How QVC Says It’s Cutting Down On Returns

Belated Merry Christmas, folks! HSN is doing 24 hours of jewelry clearance today, which is tempting even for those of us who rang up our charge cards shopping for the holidays.

We were so busy it has taken us a few days to blog about a Wall Street Journal story earlier this week, one where QVC stuck its two cents in.

The Journal article, “Rampant Returns Plague E-Retailers,” described how online retailers are using their data on orders to try to cut down on returns. As many of us know from personal experience, one way that QVC and other home shopping networks try to reduce returns is by threatening to cut off shoppers who return too much merchandise, despite the channels’ 30-day-unconditional return policies.

QVC didn’t talk about that little fact in the story.

Instead, the No. 1 home shopping channel told The Journal that in some cases it is emailing customers after they get their products to explain how to put them together and use them. QVC’s return rate has been on the rise. The article said that QVC’s returns bumped up to 19.4 percent of gross product revenue last year from 18.9 percent in 2010.

The Journal said that QVC recently “began sending customers post-purchase emails with instructional videos on, say, how to put a vacuum cleaner together or the best ways to style a scarf.”

The story goes on to report that when the home shopping network noticed a high return rate for the $295 Nu-FACE Trinity face-toning device, it sent customers an email with a video on how to use the item.

Returns on QVC’s version of ShopHQ vendor Suzanne Somers’ FaceMaster plummeted 30 percent, eliminating returns of an estimated $55,000 worth of product, according to The Journal.

We still find that a more interesting story would have been on the “you-return-too-much-you-can’t-shop-anymore-with-us” strategy of home shopping nets.

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22 Responses to “How QVC Says It’s Cutting Down On Returns”

  1. Peggy Says:

    I’m sure there are some people who return things too many times, but QVC needs to admit that their quality has gone down significantly in recent years. Women bemoan that fact on their forums, and I’ve noticed several threads where someone asked if others have received “the letter,” where they are warned of their return rate and possible consequences. They don’t sound devious. I never have to worry about returns because they carry little of interest to me and then zero interest in ordering because of outrageous shipping charges on overpriced merchandise.

  2. Claire DeNaro Says:

    here we go again, with their ridiculous policy of threatening people who return too much. This is the law of averages. Most people do not do that. I don’t want to be penalized for something I don’t do. I understand they are in the business of profits, but this goes too far. Many times they sell thousands of one item and I sure the return percentage is minimal. That is the norm. If they keep that up, I will not shop with them and many others will not either. Do they really want to lose their good customers????

  3. ladyluke Says:

    Co-signing Claire & Peggy’s comments. I have read many reviews where customers have kept items they weren’t satisfied with & ate the loss but I don’t see a report in the WSJ on this little tidbit. What’s ridiculous is QVC is not alluding to reality(truth) which is cheaply “made in china” junk is not so good for their profit. Corporations have been given too much power by our Congress and they’re using it to outsource/downside, cut costs & rake in more profits but the quality is in the garbage. Informed, savvy customers will always refuse to keep crappy merchandise all the while losing money on the return S&H. Where is the consideration for our risk/loss in having to return a purchase? Instead of threatening to restrict customers buying privileges they’d do better to find ways of offering more quality merchandise and lower S&H costs. They seem to have it backwards consumers don’t need QVC, QVC needs the consumer to buy, buy, buy. There are too many competitors with most of the same or similar merchandise, offering lower prices and much lower or no S&H costs. There will always be some customers who are notorious with returns but the majority who return are genuinely unsatisfied with the quality and/or feel deceived. I have scaled back my QVC purchasing the last few years for obvious reasons and based on QVC reporting many other customers have done the same. QVC needs to read the product reviews and listen to customer complaints. Fix the issues and maybe their returns will decline.

  4. Ellie .D Says:

    I have just ordered a small table top Christmas tree from QVC. The lights on it only stay lit for an hour or so and out they go. I have put several sets of batteries in it but to no avail.

  5. AprilD Says:

    The increase in returns is their own fault. The quality of their products has decreased in proportion to the increase in their sales. I NEVER purchase a TSV. It is guaranteed to be of terrible quality just due to the sheer volume of production. If you look at product reviews I find it amazing that people buy into that quality control crap. You notice they hardly mention their famous quality control on air any more. They also continue selling products their customers tell them are garbage. Take that ridiculous electronic flashing game. The reviews have been terrible for years and the hosts push this as if it the greatest thing since sliced bread. Since this product is largely meant for children to keep pushing this junk to grandparents around the holidays is unconscionable. I made the mistake of ordering some dessert items for the holidays and these also are not what they once were. They have totally outgrown any quality they used to have.

  6. tina Says:

    ladyluke agree with you completely

  7. Suzanne Says:

    I am one of those people who got banned from QVC for too many returns. Somehow it became my fault that their sizes aren’t consistent, or the quality of items has gone down…even for the same item number.
    Sadly, there ARE some QVC items that I like and I hate shopping in department stores. I am a hard to fit size. So, I now rely on a friend…although I HAVE cut down on ordering, in large part thanks to QVC itself. Some of their best lines of clothing they no longer carry. Now it’s all about “designer” names. Who cares about designer names? That only increases the price, but does nothing about the quality.
    I pick and choose, and buy several of something that I really like, that fits well, and carries a decent price tag. I can see, however that going forward I will be buying less and less from QVC as they discontinue items that I know I can count on.

  8. Claire DeNaro Says:

    I think Susan said it very well and is so right! This is an at home shopping programming and not everything is going to fit right or work properly. It doesn’t mean it is our fault. I think QVC should start apologizing to those they banned and try to win them back and treat them as loyal customers.

  9. Ginny Sallustro Says:

    I am also a recipient of a threatening letter. Will never shop there again. I always purchased the same size clothing that I wear every day. Without the benefit of a dressing room it is impossible to try on clothes at home and like everything and have a perfect fit. Even brick and mortar stores allow returns and the do gave dressing rooms!

  10. Cheryl Says:

    I think it’s easier for QVC to blame the customer than it is to consider the quality of the merchandise or the high-pressure sales tactics of the hosts. I have also recently received The Letter; I’ve been shopping with QVC for 20 years, but the channel has really gone downhill since the early days.


    I spend less and less of my shopping dollar at the Q lately, and MUCH more at HSN. The shipping is usually 50 percent cheaper, the same item is cheaper at HSN, and where I live in S Dakota, I don’t pay tax on ANY purchases at HSN as long as I order online. If I order via a representative I have to pay the tax, so I rarely use the representative anymore. Much better deals at HSN.

  12. SUSAN Says:

    I agree with the consensus the fault of the returns lies at the decline in QUALITY of QVC’s products resulting in returns….I used to buy clothing items from them, but now I find their merchandise to be ill-fiting, chintzy, and the quality and sizing just isn’t what it used to be—I’ve ordered the same exact item in a different color and the fabric and cut is not the same at all — so I’ve given up and shop for clothing elsewhere. .

    And perhaps instead of being an “entertainment”, “social media” channel if they actually devoted more time ON AIR and gave merchandise DETAILS, ESPECIALLY CLOTHING SIZING, or what it will take to set something up) INSTEAD OF DANCING AROUND, GIGGLING, AND ACTING SILLY, OR SPENDING MORE TIME ON THE FACEBOOK QUESTION OF THE DAY…OR BEGGING FOLKS TO CHAT, they might actually have less returns! Some customers don’t want to have to use several devices to obtain product info—one host in particular loves to joke around and then tells people if you want more product info go to your computer—if you are relaxing, and do automated telephone ordering maybe you do NOT want to boot up your computer to obtain info that the hosts ON AIR should be providing to the customer!!!

    QVC’s management is CLUELESS!!! Like others have said actually read CUSTOMER REVIEWS to see why folks are returning stuff!

    Oh and they need to stop using their 30 day money back guarantee as a sales gimmick, just bring back unique QUALITY merchandise if you want less returns…..

  13. Sharon Newman Says:

    I, too have scaled back shopping on QVC. I now only purchase brand name merchandise that I recognize, like Philosophy. Since 2008, the quality of clothing has decreased even more – not that it was ever top quality clothing. It has become very difficult to find stylish clothing made of 100% cotton, silk wool or cashmere. I cannot stand all that cheap rayon and polyester, and I won’t buy it. I can understand why the brick-and-mortar stores will send out letters to the frequent returners, because they have ample opportunity to fully inspect the item, but it is absolutely ridiculous for an E-retailer to do it. This policy may very well be the death of QVC – there are many alternatives to QVC that offer fast, free shipping and free returns – like Zappo’s, for instance, and the department stores like Lord and Taylor and Nordstrom. Good luck biting the hands that feed you, QVC!

  14. Cheryl D. Fishman Says:

    I haven’t received a letter from QVC on the problem of returns. I have been shopping with QVC since it’s inception. I don’t think quality control does what they say it does. They’re not inspecting the items as closely as they say.
    For the most part, I know most of the items are produced in China and Taiwan. Having a daughter who has offices there, I know the quality that is manufactured there. I have purchased clothing, mostly tops and a few at that. The other things that I’ve purchased are companies that I know. Such as cosmetics and facial products.
    For the many years I’ve been shopping on QVC, I’ve received nothing but pleasant operator service. The customer service I would have to give an “ok”.
    I will continue shopping with QVC as I have over the 20 some odd years that I have been a customer. But as soon as things become difficult, I’d have no choice but to stop shopping with them.
    For clothing I go to the more upscale malls and living in New York
    I have Manhattan that I frequent as well.
    For all those that do have complaints, remember, you can’t get “easy pay” at department stores. How many of you who are not satisfied, stop shopping if they stopped the “easy pay” and improved the quality of clothing? Remember, you increase the quality of clothing and so does the cost of the item.
    I had written to QVC a while back asking to improve the quality of the clothing. There are still people out there that would purchase the more expensive clothing too.
    The other things that bothers me is that a few of the hosts come on with expensive jewelry. I’ve seen watches on them that I own and I know the cost of them. They’re also starting their own lines of clothing, bags, jewelry, books etc. That’s what bothers me most of all. They sell clothing products and wear expensive lines of clothing that are NOT from QVC. The few times I have called when they were on air and asked the operators they would tell me it’s their own clothing. So I know it to be true.
    Some things have got to change. Stop being so extravagant with giving your hosts gifts and make your customers much happier. Like someone had said “without us there is no QVC”.

  15. SJ Says:

    I live in the UK and our Q is somewhat different, it is still far from perfect, but I know only a small number of people who have received “the letter” I order a lot from there and return maybe 20% of it, if I return it, its because it either doesn’t fit or is of poor quality!
    I’ve not received a letter yet, but surely will soon.
    Cheryl D you said that on Q USA that the presenters don’t wear the clothing QVC sells, on Q UK a few of the more “stuck up” presenters don’t wear the Q Fashion, but the majority of them do wear it! What I like about the Q UK presenters is that if they’ve bought something they will proudly tell you, and take delight in letting you know its worth every penny/cent. But the quality of what Q sells here is also going downhill. They are discontinuing brands that I love, and what I’ve found that bothers me most is that things have a very quick turnaround, I love a particular jewellery brand on Q UK and love to treat myself, but if I order it today at full price in about 5 weeks time it will be in the clearance at a greatly reduced cost! It’s too late to return using the 30-day guarantee, and I once emailed them and asked why this was happening so often, they simply said we need to make room in our warehouse so stock needs to be reduced, but at the same time we don’t price match, the price you buy it at is the price you pay, you take the risk.
    I have seen Q USA several times (as well as sneakily looking around the website) and it does sell a far greater range than UK, the UK fashion is all the same, just has different labels in them, the sizing is different and the guest is different, the materials, designs are all the same however. Although, I have heard a few presenters say on many occasions that they are working on making sizing consistent throughout all the brands they sell… wonder when this will happen, or if it will….
    The only 2 things I think QVC needs to remember is firstly that they have been going around for 20 years in the UK and even more in the USA and are still number 1, even with people returning items, so clearly they are making money… they need to just stop being greedy, and take us back to the high quality products we will buy and not return and secondly what their name stands for… Quality, Value and Convenience.

  16. homeshoppingista Says:

    Bravo, SJ

  17. Our British Sisters Are Pissed Off At QVC Return Crackdown, Too | Homeshoppingista's Blog By Linda Moss Says:

    […]… […]

  18. royfmc Says:

    Reblogged this on Roy F. McCampbell's Blog.

  19. Earl Says:

    It’ll never fly you know why? Empty threats never do. And if they piss people off enough those people might just come to realize they can get whatever they get from QVC directly from China and make it themselves for a 90% savings.

  20. Sandy Says:

    I’ve been a QVC & HSN customer for 13 years. I buy a lot from both companies. I have gotten the threatening letter from QVC for returning too many items but the sizes of clothes have gotten so crazy that it’s hard to know what size to order. Their size charts have no relation to what you receive. BUT, i sent much, much less back to HSN & one day I called to put in an order & they told me my account was cancelled. No letter, no warning. They did me & my finances a favor & their quality was really bad. QVC is a much better company & customer service is second to none.

  21. CYB Says:

    I return items to QVC almost immediately and have been doing this since 1992.I know what I like and waht I don’t and as soon as I get the item if it’s not quite right I send it back.I have yet to receive a”letter”.In fact I find their return policy to be rather generous.So I’m surprised to see the posts here.I’m sorry to hear about these experiences,because with returns mine has been the exact opposite.

  22. Nicole Says:

    I have shopped with qvc for 24 years. Got a letter in 1998 and one in2014. It states I have returned 41% of purchases in one year. Of course I kept 180 purchases. Purchased 15 items worth $1500 in the last 30 days. All are going back now, along with everything I bought in the last year. They can send them to me, I’ll send them back, when they decide to keep my purchases and my money I will file a claim install lairs court.

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