H&M has made a U-turn after announcing a new surcharge on returned items.
The new policy would have been bad news for buyers, but now it’s easy to avoid paying.
On Tuesday, The US Sun reported that H&M had started charging customers a $5.99 fee to return their online orders.
The fashion retailer confirmed to Retail Dive that it has expanded its policy of charging fees for returns in the US, UK and most of Europe.
But H&M has clarified that the fee only applies to returns by post.
There are no fees for items returned in store, even if purchased online.
H&M has updated the website and says: “You can return or exchange goods free of charge at any H&M store in the US, excluding Puerto Rico, at any time.”
The merchant asks customers to bring the e-receipt attached to the shipping confirmation email along with the items they wish to return.
The other way to avoid a fee, even if you return by mail, is to join the H&M loyalty club.
Membership is free, but you will be asked to sign up to receive promotional emails from H&M.
Although H&M hasn’t specifically explained why it started charging for returns, this is common practice at competitors like Abercrombie, J Crew and Zara.
Free on-site returns are also possible in all of these branches.
The returns process is costly for retailers and a large proportion of returned items are never sold again.
While e-commerce giant Amazon has helped raise customer expectations for free returns, the company is soon scaling back that policy.
Amazon customers who live near a Whole Foods, Amazon Fresh or Kohl’s store will now be charged $1 to return items through a UPS store.
The retailer wants to encourage customers to stop by Whole Foods and Amazon Fresh, which it owns, in hopes they’ll purchase additional items there.
Amazon customers even receive a one-time $10 discount on purchases of $40 or more with Amazon Fresh.
But the retailer also recently expanded its free returns network to include Staples stores.
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