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Advice Sought : Returns Policy

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hey fellows, I would like to seek the advice of veteran forumers who have had experience buying clothing online. In my understanding, every customer who purchases clothing online is taking the risk of having the items not fitting well. I assume therefore that it is only reasonable that the store provides for exchanges. Herein lies my question: who should be liable to pay for the return shipping, and should the store charge for shipping for sending the replacement product out, or eat that as costs of doing business? Also: in the case of refunds, is it fair to charge a restocking fee, or reject refunds altogether and provide store credit? Any input is much appreciated!
post #2 of 7
A store should have it's return policy stated in writing up front, and if at all possible get the customer to confirm, with a physical or e signature, that they understand or accept the policy. This will eliminate any reasonable misunderstanding, and in the case of the latter, avoid cc chargebacks As the seller it's up to you to state what you would do with return shipping costs, restocking fees, etc...and it's up to the buyer to agree or buy somewhere else
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HRoi View Post
A store should have it's return policy stated in writing up front, and if at all possible get the customer to confirm, with a physical or e signature, that they understand or accept the policy. This will eliminate any reasonable misunderstanding, and in the case of the latter, avoid cc chargebacks As the seller it's up to you to state what you would do with return shipping costs, restocking fees, etc...and it's up to the buyer to agree or buy somewhere else
Yes, I do understand the need to have everything stated upfront. Maybe I need to be clearer in my query. My question was as buyers, what do you think are acceptable return policies? Specifically, if the item is to be sent back for exchange, who eats the cost of shipping it back and re-shipping the correct item? Assuming the store processed the order correctly. My second question was in the case of refunds that has nothing to do with defects or wrong orders, but because the buyer simply decided he didn't want the item ordered. Should we only offer store credit, or accept a restocking fee, or both, or simply refuse to process the return? Of course, all defects that are found or wrong orders sent due to the store's fault will be exchanged without the buyer having to spend a single cent more.
post #4 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Edify, Inc View Post
Yes, I do understand the need to have everything stated upfront. Maybe I need to be clearer in my query.

My question was as buyers, what do you think are acceptable return policies? Specifically, if the item is to be sent back for exchange, who eats the cost of shipping it back and re-shipping the correct item? Assuming the store processed the order correctly.

My second question was in the case of refunds that has nothing to do with defects or wrong orders, but because the buyer simply decided he didn't want the item ordered. Should we only offer store credit, or accept a restocking fee, or both, or simply refuse to process the return?

Of course, all defects that are found or wrong orders sent due to the store's fault will be exchanged without the buyer having to spend a single cent more.


1: I am fine with it being the customer's problem to pay for shipping as long as it is their fault (doesn't fit/don't like). If the problem is something like a defect or a mistake on your part, shipping should be free. The pro move would be to always include a pre-printed return label and let them return at your discounted shipping rate (take it out of the refund if it was for sizing issues, or just pay for it if it was your fault).
Of course, some companies have made a business around free returns (like zappos) but it is not necessary.

2. Timely returns should be processed as a refund in whatever payment was presented. It is a douche move to take my credit card and then only offer store credit back (and I might just call up Amex and tell them that I want to return it but you won't credit my card so I would like to do a chargeback). You can get away with doing store credit on sketchy returns (like 90 days later) but not if they get something in the mail, decide it doesn't fit, and mail it back the next day.
Restocking fees are the same way. Unless it is some custom ordered item or returned a long time later (a bathing suit ordered in june that they don't return until late september)...just refund the full amount.
post #5 of 7
Assuming everything is stated upfront (and not hidden), I'd find it acceptable to have to pay for return shipping, though I'd be more likely to buy if the retailer eats all the costs associated with the return. I'd probably expect the seller to eat the cost of sending out the replacement, though (the notion of shared risk).

However, if I bought something that didn't fit and I needed to return it, and you're not able to exchange it for the same item in a size that fits me, I'd be pretty miffed if my options were to pay a restocking fee (in addition to return shipping) or to have to accept store credit.
post #6 of 7
If the customer orders the wrong size, they pay. If the seller ships the wrong size, they pay.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks to all who replied! Some very enlightening ideas here, it is most appreciated. Here are my thoughts: For exchanges, Buyer requests a change of size or color for the same model within 3 days of confirmed receipt (except for custom orders and/ or discounted merchandise). 1. If we have the stock available, to issue a confirmation email to authorize the return and also provide a return shipping label via an URL. Buyer will be advised that the return shipping charges will be billed to his account at our discounted rates. We must receive the item in saleable condition in original packaging within 10 days of the confirmation email. Once we have confirmed receipt of the returned item, we will proceed to send out the replacement the next working day at no costs to the buyer. Each item is allowed ONE exchange at the above conditions, subject to reasonable requests. By reasonable, I mean that we cannot be expected to do an exchange from a size 5 to a size 11. Further exchanges, if authorized, will have all shipping costs billed. (I am thinking if this agrees with the suggested notion of shared risk?) 2. If we have no stock on hand for the requested exchange, the buyer shall be advised to the lead time til availability. If the the time lapse is not agreeable, we will proceed to perform a full refund minus shipping charges if there is no other models in our stock that the buyer is agreeable to exchange for. We will also bear the costs of the return shipping. If the customer agrees to exchange for another model in stock, the conditions in 1. applies. -------- Buyer receives item with defects, or an wrong order, and informs us with pictures if applicable within 3 days of receipt. Once we verify that the claims are true: 1. Buyer can request for exchange following the same procedure as above. All shipping costs will be borne by us. 2. Buyer requests for refund. We will bear the costs of the return shipping and the full refund including shipping costs. -------- Buyer receives the item in good condition, but decides that through no fault of us or the item that he does not wish to keep the item for any reason. 1. We will process a refund less shipping charges and a 10% restocking fee of the item sale price. Buyer shall also bear the cost of return shipping. -------- Apologies for the lengthy reply! I have gone through the thought process many times and I do think that the above Returns & Exchanges policies are fair enough for both us and the buyer. As always, I am open to any criticisms and I hope to refine the policies so much so that every customer will feel comfortable and enjoy buying from us.
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Styleforum › Forums › Culture › Business, Careers & Education › Advice Sought : Returns Policy