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No free returns anymore

(29 Posts)
Yvettehartland1 Tue 09-Feb-21 12:37:37

Has anyone else noticed that online retailers are no longer offering free returns? Now having to pay between £3 - £4 to return items

GrannyGravy13 Tue 09-Feb-21 12:38:22

Not the retailers I use.

Doodledog Tue 09-Feb-21 12:40:48

So long as you know before you order, I think it's fair enough. Some people order several items knowing that they will only keep one, and it's not really fair to expect the retailer to take the hit on return costs.

It's a bit different if it's a huge store, but small concerns on tight margins can't afford to do it.

PamelaJ1 Tue 09-Feb-21 12:41:18

Maybe they are putting it in a pot to pay their tax bill if the government work out how to tax them😂

cornishpatsy Tue 09-Feb-21 12:43:56

I have noticed companies advertising free returns, which I thought it always was , maybe that is why they are now advertising it.

Candelle Tue 09-Feb-21 12:51:58

Yes, just noticed that this policy will come into effect on 1 March from a business I use. Did use.

This business used to offer returns to their shops and I was happy to travel to do so, thus killing many birds with one stone: I would make the return, often buy something else in the store and then shop elsewhere, making several purchases in various stores. Travelling by public transport meant I was using our resources in a reasonable way.

Returns back to shops has been stopped so the only way to buy anything is to pay for postage in both directions. I refuse to do this and will not be shopping there again. As I have spend thousands with this retailer it is their loss.

I really regret this - a summer camisole top priced at £15.00 would cost half as much again in postal charges should it not fit. If I order two sizes, I still have to pay for the unneeded return.

Retailers are committing suicide.

GagaJo Tue 09-Feb-21 13:00:50

I agree Candelle. Even in normal times, a lot of the shops I would like to buy from aren't around much in physical form. I hate mail order at the best of times, but you are right. To pay for the honour of trying on clothes that haven't always been well photographed OR described is a bit much, to my mind.

Yvettehartland1 Tue 09-Feb-21 13:21:55

I often have to buy two sizes to try. Really frustrating that to try on any clothing, to get the right fit I will have to pay delivery and return costs from stores that always used to offer free returns or return to store!

Candelle Tue 09-Feb-21 13:33:53

Perhaps we ought start a campaign: 'old women for free returns', or 'OWFFR'.

Or, does that rather look as if an old woman is being offered in lieu of a free return?!

I am going to look through my account and add how much I have spent at the brand I mention above. I am then going to write to them, explaining that I will no longer be purchasing from them and why.

I know full well it is an empty gesture but if others replicated my stance, it is just possible that this could be nipped in the bud...

Galaxy Tue 09-Feb-21 13:45:38

I think it's fair enough as long as you know in advance. I still find it much cheaper than going to the shops with petrol parking etc.

kittylester Tue 09-Feb-21 15:09:33

Some retailers I use do and some don't but I think it's fair enough if they do.

PamelaJ1 Tue 09-Feb-21 15:27:36

At the moment online retailers have us at their mercy. After the lockdown ends we know that a lot of high street shops will close and we will continue to shop online. I think that we will find that online prices will go up. It’s all about supply and demand.
Online retailers aren’t in business for our benefit, they are there to make as much money as possible and when the high street competition has gone then watch out.

janeainsworth Tue 09-Feb-21 15:41:46

Candelle a summer camisole top priced at £15.00 would cost half as much again in postal charges should it not fit. If I order two sizes, I still have to pay for the unneeded return

I think some people have rather unrealistic expectations.
If you’ve paid £15 for an item of clothing, how much profit do you think the online retailer has made, after they’ve paid for the goods from the wholesaler or manufacturers and tied up capital doing so, (and carried the risk that they will have unsold stock at the end of the season), paid someone to handle your order, paid someone to deliver it to you, paid credit card charges to whoever handled your payment, and paid someone to process the return when you’ve sent the one back that you didn’t want?

It’s amazing that anyone selling things so cheaply is in business at all.

Doodledog Tue 09-Feb-21 15:52:21

I think a lot of the problem (if it is a problem) is that people are now shopping on line who didn't do so before the pandemic, and have unrealistic expectations of what to expect.

Free returns work if you are going to the shops, but even then are not free to the retailer, for the reasons Jane mentions above. When you add in the cost of the postage, the cost of the return will be prohibitive, particularly when people buy more than one item with the intention of seeing which they like best and sending the other back.

It's not about having us at their mercy. It's about making a fair profit for a decent service. I sometimes think people want far too much in return for buying things they needed anyway.

Blossoming Tue 09-Feb-21 16:26:40

I think it’s fair enough, unless the item is faulty or not as described.

muse Tue 09-Feb-21 16:55:08

I can't find any information about return charge from 1st March.

I've paid to return clothing before but it's very rare. It is always clearly stated on documents and on websites. It pays to check delivery/returns information.

Sent two parcels back last week and another tomorrow. All free returns.

GagaJo Tue 09-Feb-21 17:15:54

I would just reduce the amount I buy in that case. I have an awkward figure, always have had, and have to try on 10 / 15 things before I find one that fits me and if flattering. It would cost me a fortune in delivery fees to shop that way online.

A lot of retailers are going to go out of business if this becomes standard.

NellG Tue 09-Feb-21 17:29:15

It's an American article but I think it applies here too. Like lots of things, it's money and profit margins. Plus there's a big environmental impact with returns.

www.voguebusiness.com/consumers/returns-rising-costs-retail-environmental

Jaxjacky Tue 09-Feb-21 18:12:23

I rarely return stuff, can’t remember the last time, I’ve shopped online for years as I loathe actual ‘shopping’. But, now this cost has been pointed out, I’ll be aware of it, thanks.

Gin Tue 09-Feb-21 18:31:21

I think it is fair to charge for returns. Paying for multiple returns cannot be sustainable for most companies. I know that often the goods are not resalable or are sold on the many reduced goods sites.

GrandmaKT Tue 09-Feb-21 19:14:11

I object to paying for returns. I often order several items, perhaps in two sizes to try on.
Online retailers don't have the staff and premises overheads that high street shops have so I think they should account for the return costs in their budgeting.

Candelle Wed 10-Feb-21 15:42:01

For Jane Ainsworth
^Candelle a summer camisole top priced at £15.00 would cost half as much again in postal charges should it not fit. If I order two sizes, I still have to pay for the unneeded return

I think some people have rather unrealistic expectations.
If you’ve paid £15 for an item of clothing, how much profit do you think the online retailer has made, after they’ve paid for the goods from the wholesaler or manufacturers and tied up capital doing so, (and carried the risk that they will have unsold stock at the end of the season), paid someone to handle your order, paid someone to deliver it to you, paid credit card charges to whoever handled your payment, and paid someone to process the return when you’ve sent the one back that you didn’t want?

It’s amazing that anyone selling things so cheaply is in business at all.^

May I respond to your post above?

I chose a product at random from this manufacturer's webpage but in fact, currently, camisoles are on sale at between £6 and £10, reduced from £8.00 and £20 (they are selling off difficult to move sizes).

You ask how they expect to make a profit at all. Well, currently interest rate are around 1%; the company has its own manufacturing base, supplying almost 14,000 stores worldwide, so they have massive economies of scale. They have a good idea from previous experiences what will sell and what won't and one of their strategies is to entice a buyer in with a £6.00 camisole and then upsell at jacket at £160. I know, I've done it! They sell at the discounted price to recover some of their costs.

The company does not pay the delivery/returns company the rate charged to the customer as they have negotiated a contract with the parcel company. I do not know for sure but believe they could even make a small profit from these charges.

Credit card charges etc., are part and parcel of normal business practice and these are also built in to their costs.

At the moment, their shops are closed but could be open for 'click and collect' but they choose to make the customer pay for delivery instead, which I find annoying.

The volume of this business is such that they know exactly what they are doing but have deliberately chosen to annoy some customers used to shopping in an actual shop. The company does sell to mostly younger people than myself but their fabric quality is so good that I do (did?) like to buy from them.

If they reopen their shops and reinstate 'click and collect' with return direct to shop, I would have no problem with them.

I don't know if 'click and collect' will be reinstated but do know that their latest set of terms and conditions states that returns are no longer to be made at their stores - parcel return only at the customer's expense.

The nub of this argument is that on an item which is sold at £20, after direct costs, the company expects to make £15.00 contribution to fixed costs and profit. If they have to pay for return postage they make no profit but a negative contribution to their fixed costs and profit.

If the customer returns the item there will be no contribution to profit and there will instead be a loss. Historically, a company will trade off the likelihood of making a £15 contribution against a £3.00 loss, if the item is returned.

They have now decided that they would rather trade off the likelihood of a £15 profit against making no profit and no loss if the item is returned. They will likely sell fewer of the item with a risk of a lower aggregate contribution.

I assure you that this company is making money and will be interested to look at their accounts in a year's time (they currently make billions)!

I am sure that your points are relevant for a smaller company but not in the one I mention - everything is being slanted towards companies and the customer is being overlooked/taken advantage of!

janeainsworth Wed 10-Feb-21 17:32:28

Thank you Candelle, that’s very interesting and enlightening. I won’t embarrass you by asking you to name and shame, but would I be right in thinking that the company in question is using very cheap labour to produce these items at such low cost?
To be fair, I think at the moment click and collect is probably against the Covid guidelines because for most people, shopping centres aren’t within their immediate locality & we aren’t supposed to venture further afield except for work & hospital/doctor appointments, and non-essential shops are closed.

Candelle Fri 12-Feb-21 23:53:00

Me again!

I can't know for sure but I really don't believe these clothes are produced in sweatshops. My reasoning is that the company has extremely strict control measures in their factories.

I would like to add that the price of an item in a retail store can bear no relationship to its manufacturing costs. Price determines cost, cost never determines price. A tee-shirt sold in an upmarket shop for, £65.00 probably costs an extra 50p in manufacturing costs to that of one costing £5.00!

You are correct in your assumption that many retailers have abandoned click and collect but... there are a few still operating.

When the Covid pandemic is over, it appears that the company I have enjoyed using will not offer returns to store. I would have to pay for postage. Why can't I just pop into the store a few miles away? That was really my main point.

I don't yet know their policy on click and collect post-pandemic. Perhaps they don't either!

Have a good weekend.

Doodledog Sat 13-Feb-21 00:53:48

Candelle, I can't believe that someone making a garment that sells at £6 is making a decent wage.

As regards postage, even allowing for bulk discount, it is going to cost a minimum of £2, which, if paid by the store, is going to take the price down to £4.

If customers all ordered several items, each in two sizes, as you say you often do, this is going to quickly become unsustainable for the retailer, who will, one way or another, have to pass the costs to the buyers.

In their shoes, I would be very reluctant to offer free return postage, as it would simply encourage customers to over-order and expect the store to pick up the tab.

I honestly don't understand how people can expect items to be delivered to their door on approval for the same price as they would cost in a store, where the onus is on the customer to return to the new point of sale, or, with respect, why you feel that the store would be upset if they knew that you had resolved not to shop there again.