Tag Archives: Amazon returns

Online Returns Are Going to Cost You

In the last few months, a number of large retailers have started to pump the brakes on returns for online purchases. Yes, it always starts south of the border, but will be here pretty quickly.

According to NRF research, the online return percentage in 2019 was 8.1% but jumped to 16.5% in 2022. That’s expensive for retailers and they’ve started to work on reducing that percentage.

Macy’s has implemented a $10 fee and H&M one for $6. But what sets the tone is the largest online retailer Amazon: For certain product categories it’s a one dollar fee. Bet on that expanding in categories and increasing in rate. Other ways are that about 80% of retailers will now have YOU pay the shipping fee to return items and others are experimenting with sending you an offer of a partial refund where you keep the product.

For months now I’ve wanted a New Orleans Saints sweatshirt. Yes, any NFL merchandise is massively overpriced, but I found a sort-of deal for US$60. Then checked the fine print: $20 shipping (never!) and it would be $25 to return it since sweatshirts have a wide variety of medium size definitions and fits. That makes it around $140 for the attempt to buy one that may not fit. Guess it’s never going to happen…

Update: Add Bed Bath and Beyond to the companies aggressively charging for full return charges in many cases. The company went bankrupt, closed all stores and was purchased by Overstock. Their website looks the same, but items are now online only and shipped out of the U.S. My first (and last) purchase of a $122 dresser that wasn’t correctly sized/described on their website took six days to even receive a “return authorization.” Six days of getting ghosted? Then they provided a UPS return label and refunded a partial $81 with no explanation. Seven days and five emails were ignored before I found someone at head office. Oh, that’s for shipping. Another 15 minutes to explain it was THEIR incorrect specs which caused the return before they agreed to refund the $41 UPS charge. Oh, and if I had returned it via UPS, the charge would have been $23. So does Overstock pay almost double what a one-off customer with no corporate account pays or has the return shipping become a major profit centre to them? You decide…