Online clothing retailer Asos hit the news last month after altering its returns policy to prevent serial returns. But could the new policy put some shoppers off?
With the rise of Instagram influencers and social media photo sharing, the need to be wearing the most stylish, relevant outfits feels like it’s never been greater.
With that in mind, it looks like Asos had noticed what it calls ‘unusual patterns’ from some customers – in other words large amounts of orders being sent back on a regular basis by the same person for a refund.
Could some be wearing an outfit once and returning it? Or could they be taking a quick photo of the new clothes, posting it on Instagram then sending it all back?
Finding the right size
I can understand why the policy has changed, but it does leave me with a couple of questions, as well as some doubts around my own shopping.
Being 5ft 3″ tall, I often find that clothes are either too long or just don’t fit properly.
The quickest way for me to get around my dilemma is to order two or three different sizes. When the clothes arrive I can then try everything on and send back the ones that didn’t fit.
I feel like there’s a huge amount of disparity when it comes to different brands’ sizing – should retailers expect high returns rates as a result of that?
While Asos has made it clear that it’s unlikely I would be affected, it has made me think twice about my shopping habits – should I ‘over-order’ different sizes? I wonder if this change could put some innocent shoppers off finding the right size.
And finally, Asos offers ‘Klarna‘ – a payment system that means you can place an order, try the items on, then return them, only paying for the ones you keep. Could that system encourage the behaviour it’s attempting to stamp out?
Our online shopping advice
We had a few questions for Asos about the new returns policy, based largely around clarification of the new policy’s finer points.
Asos told us that some accounts had indeed already been deactivated, but the number of those affected (and likely to be affected) is tiny – a fraction of 1% of its customer base. For our other queries, it directed us to its full policy page.
When you buy goods online you have rights to return them under the Consumer Contracts Regulations, which stand in addition to the retailer’s online returns policy.
This is because your decision may be based on a brief description, a photograph or sizing guidelines – so what you end up receiving isn’t always quite what you’d expected.
Because of this, you have the right to change your mind, cancel your order and return it to the retailer for a refund.
You can cancel at any time from the moment you place your online order, and up to 14 days from the day you receive your goods.
You need to notify the retailer within this time period – by email, for example – and you then have a further 14 days from the date you notified the retailer to actually return the goods.
How do you feel about the new returns policy? Might changes like this make you think twice about your online orders?