People who persistently return goods may soon find themselves being
scrutinised for return fraud. There are many variations on the return goods
scam. Many of us just return an unworn, bought in a hurry item, because we do not think it quite matches existing items. Other valid reasons for return are, the garment is a poorer fit than
first thought, or our husband hates us in green or whatever colour it is.
But others are
basically criminal in their activity of returning used goods without
paying a hiring fee. They have basically rented the item fee free.
A different category of fraud is returning reduced or stolen items for full price cash or voucher refunds. There are many more variations on this theme, but one thing is sure and that is the retailer is the loser.
Moreover, some of this fraud is
from organised dealers in return slips and stolen goods. Honest customers
also lose as stores add a percentage to goods in a cycle of attempting to
recoup lost profits.
Sophisticated returners include those who buy on one day, then wear the item the next day with labels tucked in their garment and then return it the following
week. These sophisticated returners have the nerve to repeat the procedure weekly.
Others are part of organised crime
gangs, whereby stolen goods are matched with fake receipts to obtain voucher
refunds, which can then be sold online. Armed with the voucher refunds, these fraudsters use the inflated
voucher value in the store. Some use stolen cheques and then seek a refund
before the cheque is cleared. To this, add employee fraud where employees collude with customers and the problem escalates.
This problem should worry
you because; a) we all on occasion really do want to return goods because we changed our mind b) because this return fraud is theft and adds to the
cost of garments we purchase and keep.
Return abuse drains the profits of retailers and retailers are taking
In 2005 Marks and Spencer began a maximum 90 day return time on all
their goods. Some of their stock labels also now state intelligent
stock control and whilst this is probably for their own stock allocation purposes, it is
clear efforts are being made to comprehend the location where stock goes out
from and the different location it arrives back.
Many shops will only now accept goods back within 28 days. Some
small businesses are now advising customers at the point of sale that they
like customers to be satisfied with what they buy when they buy, as they
don't do returns. Of course the latter do lose business because of this, but
they don't get defrauded returning cash for goods never honestly purchased.
The majority of people like to think of themselves as ethical and honest and
most people are good people. New computer technology has begun to track
consumer behaviour so that blatant returners are spotted before too much
abuse is achieved. You have been warned.
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