February 12th, 2016 by

Internet returns continue to increase and so do return problems. The purpose of this article is to help keep your return shipping costs to a minimum.


Just because you get free shipping does not mean you get a pre-paid return. Look for the return policy before you make a purchase and make sure you understand if the return is prepaid. Many online retailers say they will provide a return label. That may not be a prepaid label. It may just provide the return address.

If the online retailer does not offer free returns, ask if they will send a prepaid label and bill your retail account. Many online retailers have contracts with UPS, FedEx, and USPS that are specific to their products’ shipping boxes. They get a substantial discount in exchange for agreeing to shipping a minimum of packages annually. Your return contributes to them getting to that minimum. It will substantially reduce your return shipping costs versus paying retail shipping rates.

If the online retailer will not cooperate regarding the prepaid label, ask if you can return the product in a box or package other than the one you received. Again, their contract gives them a discounted rate.

And online retailers are famous for putting a small product in a large box. When you pay to return the product, you are paying for the space of the large box. Carriers now charge by weight or the space a package takes up, whichever number is higher. This substantially increases your shipping cost.


Where is the product coming from? More products come from international shippers. That means your return is an international shipment. International shipping is more expensive than a domestic shipment. The shipping time is also much longer. It may cause you to miss your return deadline even though you mailed it promptly. Lastly, the online retailer may refuse to pay the incoming taxes/duties associated with your return. Your return sits in customs. Eventually it comes back. This is exactly what you don’t want.


Protect your return with packing. All the carriers use more automation to sort packages. Conveyor belts transport packages not only from one end of the building to the other, but up several stories to other sorting floors. Robotic arms push packages from one side of the belt to the other with force. Openings become clogged and packages pile up behind blocked openings. Just imagine the airport luggage carousel on steroids. The packages piling up fall off the conveyor belt. At the very least the fall is a minimum of 3 feet. If it is going to a second story sorting facility the fall qualifies as sky diving. The result is the fall damages your return or the package pile up crushes your return. Either way, your return is now damaged and you won’t probably receive a credit.

We see more packages damaged by other packages leaking. While you are not guilty of wrongdoing, your package is none-the-less damaged and non-returnable. Pack you return to protect against

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