Amazon now charges a fee for making certain returns to UPS

by The Insights

Amazon built its business on customer service, believing that everything would fall into place if the company made shopping easy and convenient. Example: Their return policy allows customers to return millions of unwanted items for free.

But this return policy is also extremely expensive. In 2021, a record $761 billion in merchandise was returned to retailers, according to the National Retail Federation.

Now Amazon wants its customers to think twice before returning products. The e-commerce giant has quietly implemented a new policy, charging customers a $1 fee if they return items to a UPS store instead of a Whole Foods, Amazon Fresh or Kohl’s closer to their address. according to a report published in The Information.

Amazon owns Whole Foods and Amazon Fresh, and Kohl partners with the company.

Amazon also warns consumers against “frequently returned” items sold on their site. They recently introduced a badge that tells shoppers to check product details and customer reviews on items with higher return rates in their product category.

Related: San Francisco Whole Foods closes to ‘keep employees safe’

Amazon cuts costs

The new return fees are the latest in a series of cost-cutting measures implemented by Amazon. Last month the company announced it would lay off 9,000 workers, following a previous round of layoffs last year that saw pink slips handed out to more than 18,000 employees.

While Amazon’s return fees are surprising, they’re not unprecedented. Other retail chains have recently removed their free online return policies, including Abercrombie & Fitch (which charges $7), American Eagle, Foot Locker, Urban Outfitters and Zara.

If there’s any good news from these new return policies, it’s that they have a positive impact on the environment. Returns cause 16 million metric tons of carbon emissions and up to 5.8 billion pounds of landfill waste in the United States each year, according to Optoro.

Fewer returns means less waste, although it may cost you.

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