Guide to Approach Return Abuse Effectively

Last Updated: February 2024

Do you know return abuse costs US retailers $24 billion every year? With so much loss merchants usually fear providing customer-friendly return service which ultimately reduces their customer experience. 

However, if you are looking for different ways by which you can approach and reduce return abuse in your store, you are at the right place. Here, we will be guiding you on how to deal with return abuse and reduce return loss in your store. 

So, let’s dive in and have a look at the content of the article:

Indicators that you Should Check in Customers’ Return History

While you accept the order of your customer, here are some of the points that you should keep in mind:

  • Compare return with the exchange: If the customer has more returns than the product exchange then it’s a red flag as their motive might be to rent the product for free. 
  • Free shipping abuse: Customers usually buy extra items to avail of free shipping and once both items get delivered they return the unwanted ones. Thus you should check the order quantity and return quantity as well.  

You can have a look at all these stats by integrating an analytic tool to ensure that return abuse reduces in your store. Although this does not totally reduce the chances of abuse, you should have a strong company policy to ensure more security for your business. 

Different Types of E-commerce Return Abuse

There are a lot of ways by which a user can commit return fraud on your store. Let’s look at some of the most common frauds:

  • Wradrobing: This term refers to renting a product for free. Users usually buy them for a function and return them as soon as it gets over, which is a common practice in the fashion industry. 
  • Swapping merchandise: When your customer returns a duplicate product or exchanges a new product with a broken one it is called changing merchandise fraud. 
  • Friendly fraud: This abuse occurs when a customer receives their ordered product but still requests a refund saying that the product hasn’t been delivered. 
  • Deliberate abuse: When customers order from multiple accounts, purchase various products and then return empty packages to you. 

Ways to Approach Return Abuse

There are several traditional methods by which you can address abuse through company policies. Some of the methods that you can equip are: 

  • Return window: You can add restrictions on returns by reducing the product return days. Though you should keep in mind that 68% of the customers prefer a 30-days return policy and you should not hamper your regular customers to reduce the abuse. 
  • Block/Blacklist customers: This technique allows you to have a wider return window with fewer chances of return abuse. All you have to do is blacklist potential fraud users or users that have committed fraud on your store previously. 
  • Take shipping precautions: When you are shipping the product ensure that you take every step necessary to reduce the chances of return. You can send OTPs to your customers that they need to share with the delivery agent at the time of delivery. Other than that you can ask your agents to click the picture of the product to ensure that it was delivered safely without any damage. 

  • Original packing return only: Asking customers to return the product with the same label, price tag, and packing will ensure that there are no wardrobes or swappers. 
  • Implement a quality check process at the doorstep of the customers: You can ask your return agent to conduct a quality check in front of the customer which ensures that they have not swapped the product. They can click a picture of the item and store it in your database for future reference. 

Tailor Policies According to Customers

There are different types of abusers, some are the ones that frequently hamper your policies whereas some do it very rarely. Thus, you can categorize them into different tiers and enforce your policies on them by following these steps:

  • Notify them through an email/SMS: Send a warning email to the customer if they frequently return products or their reasons seems a red flag to you. In this way, they will get to know that they are being tracked and might stop committing such crimes.
  • Restrict customer accounts: You can restrict customer accounts from getting additional benefits such as free shipping, festive discounts, coupon discounts, and many more. 

Meet Helplama Helpdesk, The Best Software to Protect Against Return Abuse

  • Return Management: Helplama Helpdesk’s bot tracks every user profile on your store and indicates to you when there is a potential fraudster making a purchase. You can then either block them or warn them about the no-return policy for them. It also helps you track the product and initiate a refund as per your choice. 
  • Order Management: Helplama provides 24X7 order management, which ensures that no order is delayed and your customer gets notified about the delivery status. 

  • Customer Support: The AI chatbot can automate your customer support by handling your customers in real-time. It solves customer queries using canned responses or knowledge base articles.
  •  Upsell/Cross-sell: The bot can assist you in gaining more sales by recommending products to your users. It collects insights like customer behavior and then recommends them as per their preference. 



In the end, we hope that through this guide you will be able to create a more secure return environment for your store. 

Here, we have curated some of the steps that you can take to ensure that there is no more return abuse on your store. 

However, if you are looking for software that provides return management then you should try Helplama Helpdesk. Its AI chatbot provides you with user insights and allows you to blacklist them from your store. Apart from that it even allows you to track your refund status and provide a refund as per your preference. 

So, what are you waiting for?

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