Returning things is easier than you might think

By | April 26, 2021
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I don’t know about you, but for the last year or more since Covid raised its ugly head I’ve been doing a lot of my shopping online.  I can’t actually remember the last time I went to a shop to buy clothes, or shoes, or a book – but it was definitely pre-Covid.

It’s not that I mind particularly.  You’ve got so much choice when you buy things from online shops, and I can still pick out the brands I know I like and use independent sellers when I want to.  The trouble is that you can’t see the thing properly – you can’t touch the fabric to see how it feels, try on a shoe to check the fit or flick to the end of a book to see if it all ends happily (not that I’d ever do that).

And that tends to mean returns.  Thankfully, there are lots of ways to do it these days

So last week, I bought a pair of trainers for my youngest from an independent trader on Amazon.  They arrived, looked nice, but were just a bit too small.  A shame, but there you go – I ordered him a different pair and they’re absolutely fine.

But I now have one pair of trainers surplus to requirements.  I went onto the Amazon website to find out how to return them, and I had loads of options – Royal Mail or Hermes, drop-off at a Post Office or local shop, or have it collected from home.  There were different options based on whether or not I had a printer I could use to print a label.

I went for the simplest option for me – since I have a printer at home, and I walk past the Post Office every day.  I chose to print out a label to stick on the parcel and take it to the Post Office.  Here was the process:

  1. I went to the Amazon website, clicked on my name up at the top of the screen and then on “Orders” to see all the things I’d ordered recently.
  2. I clicked on the trainers in the list and then chose “Return or Replace Items”.
  3. I then needed to say why I was returning them, and choose my preferred return method.
  4. Depending on the method you pick, you might need to print something out or show a QR code on your smartphone screen in the shop or Post Office.  In my case, I chose to print a label.
  5. There’ll usually be a little return slip to put in the parcel itself, so make sure you include that in the box before you package it all up (I forgot this time and had to unpack it again!)
  6. Then I stuck my label to the box with plenty of tape so it couldn’t get ripped off in the post and took it down to the Post Office.

While we were in lockdown, so I wasn’t taking the boys up to school every day, I used a home collection service.  They work really well – again you need to print off a label, but instead of dropping the parcel off somewhere, you arrange a time and they’ll come and pick it up for you.  It’s really convenient.

Small companies will often have a simpler returns process, so rather than having a return slip to fill in and various return options, you just pop a note in with the package and send it back in the post.  But that doesn’t stop you using one of these collection services if you prefer.  You can have any parcel collected using the Royal Mail Parcel Collect service.  The instructions on the Royal Mail website are really clear and easy to follow.  You usually have to pay a small extra fee for collection (on top of the postage cost) but collection is free until the end of May.

All the best and happy shopping

Julie Wakeling

PS If you want to know more about shopping online, we wrote a book all about it – around this time last year, actually.  If you’re interested, you can read all about it here.

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