The Chronic Consumer

I buy things — all the time!

Overstock.com Eliminates Restocking Fee

As an online shopper, one of the first things I look at before making a purchase from a particular website is their return policy. I find that I return more things that I buy from online merchants than bricks and mortar stores because there’s more of a chance for sizing or damage issues to come up. If an online store has a strict return policy, I usually don’t buy from there. If the policy is more liberal, like with Gap.com, which allows customers to return items purchased online to physical stores, I’m much more likely to buy.

This was one of the reasons I never spent as much time (or money) at Overstock.com as I would have liked to. Even though Overstock has some of the lowest prices around, their return policy always left me a bit wary. First of all, you weren’t even allowed to return anything until after getting an RMA number. The only way to get that was to write in, explain your problem, and hope that the customer service department felt your pain.

Then, if you did get an RMA number, you’d have to ship the item back at your own expense. Plus, Overstock would assess a $4.95 “restocking” fee on all returns (or 15% on Electronics and Computer products). Yikes! That means you’d automatically lose out on between $4.95 and $10 (depending on shipping costs) for each return.

So say you bought a $20 sweater from Overstock.com, but when it arrived you found that it was too small. Do you keep this sweater that you’ll never wear and accept the $20 loss, or do you go through the hassle of returning the sweater for, say, a $12 refund once shipping and restocking is accounted for? Not a fun decision.

Don’t get me wrong: I still love Overstock.com deals and have made numerous purchases from them in the past. But I tend to limit my purchases to things that I have researched in bricks and mortar stores so I know exactly which size or model to get. That way, there’s less of a chance of getting burned by the return policy.

But now this shouldn’t be a problem anymore because I received an email earlier in the week announcing that Overstock.com has decided to eliminate their restocking fee. That means you’ll receive a full refund (fine print: on most merchandise) if you return it within 30 days. If you take longer than 30 days, you’ll receive an 80% refund.

Sounds good to me, so it looks like I’ll be ordering from Overstock.com a LOT more in the coming months, especially during the holiday season!