BXG Blog

How to Lose an Online Customer

I recently tried to buy my wife a maternity swimsuit from Motherhood Maternity. My first inkling that this wasn’t going to be an ideal experience was when there was a $6 shipping charge on a $30 swimsuit. I’m used to getting free shipping on almost everything from places like Amazon, Zappos or Newegg (granted, I do pay something for Prime, but that works out to less than $2 per order with the amount of online shopping I do). Even retailers with physical stores commonly offer free shipping on orders over $25 (Target) or $35 (Best Buy). Still, $6 isn’t outrageous and plenty of places do have minimum orders above $30, so I went ahead and ordered.

The suit arrived a few days later. Unfortunately, it didn’t fit, and that’s where the disappointing part started. In order to return the suit, not only did I have to pay the return shipping, but Motherhood deducted the original shipping from my refund. So that’s $13 to try out a suit that didn’t end up fitting. If I had tried again with another size that also didn’t fit, that might be $26 for no swimsuit. I suppose I could have ordered multiple sizes and sent back everything that didn’t fit, but then I’m guaranteed to pay $13 in shipping even for a success. Suddenly, this $30 suit isn’t looking like a good deal compared to the $40-$50 suits on other sites.

It’s common for clothes in general to not fit, and that goes double for maternity clothes. This isn’t an electronics part where the only typical reason to return is because it’s broken. I can’t believe that a company claiming to be serious about selling clothes online in 2016 charges shipping both ways. I realize that free shipping is actually paid for in higher prices or cost cutting somewhere else, but having to pay for a return on top of the disappointment of clothes that didn’t fit just feels like an extra poke in the eye. Come on, Motherhood: Just add a little bit to all your items and eat the return shipping costs. At least don’t subtract the initial shipping from my refund; that’s just adding insult to injury.

I guess you could say this is my fault for not reading the return policy before ordering. Still, after getting used to shopping with companies that “get” online sales, this wasn’t a fun experience. I won’t be buying anything else from Motherhood.