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Zara to charge customers a fee for returning goods bought online

Zara to charge customers a fee for returning goods bought online

Zara began charging fees for online shoppers returning its clothes last week without fanfare or a major announcement. If customers return items to its physical stores, the 1.95 pound fee will be waived, but not if items are returned to a convenient third-party drop-off point.

Returns have become more expensive in recent years as online shoppers order multiple items, often the same garment in different sizes, and return the majority of their initial purchase. Returns management has long been a source of frustration for many retailers, with rates so high that they frequently eat into a company’s profits.

Zara’s new return policy has been criticized by several customers, with one user tweeting: “I had high hopes for you. The best, most reputable companies do not charge.”

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Not all of the criticism, however, was unfavorable. Some praised Zara’s fee as a positive step toward reducing returns’ carbon footprint. The logistical process of returning things has an environmental impact that customers have ignored for far too long.

Zara’s spokesperson told the BBC: “Customers can return online purchases for free to any Zara store in the UK, which is what the majority of customers do. The 1.95 pound fee only applies to products returned to third-party drop-off locations.”

Zara’s updated returns policy states that the fee will be deducted from the customer’s final return amount if their return is accepted. Customers have 30 days from the date of delivery to return an item purchased from Zara.com. All labels must be intact, and the items must be in excellent condition.

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Zara isn’t the only store that has a return policy. Next, a high-street shop, charges 2 pounds per return, whether picked up by Next or dropped off at a third-party drop-off location.

According to ReBound, a returns solution provider that handles returns for some of the world’s largest retailers, one out of every three things purchased online gets returned.

Zara might create a precedent for other retailers to charge for returns as well. According to the Evening Standard, data from Nshift, a returns management platform, it costs a store 20 pounds to handle an online return.

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‘Serial returners,’ buyers who buy many products and return them at a later date, have been banned by some retailers, including online juggernaut Amazon.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York has introduced the FABRIC Act to help garment workers.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York has introduced the Fashioning Accountability and Building Real Institutional Change (FABRIC) Act in support of American garment workers, which has already received widespread industry support.

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