Amazon labels its ‘frequently returned’ items

We’ve probably all made an online purchase only to receive something unexpected — like these people who accidentally bought doll-sized furniture off Amazon.

Luckily, Amazon makes most returns free and relatively easy for new, unused items within 30 days of delivery. Except they’re annoying for:

  • Customers who really don’t need an extra errand
  • Sellers, who must pay a fee for items that can’t be resold
  • Amazon, which has to process — and pay for — all those returns

It’s also not great for a low carbon footprint, considering the extra transit involved, plus whatever ends up in the landfill.

Buyer beware

To curb returns, Amazon recently added warning labels on “frequently returned” items, suggesting customers read product details and reviews first, per The Information. For example:

  • This ~$31 wrap dress has 50%+ positive reviews, but others mention poor-quality fabric and stitching and a slit too high for anyone who isn’t Angelina Jolie at the 2012 Oscars.

Reading measurements carefully when you can’t try something on is probably a good idea; a 2021 Statista survey found that apparel is by far the most returned retail category.

Another problem?

Amazon is flooded with bogus reviews, enough that Amazon sued the admins of 10k+ Facebook groups for allegedly soliciting them, and filed a claim against several fake review companies in February.

By encouraging buyers to read reviews carefully, versus trusting the star rating, it could nip some returns in the bud — and encourage sellers to be more transparent.

BTW: The Hustle’s own Zachary Crockett once spent two weird weeks investigating the fake review economy.

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