Upset PLT Customers Banned Over Too Many Returns

PrettyLittleThing (PLT), a well-known fast-fashion brand, is facing significant backlash after deactivating customer accounts for frequent returns. This move, which came to light through emails sent to affected shoppers, has sparked criticism and confusion among loyal customers.

Customers have taken to social media to express their dissatisfaction, with some claiming they had only made one return this year. Many have suggested that inconsistent sizing and poor quality of clothing contribute to the high return rates. PLT has not yet responded to requests for comment.

The online retailer, part of the Boohoo Group, previously came under fire for scrapping its free returns policy. Now, this new policy of account deactivation has further fueled customer outrage. One customer labeled the move a “joke” and highlighted that the lack of physical stores naturally leads to higher return rates. Another pointed out that their account was deactivated despite not having returned anything for three months.

On platforms like TikTok, videos of shoppers questioning the suspension of their accounts have garnered hundreds of likes. The criteria for deactivating accounts remain unclear.

Becca Unsworth, a 24-year-old pensions administrator from Preston, shared her frustration with the BBC. A loyal PLT customer for seven years, she was shocked to find her account suspended. She recounted often ordering multiple sizes due to the brand’s inconsistent sizing and returning items that were faulty. Despite paying a £9.99 fee for PLT’s “Royalty” scheme, she was informed that no refund would be provided following her account deactivation.

Sophie Smith, a 26-year-old customer from Norwich, also received the deactivation email and initially thought it was a joke. She, too, has been a “Royalty” scheme member and relies on PLT for various outfits. With only one return this year, she felt the company’s actions showed a lack of customer appreciation.

PLT’s email to customers apologized for any inconvenience and mentioned that returns could still be made via its online portal.

PLT, founded by Mahmud Kamani and Carol Kane in 2006, and co-founded by Umar Kamani, has faced challenges including the normalization of return rates post-pandemic, rising competition from ultra-fast fashion brands like Shein, and the cost-of-living crisis. The decision to introduce a £1.99 fee for returns, including for “Royalty” members, has also been met with customer frustration.

The trend of charging for returns is growing among retailers. Competitors like Zara, Uniqlo, and Next already impose such fees, and OhPolly recently introduced a return fee policy based on the amount of an order returned. Analysts indicate that these measures are driven by retailers’ own cost pressures and the environmental impact of returns.

As PLT navigates these challenges, the company must address the growing customer dissatisfaction to maintain its market position.

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