One in five retailers have tightened their returns policy to combat the rise of ‘serial returners’.
A study by Barclaycard found 20% have already changed their policies, with a further 19% planning to do so in the next 12 months.
Last month, online fashion site ASOS warned it would blacklist customers who over-ordered and then returned items, which had often already been worn.
ASOS said it would consider deactivating accounts if it noticed an “unusual pattern of returns activity”.
The Barclaycard study revealed that stricter policies have started to take effect, with 14% of shoppers saying they’ve been penalised for their returns behaviour, from warning emails to account deactivations.
Millennials are more than twice as likely to fall foul of the small print, the research found.
Free returns have become the norm, with a fifth of shoppers saying they will only shop with retailers that offer them.
Anita Liu Harvey, director of strategy at Barclaycard, said: “These more stringent policies have begun to affect consumers, with some retailers starting to send warning emails to customers about accounts being deactivated, should unusual or suspicious behaviour continue.
“On the flip side, it does seem shoppers are becoming more mindful about the purchases they make and the impact their returns could have on the environment.”