A Belgian organisation for independent entrepreneurs calls for a Europe-wide ban on free returns. Unizo says the ban will be beneficial to both the climate and small webshops: the latter feel forced to follow global e-commerce giants who can offer free returns more easily due to scale benefits.
Manager Danny Van Assche lashes out in a press release: "Being able to order items impulsively and without restraint, knowing you can later return them all - and for free... Even those who do it, realise deep down that something is not right. And moreover: it is not only contrary to all the healthy principles of sustainability, but it is also simply decadent. Nothing really is for free."
According to Unizo, both the environment and the local economy suffer greatly from the free return policies, but the damage remains hidden from the customers' view. "People are ordering ever more online, as they know they can always change their mind afterwards. A ban on free returns will make sure consumers order less impulsively, and that they will return fewer items to the webshops.
"Such a ban would also mean that local e-tailers can start charging a correct price for possible returns", Van Assche states. "Also, they will have lower costs as they will receive fewer returns." His organisation Unizo therefore urges European, and national, policy makers to start writing a ban on free returns into law.