Some Retailers Are Charging People To Return Items
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Some Retailers Are Charging People To Return Items

Posted on Wednesday, December 7th, 2022 at 7:00 am
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Be very careful when choosing what items you want to purchase at retail stores. Some of them have changed their return policies. You might be asked to pay in order to have the store accept the items you want to return. This could cause some budgeting problems both before, during, and after the holidays!

ABC Action News reported a quote from shopping expert Shelly Kohan. “Returns especially coming off the pandemic have really now become part of the shopping journey. It’s part of what shoppers do, especially shopping online. They’re going to buy three items of something with the full intent of returning two.”

According to ABC Action News, the most recent numbers available show the return rate was nearly 17 percent of total sales in 2021. That’s $761 billion in returned products. The cost of returns has always been high. But now, retail experts say they’re also dealing with the effects of higher gas prices and UPS and FedEx raising their rates.

This, apparently, is why a recent survey of retail executives shows around 60 percent say they are changing their policies. ABC Action News says consumers are dealing with charging for returns or attaching returns to a loyalty program. Retailers are also adding restocking fees or shortening their timeframe to make returns.

The Street reported that in 2022, the traditional retail return exchange won’t be as easy as it’s been in recent years.

This is due to the rising number of actual retail purchase returns, the staggering amount of money involved in consumer buying returns, and the current state of the economy, where high inflation, high costs and a retracting economy have companies taking a more aggressive stance on green-lighting shopper returns.

In January of 2022, The National Retail Federation stated that retailers expect more than $761 billion in merchandise sold last year to be returned by consumers, according to a report released by the National Retail Federation and Appriss Retail. The report accounted for an average 16.6 percent of total U.S. retail sales, which soared to $4,583 trillion in 2021.

According to the survey, for every $1 billion in sales, the average retailer incurs $166 million in merchandise returns. It also found that for every $100 in returned merchandise accepted, retailers lose $10.30 to return fraud. The categories with the highest return rates were similar to 2020 metrics: auto parts (19.4 percent), apparel (12.2 percent) and home improvement and housewares (tied at 11.5 percent). The most common types of payment used during the original purchase that led to a return were credit cards (22.78 percent), cash (12.69 percent) and debit cards (7.04 percent).

What does this mean for consumers? It means you need to be really careful about what you buy as gifts for friends and loved ones. Business Insider suggests brick and mortar stores will want people to bring their returns back to the store. But, this can be a trick! If they get you in the door, they are hoping you will buy more stuff.

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