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Experiences with return policies on luxury goods?

What type of policy works best for this market.



8:06 pm on Jul 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

We're getting ready to launch a new online store for designer widgets and are trying to figure out the return policy we should have.

The items are the kind that people locally have been known to buy, wear one night, then return (in our limited retail experience). Our concern is that happening online since the price ranges are typically $400-1500 per item.

We can 1. offer a 30-day money back guaranteee 2. accept no returns or 3. have a restocking fee.

What experience have you had online with luxury items being returned? Does the money back guarantee inspire enough confidence for more sales and is that more than enough to offset possible return costs?


1:37 pm on Jul 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

>>have a restocking fee.

I vote for restocking fee. It will stop dishonest people from "renting" your products. It will give you the option to waive the restocking fee if the person sounds legit and made an honest mistake.


6:05 pm on Jul 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I think you need to evaluate what your niche is in your market. If the focus of your site is convenience or customer service I think a no-hassle return policy is expected. If your product is something that is sought out on the internet and your niche is selling it at the lowest price, I think a restocking fee / exchange only policy actually conveys to the customer that you operate on extremely thin margin - and this is good.

I don't think that many people would actually go through the hassle of sending the item back just because they were cheap. But the ones you do get back, would it be feasible to setup an eBay store just to sell your returns? And would you be able to recoup your costs?



7:24 pm on Jul 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member topr8 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

you have to build up a blacklist of people not to send goods out to.

you can't charge a restocking fee if the item was delivered damaged and is being returned ... read between the lines ... the kind of person who is going to wear it and send it back is the kind of person who knows this.


9:07 pm on Jul 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Looks like you are selling jewelry or clothing, thus the best solution - have a tag on your item that cannot be removed without cutting or breaking it, thus the person cannot wear it for 20 days and send it back saying they were not happy with the item. If they use it they will have to keep it. If they are not happy with the item they will return it unused well within your 30-day period.



1:04 am on Jul 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks for the input. You're right ishans, and that's a pretty good idea.

However, this being the luxury market, I'm not sure the customers will like a "boot" on their product.


2:45 am on Jul 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Don't take American Express for starters. Secondly, I would call my cc processor and get the fine details regarding their "disputed purchases". I would go overboard in the design of the site to explain the return policy and further, I would create some mechanism in the purchase sequence where the customer has to acknowledge and accept the return policy guidelines.

After that, you have to figure out how to configure the actual product so you will know if it has been worn/used.

But I would not launch until I had a good relationship with the cc rep and everything was spelled out.

Remember, as there are so many nice and lovely people out there, there are also predators looking to get over on nice and lovely merchants.


1:33 pm on Jul 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I know a lot of people who use their AMEX cards for purchases like these so I'm not sure if this would cause me to lose a few customers.


3:14 pm on Jul 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Glad to be fo some input . . a boot is not necessary, I have seen very subtle tags on jewelry, apparel, shoes and so on, just attached (or threaded through) in very noticable places so the customer cannot wear or use the item without physicaly cutting removing it.


5:57 pm on Jul 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Amex has a very harsh policy for merchants making internet sales. The customer can contest the purchase and Amex will negate the sale and you won't have the chance to argue against it. Do some more searching in this forum and elsewhere before allowing customers to use Amex. Call your processor and ask them directly about this.


11:30 pm on Jul 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The return policy would depend upon what is the norm for your niche, so it would probably be either x-days with or without a re-stocking fee. Being a startup you may want to waive the latter.

It would be a mistake not to take Amex, if you send everything direct signature required, chargebacks shouldn't be a problem.


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