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In the News

Customer Service | Should Online Retailers Ban Certain Customers?

Jim Riley

13th August 2022

Persistent complaints. Regular returns. No wonder some online retailers don't want the custom of some people!

This Guardian article describes the experience of one unhappy online shopper who appears to have found herself on the naughty step with several popular e-commerce businesses.

The person's "unusual activity" has been picked up by the big data being collected by the likes of Amazon and Waitrose.

What constitutes unusual activity?

  • Requesting refunds for a significant percentage of orders placed
  • Making complaints about products delivered
  • Making returns, etc

Online retailers generally try to make it as easy as possible to make product returns or otherwise query an order or delivery - its all part of customer service.

However, handling customer returns, refunds and other customer service issues is a costly process.

The law appears to be on the side of the e-commerce operators:

We're told that

"retailers can refuse to do business with a customer, so it does not break any rules for them to ban those who repeatedly return their purchases."

“No business can be compelled to have you as a customer if it doesn’t want to, and it doesn’t have to give a reason”.

Jim Riley

Jim co-founded tutor2u alongside his twin brother Geoff! Jim is a well-known Business writer and presenter as well as being one of the UK's leading educational technology entrepreneurs.

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