Shopping Discussion

Returns costing Canadians more than shop-lifting

  • Last Updated:
  • Feb 17th, 2018 1:41 pm
[OP]
Newbie
Feb 2, 2018
2 posts
8 upvotes

Returns costing Canadians more than shop-lifting

According to Canadian Tire exec, huge numbers of returns (where merchandise isn't immediately available for resale) cost the public more than shop-lifting. The
things involved, repackaging, restocking, sales as "open box" or used, all add to the loss when an item is resold. So be intelligent, buy what you know, and without
buyer remorse, because you are costing us all money.
57 replies
Jr. Member
Mar 18, 2003
184 posts
75 upvotes
Canadian tire have themselves to blame. If their products had more information included, they would minimize this problem. Notice how their product listing online only indicate their store codes and not the actual manufacture model number. How can one get more detailed information. They expect you to come into their stores and even that does not solve the problem. Their management need to get up to date with people's current shopping habits. Last week they had a Danze bathroom sink faucet for about $50 down from $100. Listing indicated supply lines included. Nothing on the manufacturer website. I went to the store to inquire how long these supply lines and what type (copper/braided steel) but no info on box. Worker could not get information I needed and did not want to open box too. Said if box was opened then customers will not purchase. I could have bought it, opened it at the till and if it was not suitable just returned it right there. I just left for Lowe's and picked a Moen product where all the information I needed was available in the installation information online without having to open a box. Until they realize that they should ask their manufacturers to supply more product information they will not minimize the return problem.
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Dec 3, 2004
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Screw Canadian Tire. They can burn in hell along with The Brick.
Penalty Box
Feb 22, 2016
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jh7618 wrote: According to Canadian Tire exec, huge numbers of returns (where merchandise isn't immediately available for resale) cost the public more than shop-lifting. The
things involved, repackaging, restocking, sales as "open box" or used, all add to the loss when an item is resold. So be intelligent, buy what you know, and without
buyer remorse, because you are costing us all money.
Crappy Tire isn't losing money, they just aren't making as much money as they had been. Reading between the lines, the exec is saying "Because of the minimum wage hike, to cover the difference we're going to tighten up the returns requirement and decline a lot more of them. Buyer beware..."

We all saw this coming. Different businesses will find different ways to cover the wage hike... Most places will simply raise prices. Some Tim Hortons franchises are cutting benefits and paid breaks. Starbucks is closing stores (I've heard of 2 in the GTA that shut down at the end of January, I'm sure there were a lot more, after already closing down the entire Teavana chain last year). Metro is cutting hours by eliminating overnights (so a lot fewer 24 hour stores). McDonald's is adding a lot more automation (self-serve kiosks, mobile ordering) so they don't need as many cashiers. Sears decided to pull the plug on their operations (I know, there's more to it but the hike had to have played some part). And now we see what CT is doing.

Given the quality of the products CT sells (yeah, just a step up from Dollarama -- a big reason for those returns...) maybe they should just go on and ditch the returns desk (so there's some staff cut) and do "All sales final" like Dollarama.
Last edited by EastGTARedFlagger on Feb 4th, 2018 12:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
Member
Apr 14, 2006
410 posts
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You lucked out... The Moen is built much better than the Danze. The fact that have all the necessary info available shows you how they have their act together.
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Oct 1, 2011
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Retailers should do a much better job on tracking and limiting the $ (or #) of returns of items per individual on a yearly or lifetime basis.
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Jan 7, 2007
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Just put a 50% restocking fee for any returns. If product is not sellable, 150%! This should be enough to cover it and the "free" shipping.
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Apr 4, 2001
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sandikosh wrote: Just put a 50% restocking fee for any returns. If product is not sellable, 150%! This should be enough to cover it and the "free" shipping.
I think they'd be better off applying a restocking rate based on the customer. Some people return things very infrequently and I'm sure there are some people who have never returned anything unless it was defective.

If an online retailer has well-integrated systems then they should be able to readily profitable vs. unprofitable customers quite readily and apply a rate selectively.

This would only work online, where you can only return things though the account that you bought them from. However, you could begin to require that something related to your online account be required for any purchases/returns if you wanted to be eligible for restocking-free returns.

This type of thing should become more routine in all areas as more and more indenfitiable and relatable data is produced through our transactions.

Like so many things in life, taking care of the 10-20% causing trouble solves most of the problems. You're living the dream if you can systematically identify these people and weed them out because they are responsible for so many of the costs.
Last edited by mbg on Feb 4th, 2018 10:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
Deal Addict
Jul 31, 2015
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Not that I return a lot, but when I need to, I want the process to be painless. To the extent that I will purposely buying from retailers with good return policies (and usually better customer service in general).

Canadian tire has had poor customer service for a while (price match or returns), can’t really see how it could get any worse...

Restocking fees are also bad for customer aswell as the store. Yes it will lessen returns, but to those trying to return is kills the customer/store relationship. Many customers after paying a restocking fee will generally not shop at that store again because of the tainted experience. And depending on the volume of purchases these customers make it will translate into decreased overall sales. Is it worth the hit in sales to reduce losses through returns?

And then the argument that if ever retailer went no returns or expensive restocking fees, likely what would happen is a large reduction of impulse purchases. Which are a large part of the purchases people make nowadays. Sure some of the impulse purchases might be returned, but most are not. Poor or no return policies will aftect the volume of all the impulse purchases, which will be a reduction of consumer confidence and spend habits, basically people will be extremelt carful with what they buy.
Member
Dec 3, 2008
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Hamilton
I buy online frequently.. and have no problems returning , sizing is the biggest problem order medium fits lake a small etc.
kevv
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Jul 6, 2008
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I haven't been into Canadian Tire since 2010.. when they had those crazy hourly door busters near Christmas... bought a pot set for $199 and almost fought people over the "only have 10 in stock at each location"... LOL

Will they close stores?
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Oct 22, 2007
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jh7618 wrote: According to Canadian Tire exec, huge numbers of returns (where merchandise isn't immediately available for resale) cost the public more than shop-lifting. The
things involved, repackaging, restocking, sales as "open box" or used, all add to the loss when an item is resold. So be intelligent, buy what you know, and without
buyer remorse, because you are costing us all money.
Soooo where did you here this? It sounds like a little revisionist history from crappy tire to justify their miserly return policies at some locations.
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Feb 7, 2005
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EastGTARedFlagger wrote:

We all saw this coming. Different businesses will find different ways to cover the wage hike... Most places will simply raise prices. Some Tim Hortons franchises are cutting benefits and paid breaks. Starbucks is closing stores (I've heard of 2 in the GTA that shut down at the end of January, I'm sure there were a lot more, after already closing down the entire Teavana chain last year). Metro is cutting hours by eliminating overnights (so a lot fewer 24 hour stores). McDonald's is adding a lot more automation (self-serve kiosks, mobile ordering) so they don't need as many cashiers. Sears decided to pull the plug on their operations (I know, there's more to it but the hike had to have played some part). And now we see what CT is doing.


Wage hike is just an excuse to cut hours and automate . Most expensive part of most businesses is labor . The path was already there for automation . They just laying the blame on the hike . Many retailers have automatic check out before the hike . I have only used automatic check out once or twice . I prefer to wait a minute or two to use a cashier .
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Nov 16, 2004
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Shoplifting is pretty bad though, people don't truly know.
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sandikosh wrote: Just put a 50% restocking fee for any returns. If product is not sellable, 150%! This should be enough to cover it and the "free" shipping.
Sure, if the products are quality and there are knowledgeable staff. Now the return policy is a substitute for having quality control in the factory.
ericlewis91 wrote: I haven't been into Canadian Tire since 2010.. when they had those crazy hourly door busters near Christmas... bought a pot set for $199 and almost fought people over the "only have 10 in stock at each location"... LOL

Will they close stores?
I remember working one of those sales and it was supposed to be wild and crazy, they assigned tickets for the hourly items, we handed out 45 tickets for the "hottest" item and had 300 in stock. Face With Tears Of Joy🤦‍♂️ The place was empty by 9pm and I spent the rest of my shift walking around with a random woman who was redoing her bathroom and spent the time measuring random bathroom fixtures as she wrote down the dimensions and prices.
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Dec 3, 2009
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If I'm not mistaken they have returns, damages, and defects built into their vendor cost agreements. If it's still costing them and have more open boxes than forecasted, they need to go back and renegotiate with their vendors.

Almost gone are the days sales reps visit retailers and issue credits for damaged products.
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Deal Fanatic
Oct 26, 2008
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BC
^ Yes, returns have always been something that retailers have to manage and it does seem the rate of returns has risen in the present culture.

Part of it may be due to unsatisfactory product quality or misleading product description in which case suppliers should certainly accept that retailers need greater protection in their agreements.

But if consumers are becoming too accustomed to buying on a whim and then changing their mind it's a different problem and unfortunately will lead to more stringent return policies and/or higher prices.
Sr. Member
Feb 1, 2018
959 posts
1098 upvotes
Montréal
Three thoughts on this:

1. Return rates in Canada are minuscule compared to those in the US, simply because we don't have access to the free shipping / free returns deals that they do.

2. Retailers largely have themselves to blame here, as more and more items are offered online only and not in stores. Take clothes, for instance; women's "special sizes" (aka petites, plus sizes) have gone almost entirely online now. If you wear one of those sizes, you don't have the luxury of going to a store and getting to try things on in a dressing room. So you HAVE to buy, try on at home, and return what doesn't fit.

3. As more and more retailers close physical locations and move mostly or entirely online, this trend will continue. Ordering and returning will replace browsing and trying on. What retailers save in rent and operating costs for their physical stores will be partly offset by the added costs of return shipping and restocking, but that's just part of doing business.
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Dec 27, 2013
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peanutz wrote: Retailers should do a much better job on tracking and limiting the $ (or #) of returns of items per individual on a yearly or lifetime basis.
Interesting idea, though I would suggest it would be better to use percentage of total sales rather than just a set dollar amount for everyone. If I'm returning $10,000 of product a year and purchasing $1,000,000, I think they'd have no issue with that at all.

Costco makes a lot of money from my wife and I because we have confidence that we can return things that we don't like or don't work. We've actually paid more for identical products at Costco just because the customer service and return policy provides a value that we wouldn't get from other retailers. At the end of the day, it's up to individual companies to decide if the losses from returns are compensated by the increased sales as a result of superior customer service and confidence.
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So in other words more people buy and return products than steal them? Color me surprised, who would have thought.
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