No Take Backs: 5 Sites with Terrible Shipping Policies

Posted Tuesday March 18, 2014 8:03 AM GMT

Truth be told: No one likes paying for shipping, and we definitely don’t like fronting the cost of returns.

Retailers like Gap, Banana Republic, Piperlime, and Athleta have already stepped up to the plate, offering online shoppers free shipping and returns with no minimum order, but not everyone is providing such incentives. An extra $10 here and there might sound petty, but take it from true shopaholics — it adds up.

We went on a hunt to find websites featuring the most unfriendly shipping and return policies so you can think twice prior to buying. But before we start, let’s take a second to thank the fashion gods that free shipping has become so common that even those who lag behind aren’t entirely terrible.

VictoriasSecret.com: At Victoria’s Secret, shipping and handling charges are determined by the merchandise dollar amount of your order before any deductions. For an order under $25, the standard fee is $5.99. Do some damage and spend over $100, and your shipping cost will set you back somewhere between $15.99 and over $19.99. Furthermore, the shipping and handling fees are not refundable and if you use the pre-paid label included in the order, $5.99 will be deducted from your account. (Insider’s trick: you can return or exchange purchases for free in-store.) For a site that exclusively sells so many items online, we think there’s room for improvement.

HM.com: We were a little shocked to hear that brick-and-motar brand H&M doesn’t offer free shipping, yet were relieved to discover they offer a flat-rate shipping fee of $5.95, regardless of the size and weight of your order. In reality, it beats some of the big-name retailers' offerings like Ann Taylor, where you have to spend at least $150 to qualify for their flat-rate shipping fees. For returns, H&M charges another flat-rate fee of $5.95, which will be deducted from the credit of the returned merchandise. What we don’t like about this policy is if you don’t like anything from you’re order, you’re set back $12. There goes your gourmet sandwich ...

bebe.com: Unlike most stores which offer free shipping once you hit a certain dollar amount, Bebe only offers a discount on the shipping costs. For all orders under $150, shipping will cost $4.95, and $5.95 for orders over $150. It's not bad, except that returns are also a hassle, as the company offers no pre-paid shipping label, meaning you have to head to the post office and pay whatever price they provide.

Anthropologie.com: We can’t help but be bothered by Anthropologie’s shipping and handling charges. Similar to Victoria’s Secret, the cost of shipping and handling increases as you buy more. For order values up to $49.99, shipping will set you back $6.95. For orders over $75, you’re paying $10.95 to $15.95. A $5.95 smart label is provided in the package making returns a breeze, but costly. On top of it, we’ve found it to be quite rare that Anthropologie offers promo codes for free shipping.

Express.com: Express accepts returns and exchanges made within 90 days of purchase, but the company doesn’t offer free shipping and charges $6.99 for exchanges using their prepaid label service. That cost will be deducted from your refund, unless you are returning shoes, which can be returned or exchanged for free. (Strange, we know.)

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