The Necessity of Returns vs. the Headache of Wardrobing

Step into any post office after work and there you see them. Queues of people with packages under their arms, ready to return what does not perfectly suit their needs. This is an unavoidable necessity when selling e-commerce, since your customers do not have the same access to the merchandise that they do in physical stores. 

Giving people the option to safely and cheaply return what they have purchased is an integral part of consumer protection. However, not all items are returned unused. 

When we received returns in our clothing store, some of the items had unmistakably been used, but it was impossible to prove.

Aliana Pedersen, CEO and CO-founder of Zafari Label

Wardrobers deliberately buy clothes they know they cannot keep, wear it on a night out, or to their best friends wedding or to hashtag their Instagram with all the most fashionable brands. After the event, they carefully wrap up the items and return them for a full refund.

In America 8,8% of all returns that were made in 2019 were fraudulent*, and that is a huge drain on the companies and their economy. There is currently no data on the extent of the problem in a danish context, but using the American report as a guidepost, it goes without saying that retailers here are strongly affected as well.

Walking the tightrope of protecting the consumers who legitimately need to return items, while combating wardrobers is a constant balancing act that companies have tried to solve in multiple ways, but as of now the problem still remains and is only getting worse.