Attention Shoppers: Some Canadian Retailers Are Saying "Bye Bye" to Free Returns

Hold onto your wallets, Canadian shoppers! It seems the era of free return shipping might be coming to an end. A growing number of major retailers are ditching the once-ubiquitous perk, leaving customers to foot the bill for unwanted items.

So, who's saying goodbye to free returns? Here's a rundown of some of the Canadian retailers that have recently announced changes to their return policies:

  • Aritzia now charges an $8 return postage fee, deducted from your refund.
  • Abercrombie & Fitch Canada charges $7 for online returns.
  • UNIQLO Canada charges a $9.90 fee for returns sent to their warehouse.
  • Best Buy Canada charges a 15% restocking fee for certain items that have been opened.
  • Amazon Canada charges a return shipping fee or the cost of the carrier used for the return, unless the item meets the free return conditions.
  • Simons charges a $9.90 fee for each return request, but members of the retailer's free loyalty program are exempt.
  • H&M charges a $4.99 fee for returns made at Canada Post retail centres, but members of the retailer's free loyalty program receive free returns.

What's driving this change?

It boils down to rising costs associated with returns, which can be substantial for companies. Between processing, restocking, and shipping fees, returns can eat into profits, especially with the increasing popularity of online shopping.

But is this change fair for consumers?

Some argue that paying for returns incentivizes shoppers to be more selective and purchase items they genuinely want, potentially reducing waste. However, others argue that it creates a barrier for hesitant online shoppers who might be worried about getting stuck with unwanted items.

The end of free returns is not a reality for every retailer

Many stores like Mango, Walmart, and Indigo still offer free returns through various methods like Canada Post or store drop-off. Plus, some eco-conscious brands are exploring alternative solutions for returns, such as Good for Sunday's "Eco Drop" initiative, minimizing the environmental impact of shipping.

Ultimately, the decision to charge for returns remains a strategic calculation for each retailer. While this might be a cost-saving measure for businesses, shoppers should be mindful of changing policies and factor those costs into their online shopping decisions.

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