In March I bought clothes from the American clothing brand J Crew’s website, spending £260 on an order with free delivery. I returned four tops as I was disappointed with the quality of the fabric, and expected a £141 refund.
However, today I received an email saying I was charged $50 (£41) for the return, which is basically the cost of a top. This was not made clear to me at any time during checkout, otherwise I would not have made the purchase.
I understand the $50 is a flat fee, so you might be able to return an item and get nothing back. I guess J Crew don’t want return customers all over Europe?
When you raised this issue with J Crew, you were directed to eShopWorld (ESW), the Dublin-based company that handles online orders for the American brand, which closed its UK stores in 2020.
Details of charges for customers in different countries can be found on the J Crew website. You estimated that this cost was not specified during the ordering process. Luckily for you, when you challenged ESW, they offered to refund you and did.
Billing for returns is a gray area and more and more companies are doing it as a greater proportion of their sales are done online. Zara has just started charging online shoppers £1.95, although in-store returns are free. J Crew fees are much higher.
ESW said it cannot discuss individual cases and will contact you directly.
However, he said: ‘In accordance with EU and UK consumer regulations, consumers are advised before purchase that they will be required to pay the cost of returning the goods and a full list of costs is provided to consumers. Consumers are responsible for return shipping costs if goods are returned at any time in accordance with applicable consumer regulations. »
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