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?

Roshbegosh Wed 08-May-13 21:09:25

No, it pisses me off. Paying for postage in the first place is bad enough but then to pay for returns as well and end up with nothing. Bummer.

dexter73 Wed 08-May-13 21:14:26

I probably wouldn't if it was a large order and I knew I was going to return some of it. Would cost £££ and you would have to do it special delivery in case it got lost. Mind you I can't remember the last time I placed an order and they didn't have free returns. Which company is it? (nosy)

catslave Wed 08-May-13 21:18:10

Which company? Ask and I'll bet there's a coupon for free returns somewhere. Unless it is Mango, who really p me off with that.

hollyisalovelyname Wed 08-May-13 21:18:55

I don't live in uk at the moment and it is sooo expensive to order from uk cos of cost of returns - so often postage is outrageous even to deliver!! La Redoute has only just reduced it's postal charge of twenty five quid approx to a tiny amount. It's a start. I envy you in U.K.things are so easy to get snd so much cheaper.

CheesyPoofs Wed 08-May-13 21:19:34

No, but most places I buy from offer free returns now. Or I just return to the shop.

orangeandemons Wed 08-May-13 21:22:12

Toast charge for returns, and so does Celtic. I remember when Internet shopping first started it was meant to be the cheaper option < cynical emoticon>. I think having to pay postage on returns is bloody cheeky

SilverSixpence Wed 08-May-13 21:26:28

I do buy from Toast but only in the sales. Parcel2go and other couriers
Are much cheaper than royal mail.

ThisIsNotAFlyingToy Wed 08-May-13 21:33:50

Uniqlo charge which does piss me off

optionalExtras Wed 08-May-13 21:37:49

I just have. Worse, it's jeans for DD. From Hollister. They won't fit, and it's going to cost me, I know it. Delivery was free of course!

Cherrypie32 Wed 08-May-13 21:38:40

Been caught out with Lands End and Toast yes. I didn't really think about it but will now.

Cherrypie32 Wed 08-May-13 21:39:48

Oh and The White Company.

guiltguilty Wed 08-May-13 21:57:28

No it would really piss me off

DIddled Wed 08-May-13 22:00:07

Word to the wise- postage charges have gone up as well lately- I sold something on e bay and it cost much more than it used to sad

HappyAsEyeAm Wed 08-May-13 22:01:07

Jo jo maman bebe does free delivery, but you always have to pay postage for returns.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 08-May-13 22:04:01

Once by mistake with Seasalt, I won't order from them again.

bishboschone Wed 08-May-13 22:08:01

I only buy from shops I can return to instore. Makes life easier if you get free delivery then free returns , just take them back when you are passing .

trixymalixy Wed 08-May-13 22:10:09

No, I won't order if I have to pay for return postage.

No, never order on-line if have to pay for returns
Love ordering loads on-line if free delivery and returns
(Take note retailers)

MacaYoniAndCheese Wed 08-May-13 22:26:58

If I'm ordering a lot, and I have a good coupon code, then I don't mind paying a bit to return something that I've ordered to "try out". Being able to try stuff on at home, with different things you already own etc is a luxury imo.

Nehru Wed 08-May-13 22:28:15

Never twice. Ill order three if something to get free delivery then use the free return

Nehru Wed 08-May-13 22:28:46

Try collect plus for returns.

Nehru Wed 08-May-13 22:28:59

Office shoes are offenders

Hopefully Thu 09-May-13 06:25:31

For most people, getting to a town with decent shops costs a lot more than postage (petrol, parking etc) , so I generally think it's worth it. Also if it's free shipping/returns, you know they just build the shipping price into the clothes price, right?

Nehru Thu 09-May-13 06:34:48

I most admit I do weigh up the parking costs with m and s whose postage is reasonable.
Mint velvet- bin the big box and tissue and I'd order more; your postage is prohibitive.

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.

TiaTheTulipFairy Thu 09-May-13 09:33:43

This article news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8421714.stm says if you return an item within 7 days then the retailer must refund the original p&p charged although may not have to cover the cost of the return as well.

MrsCampbellBlack Thu 09-May-13 09:33:44

Problem is now that RM postage costs have gone up by so much and you need to send it guaranteed delivery, or if it gets lost be prepared to pay the cost.

I therefore only order from companies who pay for returns or where I can return it to the store.

LifeofPo Thu 09-May-13 09:35:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

orangeandemons Thu 09-May-13 10:19:16

I even hate paying for delivery. I know this is entirely unreasonable.grin. However Internet retail does have lower overheads, so once you've added delivery and return onto an item, you could be paying about 7 quid for nothing at all, except for trying on!

vix206 Thu 09-May-13 11:07:09

Lower overheads yes. But still, office space, staff, warehousing, insurance, stock, payment processing, oh its a long list - lets just say all the usual business overheads. Plus the growing problem of being ripped off by fraudsters. That has to be factored in, despite all efforts this is a significant cost when selling online.

As previous posters have pointed out, if you return an item for a refund within the 7 day period (soon to be 14 by law) you are entitled to outward delivery cost refund (obviously not possible if free delivery) so essentially actually we do cover the return cost when you look at it that way.

Nehru Thu 09-May-13 17:01:49

Next don't charge for returns ?..

Nehru Thu 09-May-13 17:02:43

Agree land end is shit

noddyholder Thu 09-May-13 17:03:44

I don't order online anymore unless 100% or have seen irl too many cock ups and crappy fits

Nehru Thu 09-May-13 17:04:27

Oh I love ordering online. Bit won't if postage over £3

noddyholder Thu 09-May-13 17:06:01

I like it in theory but I have become a trier- onner in my old age and I am transformed and don't waste as much £

Dolallytats Thu 09-May-13 17:09:02

Nehru, they do if you have to use the courier and are sending the whole order back.

Fast Thu 09-May-13 17:20:39

It really puts me off to the point I just don't bother buying from such companies.
I don't mind paying a fixed amount for delivery but will often over-order to take advantage of 'free delivery if spending over £50/ 75/ 100' offers.

In fact yesterday I flicked through a Joe Brown's mini-catalogue, mentally noted what I was going to order, realised they charged for delivery and returns (and not a fixed price return, it would be via RM) so just did not bother ordering full stop.

orangeandemons Thu 09-May-13 17:38:24

I don't think Next charge for returns either.

bishboschone Thu 09-May-13 17:40:47

Again I reiterate my point. Why not buy from shops you can return to easily. Blimey next is the easiest . Out of town shops are open late of you work. It takes seconds. I always take back to the shops as its free. I only order shoes from schuh then I take back what I don't want for free . Card gets refunded immediately too. Win win

Nehru Thu 09-May-13 17:44:23

No way !!

msrisotto Thu 09-May-13 17:46:08

Check out the distance selling regs, free returns are the law!

hellymelly Thu 09-May-13 17:47:17

vix what is your company? Would you pm me with it? (I need a nice cossie ).

TigerseyeMum Thu 09-May-13 17:50:45

Am annoyed as I bought a dress from People Tree, I measured my size and checked against their sizing chart but it's way too small - I'm an 8-10 and I bought a 10, it cost me over £4 delivery and I have to pay to send it back.

I might email them and point out that their sizing is wrong and ask for a full refund, their sizes should be accurate as published.

hellymelly Thu 09-May-13 17:52:14

I should add that free returns do make me more likely to buy something from a new company, or for my daughters where I am less sure about fit as sizes vary wildly and my older child is very slim but tall, so tricky to fit. However with smaller companies like viz's, or where fit matters but it won't cost a fortune to return (e.g underwear) I don't mind so much. I have paid out about twenty five quid in returns recently though, on shoes for my dd whose feet are proving a nightmare. That's on top of the same amount or even more in postage charges. That is a lot of money to toss into the ether.

Tweetinat Thu 09-May-13 17:59:30

mrsrisotto - I'm afraid you're mistaken. It is not the law for the retailer to pay for the cost of returns. They are only obligated to refund your original postage costs:

http://www.oft.gov.uk/shared_oft/business_leaflets/general/oft913.pdf

orangeandemons Thu 09-May-13 18:50:54

Can I just get this right? If I buy something and don't like it, and return it within 7 working days, I can get the postage back? Is this right?

So the crappy shoes I got from crappy Next online, which I returned the next day in store, means they should have refunded the delivery costs?

mewkins Thu 09-May-13 20:25:01

Prefer to pay a set charge for delivery rather than an unknown amount for returns. Really annoyed me when I ordered something from kaliko (free delivery) but then it arrived in a huge cardboard box and then I had to pay 7quid to send back and wait three weeks for my account to be credited.
Much prefer being able to do store returns or send back for free (Gap are great at this).

Nehru Thu 09-May-13 20:49:58

Shit. You do!! I never knew. Bastarding next.

Is that new ?

orangeandemons Thu 09-May-13 20:57:20

Do they? I hate Next anyway, but this has confirmed it. It's definitely a new thing then

orangeandemons Thu 09-May-13 21:01:27

The cheeky fucking bastards! They never used to. You now have to pay for the honour of retuning their crap. So you could be paying 8 quid extra for one item. The cheapskates. What has happened to that shop. It used to be so good and with good customer service, and now it is so so shite

orangeandemons Thu 09-May-13 21:02:11

I also thought they had to notify you in writing if they were changing their terms, and they never did.

LifeofPo Thu 09-May-13 21:06:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

orangeandemons Thu 09-May-13 21:12:08

And they charge for that shitty catalogue whether you want it or not

Nehru Thu 09-May-13 21:15:22

Fucking hell. Wanky next.

We are OVAH

onedev Thu 09-May-13 21:26:55

I only ever buy from online retailers with free returns or can return to the store.

I get what you're saying too though Vix grin

Tweetinat Thu 09-May-13 22:05:11

Orangeandlemons - yes, they should refund shipping. But even the big companies rarely do and it's a fight to get the money back. But the law is on your side and a quick email advising them you will notify trading standards usually does the trick grin

Thecatsmum Fri 10-May-13 07:43:39

Having been stung for £6 to return one item to Brora I'm now very careful not to buy online unless it's free returns or I can return stuff to a shop. I think about it in terms of bus fair, if it's less than £4 for delivery but free returns then I'll go for it and I'm happy to pay over the odds for next day delivery. However delivery is a fixed cost returns aren't.
Sadly RM has put it's prices up so much that it's not cost effective for the consumer or the company.

Nehru Fri 10-May-13 17:57:51

Rang next.
When you return all of them you are refunded delivery.
If you keep one... Oh god I can't remember.

Suffice to say you never pay delivery AND returns. Just one

valiumredhead Fri 10-May-13 19:13:54

I have stopped ordering from Next, never known such a complicated way of returning things. And you do have to pay if you use the courier service, not if you use the PO. bastards

blueshoes Fri 10-May-13 20:10:14

I will only pay for returns if I am buying a few items in a sale and the savings if I keep one or more of them are substantial enough to offset the delivery costs.

BeattieBow Fri 10-May-13 20:40:17

I once made the mistake of ordering from Cos online without checking. I ordered stuff to try on and had to send things back to Sweden or somewhere. it cost me a fortune. Im guessing lots of people complained as it's now free returns.

try to avoid paying for postage now if I can help it. DH works in Central London so I often send him in to work with parcels for Next/Zara/massimo and the like.

Phaedra11 Sat 11-May-13 07:29:23

I've got this really odd looking dress from Cos which I only wear around the house (whenever I'm not expecting visitors) because it would have been expensive to return it. I don't buy from them anymore.

I try to buy Toast from the John Lewis website. You can then pick up and return from/to your local John Lewis or Waitrose without paying for postage or returns. I've also bought Mango from House of Fraser and returned to the store for free.

Phaedra11 Sat 11-May-13 07:32:18

Ooh, just re-read BeattieBow's post and see Cos now offer free returns. May give them another chance....

Nehru Sat 11-May-13 07:48:28

Mango from John Lewis too.

I don't get cos. it all looks weird Theresa may blue space suit

LifeofPo Sat 11-May-13 07:59:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

optionalExtras Sat 11-May-13 09:13:53

With Cos you have to sift through the odd scuba-diving stuff. I have a silk blouse and 2 pairs of well-cut trews from Cos that I love and have just ordered 3 more things that I hope will be at the chic end of the scale that goes all the way to plain weird

LifeofPo Sat 11-May-13 09:18:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

noddyholder Sat 11-May-13 10:08:33

I agree optional cos slim trousers ad silky tops are great. Love te jewellery too

OneHandFlapping Sat 11-May-13 10:18:37

Zara are great.

One click on line to request a courier to come and pick stuff up, Free too.

Nehru Sat 11-May-13 10:46:05

the cos modelles always look like they are drugged

Nehru Sat 11-May-13 10:46:51
Nehru Sat 11-May-13 10:47:40
Sheila Sat 11-May-13 10:51:15

Beware paying online with Paypal - means you can't return an item to the shop for a refund - found that out the hard way at White Company.

Sheila Sat 11-May-13 10:52:32

Nehru that shirt might be nice ticked in? <clutches at straws>

Sheila Sat 11-May-13 10:53:11

TUCKED in. D'oh.

TooExtraImmatureCheddar Sat 11-May-13 11:02:58

Vix, please pm me your website too! Am looking for new swimsuit (not bikini) and the one I ordered from Asos is a bit cheap and nasty.

noddyholder Sat 11-May-13 11:16:53

No one wears stuff as the crap stylists show them though! I have lots of lovely cos things.

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