned can often not be resold.

Retailers in Canada are allowed to set their own return policies and technically are not required to give customers money back – so if people continue to abuse the system, we could see stricter policies coming to our favourite retailers very soon. Do you think that honest customers should have to pay for people taking advantage of return policies?