H&M starts charging shoppers for online returns? Is it a problem?

There are several aspects of H&M's decision to charge customers for returns that can be seen as detrimental to consumers:

  1. Additional Costs for Returns: Customers now have to pay £1.99 to return items purchased online. This added cost can be burdensome, especially for those who are on a tight budget or those who make frequent online purchases.

  2. Impact on Low-Income Shoppers: The introduction of return fees may disproportionately affect low-income consumers, making it more difficult for them to shop online or return items that don't meet their expectations.

  3. Loss of Convenience: In the past, H&M allowed free returns, which added to the convenience of online shopping. With this new policy, shoppers may be now discouraged from making online purchases without being absolutely certain about their choices, potentially limiting their options.

  4. Discouragement for Bulk Buying: The policy may also discourages shoppers from buying multiple items online with the intention of returning most of them. While this may be seen as a measure to reduce returns, it also potentially limits consumer freedom and the ability to explore different styles or sizes.

  5. Potential Discrimination: This new policy might negatively affect certain groups of people, such as those with disabilities who rely on online shopping. These individuals may have limited options for in-store shopping and could be unfairly burdened by return fees.

  6. Environmental Impact: While reducing returns may have a positive environmental impact by reducing the number of delivery vehicles on the road, this is not necessarily a consumer benefit. Consumers may prioritize convenience and choice over environmental concerns.

  7. Membership Privileges: Although returns remain free for H&M members, this can be seen as an incentive to join the loyalty program, potentially pressuring consumers to give up personal data and shopping habits to enjoy this benefit.

Overall, while some argue that charging for returns can be economically sensible for retailers, it does have several negative implications for consumers, particularly those who rely on online shopping and those who value the convenience of hassle-free returns.

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