Excessive returners are being banned by some retailers from returns for 90 days to a year. In some cases, a few online retailers are banning these problem customers from shopping at all.
I know two people who have gotten banned. One, who got banned at Target, was admittedly a somewhat frequent returner. But the ban for one year came after she returned 60 items at once. The high number was due to the theme of a birthday party for 20 kids — with three gifts per goodie bag — being changed. Target doesn't say anything about potential bans in its return policy.
The other individual was banned from Saks for returning more merchandise than she bought. She worked at a fashion house and would "borrow" items for design ideas. The ban likewise lasted one year.
In its return policy, Saks warns: "To ensure a positive shopping experience for all our customers, if we identify through electronic analysis an unreasonable return pattern, we may restrict or refuse future transactions from such customers at Saks Fifth Avenue or at saks.com."
Across the internet, Best Buy is particularly known for frequently banning customers for 90 days due to excessive returns. Best Buy warns in its return policy: "Based on return/exchange patterns, some customers will be warned that subsequent returns and exchanges will not be eligible for returns or exchanges for 90 days."
On a forum on blu-ray.com, one man claimed he was banned from returns from 90 days by Best Buy in January 2013 after returning three Samsung TVs that all had dead pixels and/or vertical banding on arrival. After not returning any items for a year, he claimed to have been banned again in January 2014 for returning a single unopened Blu-ray.
Lowe's, Home Depot, Victoria's Secret, and eBay are also among those who reportedly ban customers from returns after reaching certain limit.
Amazon reportedly maintains a much stricter policy. Many reports indicate Amazon bans people from shopping at all on amazon.com for excessive returns.
A letter on an Amazon buyers forum purportedly from Amazon Executive Customer Relations in answer to a complaint about being banned stated, "A careful review of this account and related ones shows you've requested refunds and replacements on a majority of your orders for a variety of reasons. In the normal course of business, we expect there may be occasional problems. However, the rate at which such problems have occurred on your account is extraordinary, and it cannot continue. Your Amazon.com account has been closed, and you will no longer be able to shop in our store."
HSN and QVC likewise have lifetime ban for excessive returns, according to reports.
Many retailers have been tracking customer returns for years - often through third-party parties - to detect fraud as well as chronic returners.
What level of ban should be imposed on chronic returners?