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As if buying clothes online isn’t nerve-wracking enough: the Zara return policy has changed, and now the fast-fashion retailer is charging customers to make returns. And from the looks of it, other stores like Zara might join them soon.
Zara used to offer free shipping for returns, but now they’re deducting the return shipping costs from customers’ refund amounts.
So how much Zara is charging for returns? Which stores might follow Zara’s lead? What stores are charging for shipping? We’ve got details.
If you return online Zara orders, expect a $3.95 deduction from your refund.
Back in May, Zara’s UK customers learned that they’d be charged £1.50 for their online returns, and as of June 22, 2022, US online shoppers started getting charged $3.95 to return their online orders.
Here’s what happens:
- Customers initiate a return from Zara.com, as long as it is within 30 days from the purchase date.
- They receive a return label in their email, which they print and stick to any package that is properly sealed with the returned item inside.
- They bring the order to their local post office, which Zara calls “drop points” on their website.
- Once received, the customer gets their refund, minus the $3.95 return shipping fee.
Zara online orders that are returned to a physical store are still free of charge.
Avoid the $3.95 fee by going to your closest Zara store and making a return.
Here’s what you need to do to make a Zara in-store return:
- You don’t need to make a purchase request if you’re bringing it back to the physical store.
- Grab the original packaging and tags — it’s okay if the packaging is open or the tags are off.
- Make sure you have a physical receipt or a copy on your phone to show the cashier.
- Bring back your purchase to the Zara in your market or region.
When you bring back your purchase, you need the original packaging and tags. But the tags can be off and the packaging can be opened already.
TIP: If you’re at the physical Zara store and want a good deal, head to the back or upstairs. Zara employees confirmed the sales in the front and on the main floor are for the more expensive stuff.
Some stores are already charging you by not offering free shipping for returns.
Offering free shipping and returns is a way to keep customers coming back, but some stores don’t want to shell out any money for returns.
These stores are charging for returns of online orders that aren’t brought back to the store:
- TJMaxx: $10.99, deducted from refund
- J.Crew: $7.50, deducted from refund
- JCPenney: $8, deducted from refund
- L.L. Bean: $6.50, deducted from refund (free if purchase bought with L.L. Bean MasterCard), deducted from refund
- Crate and Barrel: $5 (more non-furniture) items, deducted from refund
- Urban Outfitters: $5, deducted from refund
- Boohoo: $5, deducted from refund
- Uniqlo: $7, deducted from refund
- Eddie Bauer: $7, deducted from refund
- Woman Within: $8.99, deducted from refund
- Next: $7, deducted from refund
TIP: If you do want free returns, then we have nine of our favorite stores offering free return shipping.
More stores may follow the Zara return policy to make up for profit loss.
Stores may use Zara for the return policy blueprint by charging for returns. (Although fellow fashion retailer, Boohoo, was already charging US customers $6 for returns.)
The pandemic had online shopping at an all-time high, with a 43% increase in 2020 compared to 2019. Of course, with more online buys comes more returns. Reboxing, restocking, and reselling have eaten into retailer profits — just under 4% by industry estimates.
With $761 billion worth of merchandise returned in 2021 compared to $428 billion in 2020, more stores might follow Zara’s lead to combat returns.
TIP: If you want to avoid costly returns, then check out our list of return policies that’ll save you money.