PrettyLittleThings faces criticism for banning customers who make too many returns 

The popular fashion brand PrettyLittleThing (PLT) is facing backlash from customers whose accounts have been deactivated due to frequent returns. 

On Friday, shoppers received emails notifying them that their accounts had been reviewed and subsequently shut down, preventing any further orders.

Many affected customers took to social media to voice their displeasure with the new policy, with some claiming they had made only one return this year. 

Others suggested they might return fewer items if the company’s clothing sizes were more consistent. Earlier this month, PLT, a subsidiary of the Boohoo Group, faced criticism for eliminating its free returns policy.

Questions about the criteria used for these account suspensions have flooded platforms like TikTok, where posts on the topic have garnered hundreds of likes. PLT, in its email, apologised for the inconvenience and assured customers they could still make returns via its online portal.

The Boohoo Group, founded in 2006 by Mahmud Kamani and retail executive Carol Kane, initially launched PLT as an accessories-focused brand. 

Umar Kamani, Mahmud Kamani’s son, later expanded the brand, collaborating with supermodel Naomi Campbell and influencer Molly-Mae Hague, and extending its reach into the US market.

Although Boohoo Group thrived during the pandemic with increased online shopping, it now faces challenges such as normalisation in return rates, rising competition from ultra-fast fashion brands like Shein, and tighter customer budgets due to the cost-of-living crisis. 

Recently, PLT introduced a £1.99 return fee, even for “Royalty” service members, sparking further frustration among customers. Major retailers like Zara, Uniqlo, and Next already charge for online returns. PLT rival OhPolly has adopted a tiered return fee structure: £8.99 for returning all items, versus £2.99 for less than half. 

Analysts note that retailers are under financial pressure, necessitating either these fees or higher prices. The costs associated with handling returns, including the environmental impact of delivery trucks, are high, and many fashion retailers are passing these costs onto customers and tightening return policies to detect and prevent the return of worn items.


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