Here's What The Impulsive Buy Could Cost You This Holiday Season

Why some of the largest retailers are now charging return fees and how to avoid them 👕

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Back when Covid-19 was at its peak, retailers closed their stores without having any knowledge of when they’d be reopening.

They needed to make online shopping as easily accessible as possible so they could continue to make money. Some decided to extend their return policies as a result.

And that’s when we saw a large increase in e-commerce sales.

In fact, Morgan Stanley says e-commerce now accounts for 22% of sales globally which has risen from 15% back in 2019.

Online shopping soared during the pandemic but unfortunately, so did online returns 📮

Online returns are becoming a financial burden for retailers and they’re passing it on to you

Retailers are beginning to realize just how much of a financial burden online returns are becoming, and they’re having to make some drastic changes to their return policies.

One culprit?


Convenience plays a huge part in online shopping but when when sizing seems to be different everywhere (sigh), it can be difficult. We often have to order several different sizes and styles of clothing and those that don’t fit or look right, we return.

Stick a pre-paid label on the box and drop at the local UPS store.


But bracketing feeds into a continuous pattern of buying and returning.

And return costs for retailers are continually on the rise due to supply chain issues and higher transportation costs

Inflation, baby 🙃 📈

We’re seeing more reports on stores feeling overwhelmed, and some say their warehouses are clogging up with returns which are “piled to the ceilings.”

Sounds dramatic, but it’s true.

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And in January this year, The National Relief Federation said for every $1B in sales, retailers are incurring $166M in returns.

There’s even rumors of people being allowed to keep their unwanted merchandise as opposed to retailers dealing with the costs 🤯

But it’s not just bracketing that’s costing millions…

It’s also return fraud (eg, wearing clothes on a night out and returning them in an unsalable condition).

And according to a survey, for every $100 in returned merchandise, retailers lose $10.30 to it.

*Does some calculations*

That’s just over 10%.

Not cool.

How will this affect consumers?

As retailers are losing more money each year, it’s likely we’ll see a decline in free returns. Many are now charging a shipping fee which is deducted from your refund amount.

And back in December 2021, CNN reported returns made during the holiday season would cost over half the price of the item to process which is up by 59% since 2020 🤯

So it’s looking like extended holiday returns could also become a thing of the past for some stores.

Even PayPal’s free return shipping is coming to an end on November 27th.

A list of major retailers who have made changes to their return policies

To help you make better money decisions this year, here’s a list of retailers who have updated their policies…

💄 Kohl’s return policy

Kohl’s changed its “forever policy” as they said people were taking advantage of it. And to be fair, “forever” is a very long time ♾️

They’ve now capped their returns to 180 days from the time of purchase, which means you’ll still get a full six months to make your mind up about that dress you might wanna wear in spring.

🧼 Bath and Body Works return policy

Back in September, Bath and Body Works announced while still honouring their 100% satisfaction guarantee, they would now be limiting customers to $250 in non-receipted returns or exchanges within a 90-day period.

👗 Boohoo return policy

Boohoo now charge a $6 fee to return online purchases within a 28-day window.

🧥 J.Crew return policy

J.Crew has halved its return window, so you’ll now have 30 days to make a return instead of 60 days. And if you’re using their return shipping label, the $7.50 fee will be deducted from your refund amount.

But there’s some good news – they’ve announced that any orders placed from October 12th, 2022 through to December 9th, 2022, can get extended returns and exchanges until January 9th next year🎄

👔 Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy return policy

These stores previously allowed 45 days for returns but in June this year, it was lowered it to 30 days.

Which kinda sucks.

PSA: 30 days is from the date your item was shipped. Not the date of delivery.

👡 Zara return policy

A $3.95 charge will be taken from your refund amount for returns.

Let’s end this with a top tip �💫

Next time you’re shopping online, take a look at the return policy before checking out.

Cast your eagle eyes on the small print to see if there are any fees. You never know, some stores could be silently updating their policies without making a public service announcement 👺

⚠️ As we’re entering the holiday season, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just around the corner waiting to pounce on their prey. So for those who are prone to impulse buying, check out the top 12 stores with the best return policies.

And if you’re thinking of using Buy Now, Pay Later over the holiday season, here’s how to do it safely 🎅

Enjoy this post? Give it a share or send it along to a friend. You never know, it could make a big difference. And of course, if you want to try the best money app in the world for free, just hit this link right here.

Big love. Cleo 💙

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