More online retailers may soon charge return fees

(WPRI) – If you’re an online shopper who takes advantage of free shipping and free returns, sending back products may soon start to cost you.

Finding delivery boxes waiting at her door is Madga Walczak’s favorite part of online shopping. She, like many online customers, try on items at home and send them back if they don’t fit.

“I would say that about half the things I actually buy I end up returning,” she said.

Returns cost retailers as much as $375 billion every year.

“For retailers, returns are an absolute nightmare. The days of using your living room as a fitting room are yes, going to be coming to a close,” said Retail Expert Carol Spieckerman.

Online companies can now keep tabs on 525 million customers who send back more than they keep.

“We look at returns in relation to the profitability of a customer, so for example, if you return 50 items that can be really terrible if you only keep one, but of course if you return 50 items and end up buying 200 that’s fantastic!” explained Dominique Levin of AgilOne.

Companies use this data to curb chronic returning. Now, some won’t send coupons to customers who chronically return, and others will only email promotions for certain products.

Some businesses are even revoking certain customer’s free shipping and experts say companies may start charging them restoring fees in the future.

Experts say if you’ve been labeled a constant returner, you can improve your status with a store by starting to keep more items than you return.

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