Friday, July 1, 2011

Using those postage-paid return labels

Online shopping will sooner or later necessitate a return. I don't return things that often, so I don't play favorites to stores that offer free return shipping (though I guess I should). But I've always wondered what margin stores make on those postage-paid return labels. What is the cost of convenience?

Since I needed to go to the post office anyway to mail a friend's birthday present, I brought along my Nordstrom and Bergdorf Goodman returns and mailed them parcel post instead of using the return labels. Here are the results of my little experiment.

Cost of shipping via return label: $6.00
Cost of shipping via parcel post: $7.35 (NYC to Cedar Rapids, Iowa)
Savings: -$1.35

Bergdorf Goodman / Neiman Marcus
Cost of shipping via return label: $9.95
Cost of shipping via parcel post: $7.65 (NYC to Dallas, TX)
Savings: $2.30

Conclusion: Always use the shipping label if the fee is $7.50 or less, but honestly, if I had no reason to go to the post office, would I mind spending an extra $2.35 to avoid walking in the heat and waiting in line next to weird people complaining about Glenn Beck? Probably not.

Happy Holidays!!! I wish everyone a fabulous 4th of July filled with sales, sun, and fireworks!


  1. Sophia7/02/2011

    this would be true for heavier items, but if, for example, you got a swimsuit and it didn't fit. i wouldn't use their label b/c the weight wouldn't be enough to justify the cost. also, if you have a paypal account you can print USPS labels which are already at a discount and include tracking. =) you can ship that swimsuit for about 3.00 instead of paying the 9.95.

  2. Sophia, you are right, I should add a caveat that the mailing labels should be used when your return requires a box. If it's small enough to slip into a large envelope or the mini Priority Mail box, that would save you $3.00+! But it also brought me to reality that Priority Mail postage is not what it used to be! :(


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