5 Ways Returns Could Be Hurting You (And Costing You Money!)

You have probably seen the term "easy returns" on the websites of many online furniture retailers. Returns tend not to be "easy." This is true for both the retailer and you, the consumer, and will more than likely just cost you more money - especially if you don't read the fine print.


1. All companies that sell "nice" furniture charge a restocking fee.

Sometimes there is a flat restocking fee, and sometimes the restocking fee is a certain percentage of your purchase. Either way, this fee is taking out a large chunk of your money. Restocking fees differ by industry. For decent furniture, there is always a restocking fee. These fees may vary depending on if you cancel your purchase before delivery, or return your item after you receive it.


2. Even when you see "free shipping," you are still paying shipping fees for furniture.

Think about it. Most nice furniture is big, heavy and fragile. A bedroom set averages to about 1,000 pounds. To pick that up in North Carolina, deliver it to California, and then set it up in someone's home is expensive - even for the most inexpensive In-Home Delivery with Assembly. Good furniture delivery averages to about 30% of the sale price. For example, the retailer has to pay the shipping company $300 if the sale is for $1,000. That's a big portion, so e-commerce furniture retailers have to account for it somewhere. There is rarely enough margin to absorb it completely. So you either pay it in the price, or with a shipping addition.

If the furniture can be sent through UPS, it is usually less expensive and you may have to put it together yourself. There is nothing wrong with that, but it just means you're not likely getting luxury, high-end furniture. Furniture shipping and delivery fees are usually non-refundable. Some companies require you to pay for your own shipping through their preferred method - meaning if they shipped your item through UPS, you might have to ship the item back via UPS with money out of your own pocket. If the furniture is delivered via In-Home Delivery with Assembly, it is usually picked back up by a In-Home Delivery with Assembly company which costs the e-commerce company another 30%. The only way a company can absorb that additional cost is if it charges a higher price. So in the case where you want to cancel after delivery, you will probably have to pay a return delivery fee.


3. Your furniture is not packaged in its original box.

Many furniture companies will only accept returns if you put the item back in its original packaging. However, in a typical In-Home Delivery with Assembly, all of the boxes are thrown out right after you receive your furniture, or disposed of before delivery. You need to make sure you understand any return restrictions on your particular items, and the policy to handle damage at delivery. Some companies also require you to include additional documents when you send your item back for return, such as a reason for the return or a return number that has been issued to you.


4. You missed the time frame.

Don’t assume that just because one furniture company has a 30-day return policy, another furniture company’s policy will be the same. When ordering from a company for the first time, read the fine print and check exactly how long you have to return your item. The amount of time you have to make a return widely varies with every company, and some will require you to return your furniture in as little as two days.


5. Your item can't be returned.

There are some companies that do not allow any returns, unless the item purchased is defective or was damaged before or during the delivery process. In most cases, it is common for any of the following items to not be accepted for return at all (remember that this varies based on the manufacturer):

  • Clearance or final sale items
  • Custom orders
  • Bedding products (mattresses, box springs, pillows, comforters)
  • Outdoor furniture

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Editorial Assistance by Home Gallery Stores Staff