Boohoo, which had previously offered returns for free, will now charge £1.99 for the service.
The retailer quietly made the policy change in the small print of its app and website, informing customers that the charge will be deducted from any refund issued.
A spokesperson for Boohoo said the change had been rolled out in response to the cost of shipping increasing, adding that the move was made so the company can “continue to offer great prices and products and do this in a more sustainable way”.
Last month Boohoo reported that its shares were down 14% after it reported an 8% dip in first-quarter sales that partly reflected higher returns.
A Boohoo group spokesman told The Mirror: “As the cost of shipping has increased, we’ve had to look at where we can adapt without compromising what our customers love most, the convenience of shopping with us and the great value that our brands offer.
“This has meant that we will be applying a charge of £1.99 to returns so that we can continue to offer great prices and products and do this in a more sustainable way.”
What is the new Boohoo returns policy?
Customers will now see an “updated returns policy” in the small print of the shop’s app and website when buying an item.
The policy states: “Please note a returns charge of £1.99 per parcel will be deducted from your refund amount.
“Returns are FREE for premier customers.”
The new policy also applies to shoppers using gift cards, store credit or vouchers.
Boohoo’s website states: “If you paid for your order with a gift card, store credit or a voucher, a replacement to the value of the refund will be issued minus the cost of £1.99 for returning the item to us.”
The retailer has extended its returns policy to 28 days, so a typical refund may take longer than usual.
Customers will be issued a refund within 14 days of the retailer receiving the returned items, or within 14 days of the consumer providing it with proof of return via one of its carriers if the items are not returned.
Unhappy shoppers took to social media to complain about the change in policy, as many customers order multiple sizes of an item to get the correct fit, before returning the ones they don’t need, meaning they will be left out of pocket.
One user wrote: ““I always have to buy in two sizes as sometimes the cut is skimpy and the next time it drowns you. Think I’m sticking to Primark from now on, at least you can actually see what you are buying.”
“@boohoo @boohoo_cshelp since when do you charge for returns???”, said another.
A third wrote: “Well, that settles it. No more shopping from @boohoo now they’ve started charging £1.99 for refunds.”
Another added: “@boohoo_cshelp Hi, please can you tell me why you now charge for Isle of Man residents to return?? Just had to pay 9.19 for three dresses? Then apparently you then take £1.99 from refund!!”
Which other retailers charge for returns?
The move from Boohoo comes after Zara shoppers have started being charged £1.95 to send items back, with the fee deducted from their refund.
Zara had said the move was to encourage people back into its stores, where there is no fee for returns.
However, fellow online only retailer Asos’ chief executive Jose Antonio Ramos Calamonte said his company currently does not charge for returns and isn’t thinking of charging “right now”.
Asos chief operating officer Mat Dunn said free returns was a “no regret” decision taken to optimise its customer proposition.