Online purchase

Retailers are ready to ban you from shopping again

In the age of online shopping, many consumers are used to ordering more items than they need and returning the rest, especially with many retailers offering free returns. But more retailers than ever are willing to ban those who abuse the system as customers, research shows.

According to a survey conducted in September and published Thusday. The percentage jumped to at least 80% among US retailers selling toys and gifts or baby and toddler gear.

Why? Some 42% of US retailers and a third of UK retailers said they had seen an increase in serial returns over the past 12 months.

Who are the likely culprits? The study, which also surveyed 4,000 online shoppers from both countries, found that more than a third of people aged 18 to 34 – more than other age groups – admitted to buying extra items with the intention of returning them.

The Wall Street Journal reported In May, online retail giant Amazon could ban shoppers who returned too many items, and the study credited Amazon’s decision with encouraging other retailers to follow suit.

“We want everyone to be able to use Amazon, but there are rare occasions when someone abuses our service over a long period of time,” Amazon told the Journal at the time. “We never make these decisions lightly, but with over 300 million customers worldwide, we take action where necessary to protect the experience of all of our customers.”

Without the ability to try on or view products in person, consumers tend to return more items when shopping online. For example, a Shopify study found that if up to 10% of purchases in physical stores are returned, this rate increases to 20% online and 30% during the holiday online shopping season.

No matter where a product is purchased, returns are a big headache for the industry. According to 2017 consumer feedback in the retail sector report by Appriss Retail, which included the National Retail Federation trade group’s organized crime survey, some $350 billion in U.S. retail sales – or 10% of the total – has been came back last year. About $23 billion, or 6.5% of returns, constitute return fraud or abuse, according to the study.

Retailers are fighting back. Nordström, for example, said he asks for ID for a return without a receipt.

“Because of our liberal returns philosophy, we have this internal audit procedure to give us the ability to monitor and investigate refunds and returns without a sale record,” the company says. on its website, adding that consumers cannot return special occasion dresses or certain designer items if the tags are missing. “Over the years we have also found that we receive a disproportionate number of returns of what appear to be designer dresses and items worn for special occasions.”

LL Bean, famous for its lifetime warranty policy, made headlines this year by changing its return policy to one year.

“Increasingly, a small but growing number of customers are interpreting our warranty far beyond its original intent,” LL Bean said. in a Facebook post in February. “Some view it as a lifetime product replacement program, expecting refunds for badly worn products that have been used for many years. Others seek refunds for products that were purchased through third parties , as during garage sales.

As retailers seek to appease increasingly fickle shoppers and at the same time combat costly return abuse, they will have a fine line to toe.

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