Canadian Retailers Say Goodbye to Free Returns Due to Environmental Reasons – Here’s What You Need to Know

Canada is no stranger to the issue of free returns. E-commerce has caused a shift in customer expectation, and now more shoppers than ever are expecting free returns when they shop online. This puts tremendous financial strain on retailers.

While it’s important for retailers to offer customer satisfaction, it’s necessary for them to balance this with their own needs in order to stay afloat financially and not using NorthnLoans as additional financial source.

With the rising demand of online orders, providing free returns isn’t always feasible or realistic from a financial standpoint.

Especially when as the world slowly becomes more eco-friendly, some Canadian retailers are following suit by cutting down on their free returns policy. Though this may be frustrating for shoppers, it’s important to understand why these changes are being made and how they could affect you in the future. Read on to learn more about this developing story.

Why Are Canadian Retailers Saying Goodbye to Free Returns?

Canadian retailers are saying goodbye to free returns as a way to protect their businesses and the environment. The environmental impact, cost of free returns, and impact on customer behavior have all prompted retailers to re-examine their policies and move towards more sustainable business practices. By doing so, they are looking to establish cost-effective policies that are beneficial both to their business and the environment.

Environmental impact of free returns

Canadian retailers are recognizing the serious environmental impact of offering unlimited, free return policies. The transportation sector accounts for roughly 26% of Canada’s total GHG emissions, most of which stem from deliveries to customers.

It is estimated that clothing returns alone make up 5% of all truck deliveries in the US, contributing to congestion and emissions. By limiting their free return policies, retailers are hoping to reduce their contribution to global emissions.

Cost of free returns to retailers

Canadian retailers also recognize the cost of offering free returns. Not only do they have to bear the cost of returning items, but they also lose out on potential sales when customers take advantage of free returns to “test out” items. In addition, free return policies can lead to an increase in fraud as customers take advantage of the leniency and return items they did not purchase.

Impact of free returns on customer behavior

The potential for abuse that comes with free return policies can also lead to customers taking advantage of the system. The lack of purchase commitment may cause customers to order more items than they need, increasing returns.

This can lead to customers developing a “try before you buy” mentality, which retailers are now looking to avoid. As a result, Canadian retailers are left with little choice but to limit their free return policies.

The new return policy changes at major Canadian retailers have a significant impact on consumer shopping habits. Consumers are now faced with longer wait times for their returns to be processed and refunds to be issued due to the extra health and safety measures in place within stores. Additionally, there are higher costs associated with online shopping as some retailers may require customers to pay return shipping and restocking fees.

What Does This Policy Mean for Consumers?

The increased costs associated with online shopping may be difficult for some consumers to absorb, especially those who are already facing financial uncertainty due to the pandemic. However, there are strategies that consumers can take in order to adapt to the new return policy changes. For example, many retailers have extended their return policies, providing customers with additional time to make decisions or return unwanted items.

Consumers can also be more careful when making online purchases, reading the details of product descriptions and reviews before buying in order to ensure they are satisfied with their purchase. Lastly, consumers should look out for any discounts or promotions that retailers may offer in order to minimize costs associated with returns.

Overall, the new return policy changes at major Canadian retailers have had a significant impact on consumers. However, with careful research and strategies, consumers can adapt to these changes while still enjoying an enjoyable shopping experience.

Alternatives to Free Returns

There are many alternatives to free returns that businesses can offer customers. From exchanges and partial refunds to renting or borrowing services and shopping in-store, there are a number of options that can help minimize costs while still ensuring customer satisfaction.

With these alternatives, businesses can provide an easier and more cost-effective way for customers to get what they need without having to worry about return shipping fees.


One way to make sure customers get the right size or style is to offer exchanges for returned items instead of full refunds. This gives customers an easy way to get what they want without having to pay for return shipping and encourages them to stick with the same store. Additionally, businesses may be able to keep their costs down by not having to process refunds as often.

Partial Refunds

Another alternative to free returns is offering partial refunds for returned items. This gives customers the option of getting some money back without having to go through the hassle of shipping a return item or waiting for a full refund. This can help reduce costs for the business while still giving customers some satisfaction.

Renting or Borrowing Services

In addition to exchanges and partial refunds, businesses can offer renting or borrowing services as an alternative to free returns. These services allow customers to try out items before purchasing them without paying for the full return cost. This way, customers can ensure they get exactly what they want before investing in a purchase.

Shopping at Brick-and-Mortar Stores

Finally, an alternative to free returns is shopping at brick-and-mortar stores instead of online retailers. Customers can try on items in-store and get advice from store associates about which sizes or styles will work best for them. By shopping in person, customers can be sure that their purchases are the right fit without having to worry about return shipping costs.


Сanadian retailers are taking a stand and doing their part to help protect the environment by no longer offering free returns. The change may be hard to accept, but it is ultimately necessary if we want to reduce our ecological footprint.

Consumers should consider their purchasing decisions more carefully, as well as think twice before returning items to retailers. This is just one way we can all do our part in protecting the environment while still enjoying the convenience of online shopping. By making this change, retailers are helping to create a more sustainable future for all.

- Advertisment -