For many years, many big-name retailers have been keeping track of customer returns without the customer’s acknowledgment. Many retailers have done so for various reasons including fraud prevention. This type of return fraud has cost retailers up to $17 billion annually in the U.S. as various customers return self-damaged or vastly used products. Learn more about the reasoning behind this customer tracking and which other retailers have been keeping track of your returns!
Amazon is reportedly prohibiting access to the company’s site if they presume that a customer is returning too many items. Today, The Wall Street Journal released a document of customers complaining about Amazon failing to warn the customers ahead of time that they had returned too many items before the ban. Amazon began prohibiting people in late March and early April, but this new wave of customer bans came about after serious concerns of review fraud. Business Insider disclosed that some people in a private Facebook group who were banned from Amazon admitted to violating policies through online activities like leaving good reviews in exchange for rewards, such as free gift cards. Others also admitted to reviewing products that they had received for free which is a violation of Amazon’s policy.
Some of these retailers have been using third-party companies to secretly track how often shoppers return their purchases. The Retail Equation is one of the companies that create “return activity reports” that has customer data from several years back. The Retail Equation works to acknowledge the fraudulent customer activity and reports back to the retailer that they are working for to possibly punish the customer. In total, fraudulent activity costs retailers up to $17 billion annually in the U.S., according to The Retail Equation.
Moreover, Best Buy, Home Depot, Victoria’s Secret, and a few other big-name retailers have used The Retail Equation. Their main focus of tracking these returns is to enable retailers to offer more lenient return policies by targeting the relatively few shoppers who abuse return policies. Rather than having retailers imposing stricter return policies such as ‘no receipt, no return’ or 14-day limits on returns, the data feedback that they receive can help offer the other 99% of consumers more flexible return policies. This customer return trend has been occurring for many years but the retail industry is fighting back to end this policy violation which is costing them a lot of money.