Do you ever order clothes when you have to pay for returns?

(102 Posts)
Restorer Wed 08-May-13 21:03:23

I'm not good at on-line shopping. Over the years I've kept far too many duff items because I was too lazy to send them back. Now I have a policy that if I don't love it, it goes back. OK is not good enough.

I have a largeish order I'd like to place, including a couple of items in more than one size and colour to see what's best. I thought that was how on-line shopping was supposed to work, but if I have to pay Royal Mail rates to return them, it's going to be very expensive indeed, so I probably won't buy anything at all from this company. I can't go into the shop, because we don't have any decent shops round here - even the slightly better shops only seem to sell the bottom end of their range.

Why do companies think it's a good idea to charge for returns and do you use them if they do?

Branleuse Thu 09-May-13 06:38:08

it puts me off. its like buying something without being able to try it on

Branleuse Thu 09-May-13 06:39:10

it would be ok for basics. but I got stung on some joe browns stuff once and was really out of pocket.

amazingface Thu 09-May-13 06:42:11

Yes, I do. I don't live in the UK so often don't have much choice but to pay for returns.
I still prefer online shopping to going into town. Parking costs, and I usually end up with something I don't need, a ridiculous coffee or some such!

Dolallytats Thu 09-May-13 06:44:01

I just got stung with this. Got some stuff from Matalan to return-£5 to send it back!! I'm sure they never used to charge for returns. Same with Next, I ordered some stuff, none of it was ok and if you send the whole order back by courier they charge you £4, but to do it by post office you have to phone for a label, which is a bit silly when you only have 8 days to return the stuff.

I will be looking at returns costs more closely in future as I don't remember these issues with either of these companies before.

Nehru Thu 09-May-13 06:44:43

The collect plus offered us free but there's only one locally. Other side of town

TheFallenNinja Thu 09-May-13 06:47:59

But somewhere this has to be paid for right? So they either have a clear returns charge or they spread the cost of "free" onto the product and hide it. Carriage has to be paid for somewhere.

Restorer Thu 09-May-13 07:07:12

No Ninja, it should be paid for by the fact that their on-line operation has far lower overheads than the shops

Hopefully Thu 09-May-13 07:24:02

I think increasingly retailers are having to rely on online sales to actually make their profits, so they can't keep cutting customer costs in areas like postage and stay afloat.

vix206 Thu 09-May-13 07:36:59

Just to offer a different perspective. We are a small (2 person) online retailer. We sell retro swimwear. If we paid for all returns we would not be profitable. We pay for faulty returns obviously. And we don't ask the customer to pay for the delivery of exchange orders.

Returns are really costly, you have to take into account the original cost of sending to the customer, bank fees, the time it takes to process the return (anything from 2 minutes to half an hour as some items are returned covered in deodorant and need a lot of cleaning). When a customer orders several swimsuits and then returns all bar one it is really costly in both time and money, and can result in a loss for us.

I can only speak for us as a tiny business but this is why we can't offer free returns. And, to be really honest, we made the calculated decision that if that puts off speculative, try-before-you-buy customers - that's a bonus. Because we can't afford them smile and we want to stay in business. In 4 years we've not had a complaint so far.

guiltguilty Thu 09-May-13 08:06:04

You might not have had a complaint vix but you might have lost business. I like to try before I decide to keep stuff even when ordering online. Can you absorb the cost within the product price?

ChewingOnLifesGristle Thu 09-May-13 08:22:25

No, not usually. I've been caught out a few times though and not realised.

EarlyInTheMorning Thu 09-May-13 08:24:35

I try not to. I always check to see if there's a local store I can return to if returns aren't free. I do stop myself from ordering if returns aren't free but I have been caught out with Lands End (several times blush)

scarlet76 Thu 09-May-13 08:25:05

I tend to stick to places that send out as standard a returns label or places where I can return in store - M&S, John Lewis, Gap, Monsoon, Topshop, Boden, Next.
I was recently caught out with Lands End. Royal Mail charges seem to have gone through the roof so I would definitely think twice about ordering in future.

EarlyInTheMorning Thu 09-May-13 08:26:56

Vix206 people won't complain, they'll simple take their business elsewhere.

vix206 Thu 09-May-13 08:50:22

And that's fine. We have more demand than supply for our swimsuits so would rather focus on profitability than appeasement. It is unfortunately a very tough time for small businesses, we offer something a bit different and our customer service is superb. I really feel happy with our choices and was just giving a different perspective. smile

vix206 Thu 09-May-13 08:52:16

We can't absorb the cost because if we did that we would not be competitive and would lose more business. In our very niche area all the retailers charge for returns as we are all small businesses in the same position.

FlowersBlown Thu 09-May-13 09:07:03

Isn't there a law related to distance selling which means that retailers have to refund postage if the item is returned within 7 days? I have seen this in the small print on at least 1 website even though they officially do not pay for returns.

vix206 Thu 09-May-13 09:11:59

I can see both sides of the argument btw. But if we want small, independent companies to exist alongside the big retailers, as long as distance selling regulations are adhered to, certain allowances need to be given.

Our proportion of returns is low, we try very hard to provide as much useful size and fit info as possible, and I'm always advising customers personally on sizing and other matters. Our returns ratio would definitely be higher with free returns because people would be less careful when placing their orders. So we may get more orders but a lot would be speculative and therefore not beneficial to us at all.

Personally speaking, as a frequent online shopper, I don't mind paying returns costs especially if I can see the website is small/offering something the High Street doesn't. I like to support small businesses where possible and as long as their policies seem fair and follow the legal frameworks I am happy.

Free returns and returning to a shop branch are very convenient and I can see the appeal, I just don't compare the high street and online giants with small businesses because, although they are competing for your business, they are two very different beasts.

UtterflyButterfly Thu 09-May-13 09:13:32

vix I think it's different for small outfits such as yourself, as obviously you don't have the infrastructure in place to deal with returns the way the big retailers do. Your company sounds great!

I'm not in the UK so , like amazing find sometimes you have to bite the bullet and pay for delivery and returns. But I just don't have the shops here so to get the chance of anything decent I have to shop online. And yes, by the time I've used the petrol to drive and hour and a half into the nearest decent shops, paid to park, had a coffee and got tempted by other stuff I hadn't set out to buy, the postage charges seem like a bargain!

No and I buy almost every rag I own online.

wfrances Thu 09-May-13 09:14:14

having to pay return costs is a right no no for me.

where its not clear on the website i email / phone to check.

as previous posters have said ive not complained just not shopped there ,and i am an online shopping addict.

valiumredhead Thu 09-May-13 09:20:22

It pisses me off too!

vix206 Thu 09-May-13 09:21:29

Thanks Butterfly I shouldn't really have got involved and will butt out now and get on with packing up swimwear destined for lovely summer hols grin

Taking away opinions and feelings, it all boils down to the fact that the primary reason for being in business is to make as much profit as possible. So if free returns maximise profit, then do it. If not, don't.

carrie74 Thu 09-May-13 09:29:59

For some reason I'm happier paying delivery costs than returns, so although I'd prefer to order with someone who does free everything, if there is a delivery charge for something I want, I'll pay it, but expect free returns as a result. This I see as better value usually than the petrol and parking for my local cities (and I live rurally, so local shops for me are a 30+ min drive).

blue2711 Thu 09-May-13 09:30:53

Baukjen stung me recently and it really put me off. £8 to return two dresses. It definitely puts me off ordering from them again.

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