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Pretty Little Thing to charge for returns

Katie Ross
07 June 2024

Online womenswear retailer Pretty Little Thing has announced that it will be scrapping its free returns policy and will now charge for the return of items.

Pretty Little Thing has previously offered free returns through popular couriers like Evri, Royal Mail and Inpost. However, these services now cost customers £1.99 to send a return in the UK, since the beginning of June.

This amount will be deducted from the customer's order refund. If customers use an alternative method, they are responsible for the cost of returning using their chosen alternative returns method.

According to retail payment experts Dojo, this move could be an attempt by the brand to mitigate the phenomenon of serial refunding and wardrobing. This is where consumers buy ‘hauls’ of clothes to try on, or wear clothes once and return them without removing the tags.

Customers have taken to social media to share the news, with one TikTok user sharing the update on her account, gaining over 100k views.

Last year, the Guardian reported that UK shoppers posted back more than £4.1bn of online clothing purchases in 2022, a figure expected to continue rising for retail businesses throughout 2024.

Oh Polly was the most recent e-tailer to clamp down on returns, following the likes of Zara, H&M and Wayfair.

Online shopping continues to increase, with 89% of Brits ordering online in the past year as consumers are more likely to order multiple sizes and buy items in bulk, leading to a higher return rate.

The most frequent item bought online is clothing, with over half of Brits buying clothes online in the last year.

The introduction of ‘buy now, pay later’ functions like Klarna has also contributed to a rise in multiple orders, as consumers can order multiple products and send others back without any money leaving their bank account.

An increasing number of companies are charging for returns due to cost, as the process of returning items contributes to the environmental costs and impacts of delivering items, due to packaging and courier vans.

Shopping experts at Dojo said: “High amounts of returns can prove very expensive for businesses so it’s no surprise that fast fashion retailer, Pretty Little Thing, has discontinued their free returns policy.

“Buy now, pay later has contributed significantly to customers buying more than what they usually would to try different sizes and colours without any money leaving their bank account. This causes mass returns costing brands money for the returns process.

“Pretty Little Thing is the latest in a long line of brands to start charging for refunds and we will likely see more brands following suit. This happened just weeks after Oh Polly announced customers would be charged up to £8.99 for returning items. This is a move to help decrease the amount of unnecessary returns customers are making and to help offset the business costs incurred during the returns process.”

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