More And More Retailers Are Starting To Ban Customers For Returns
The glory days of free, unlimited returns could become a thing of the past for some.
A growing number of brands are making it more difficult to return items – especially for perpetual online returners.
Returns have become so easy that frequent online shoppers will purchase multiple items – for example, the same pair of pants in a few of different sizes – with the assumption that certain items will inevitably be returned.
What’s worse is those who shamelessly wear items once for the Instagram shot or a handful of times.
Companies report that wearing clothes and returning them – return fraud – has become a major issue, especially with the rise of online shopping. This is because it’s probably easier to do it when you don’t have to look an employee in the eye.
Fraudulent and abusive returns in the U.S. costs retailers $9-17 billion per year.
At a time when all eyes are on the environmental impacts of the retail industry, rampant returns aren’t exactly winning any points when it comes to love for the planet.
Most customers likely think nothing of repackaging an item and shipping it back.
They don’t consider the impact on the environment of the trucks that transport the discarded item, or the fact that it will likely end up in a landfill with all the other fast fashion finds.
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The reality is that returns result in four billion pounds of landfill waste per year. What. A. Waste.
Another important factor to consider is the effect that an overwhelming number of returns has on warehouse workers around the world, who are often working in less than ideal conditions.
Aside from the detrimental effects on the planet and people, returns obviously aren’t great for business, resulting in a major loss of revenue and increased labour costs.
For all of these reasons, some of the world’s biggest companies are cracking down on returns.
They are either banning perpetual returners, or charging a restocking or shipping fee for returned items.
Setting the stage for other online retailers, Amazon made headlines last year when the company started to ban people for returning too much.
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The company flags customers who are problematic repeat offenders and bans them from making future returns.
Every time you make a return at one of these stores, you’re tracked – a move that isn’t without its expected backlash.
It’s also not without its grey areas and slippery slopes; for example, when it comes to damaged items or items you didn’t order.
The problem with online shopping, of course, is that you can’t be sure how something is going to fit.
Brands size items differently and an item rarely looks the same in your bedroom mirror as it does on the model or in the image.
@amazon – wow, great customer service, so personal and caring! Do u even read my return reasons (like 6 purchases in the last year…and that’s too many?) and a replacement for something I NEVER rec’d. #BadCustomerExperience #onlineshopping #Horrible #ShopLocal #BoycottAmazon pic.twitter.com/2DY1qHmFka
— Claire Bochner (@cmbochner) April 17, 2018
For these reasons, it’s unlikely that companies will forbid returns all together any time soon.
If you’d like to limit your returns, familiarize yourself with the sizing of a particular brand – whether it’s footwear or apparel in-store — before placing an online order.
Featured Image: Pixabay
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