The Sneaky Genius Of America’s Lenient Return Policies

by MR Magazine Staff

As any American who loves face masks and lip plumper can attest, Sephora has a notoriously lenient return policy. They take back products–opened, used, even expired–no questions asked. But the company does this only in the United States. In Sephora stores in Singapore, France, and the United Arab Emirates, customers have just 14 days to return their purchases. Canada is a little more lenient with a 30-day leeway. And in most of these countries, there are no returns whatsoever for an opened product—no exceptions. So why are the policies within the same brand so vastly different across countries? The answer has everything to do with the nature of American commerce. Today, American consumers are conditioned to expect some type of insurance or guarantee on their purchases. Many US-based brands, including REI, Zappos, Bed Bath & Beyond, Staples, Nordstrom, and Costco, boast proudly of their liberal attitudes toward returns. These perks are positioned as an extra reward for customers, a sign that retailers are willing to bend over backward to satisfy them. For example, Zappos promises, “If, for any reason, you are unsatisfied with your purchase from Zappos Retail, Inc. you may return it in its original condition within 365 days for a refund. We’ll even pay for return shipping!” Read more at Quartz.