With German customers currently returning up to 75% of the items they buy online, stores are resorting to new measures to cut costs. Two major online retailers have now said they will start charging customers for returns, and a major association said it expects others to follow.

Uniqlo and Zara charge for returns: any other retailers to watch?

The Federal Association of E-Commerce and Mail Order (BEVH) said it assumed free returns for clothes purchased over the internet would soon be a thing of the past. “We expect the end of free returns that have been allowed until now and which customers also expect,” a spokesperson said. Suddeutsche Zeitung.

Last year, Japanese clothing retailer Uniqlo introduced a return fee of €2.95 per package for online returns. It was followed a few days ago by Zara, the best-known fashion brand of the Spanish group Inditex, which now charges 1.95 euros per return.

Up to 75% of online purchases are returned to Germany

However, other major retailers in Germany, like Amazon, Zalando, and Otto, said they were not planning to introduce a return fee anytime soon. “At a time when they are further burdened by rising prices for energy and other goods, we certainly will not be asking our customers to pay extra for returns,” a spokesperson for the group said. Otto in response to a request from the AFP.

According to Cologne’s EHI business research institute, Germany is Europe’s “returns champion,"  with up to 75% of all parcels purchased online ultimately being sent back to the retailer. For clothing purchases, at least 50% of packages are returned. The problem has long been in the limelight as a major source of waste, as returned items are often destroyed rather than resold.

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