SERIAL RETURNERS IN RETAIL

Many retailers experience the problems of chronic returners.  Best Buy is using an outside firm, Retail Equation, to track customer return practices and refuse refunds if there appear to be chronic and fraudulent practices.  Retail merchants lose billions of dollars a year from returned merchandise – they estimate that 11% percent of their sales are returned and 11% of those are fraudulent returns.  Retail Equation computes customers’ returner scores based on an algorithm that identifies several trigger points, including returning too many items within a short period of time, returning high-theft items such as digital cameras, etc.  The company is authorized to issue approvals, denials, or warnings depending on the “returner score”.  Customers accustomed to a more lax returner policy of pervious times have recently been surprised to receive denials and/or warnings when returning “ordinary” items.

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