Fashion giant Zara has become the latest retailer to charge shoppers who return items bought online.
Customers now must pay £1.95 to return clothes, with the cost taken from their refund. Items bought online can still be returned for free in stores.
High Street firms such as Uniqlo and Next already charge for online returns.
Online shopping boomed during the pandemic, but customers are more likely to return items bought online than in-store, raising costs for retailers.
Analysts said other retailers were likely to follow Zara in charging for returns.
“It’s a growing trend, it started pre-pandemic and it will continue, as online shopping continues to grow,” said Nick Carroll, Mintel’s associate director of retail research.
Allowing free in-store returns may help drive people back into shops, Mr. Carroll said.
“You also get the products back into shops quicker, which is more cost-effective, and you have the possibility of impulse purchases once the shoppers are in the stores.”
Online shopping rose strongly during the pandemic, but this has also meant a big increase in the number of items being sent back because they do not fit, or are not as expected.
For fashion retailers, returns can be costly.
Earlier this month, fast-fashion brand Boohoo said soaring returns were partly to blame for a slump in its annual profits.
Zara’s decision to stop free postal returns has been criticized by some customers online.
One person wrote on Twitter: “Zara making changes to your free returns which now cost your customers and making no announcement about it? Not cool.”
Another said she was “very disappointed” by the move, adding: “Expected better from you. The best, quality brands don’t charge.”
But another praised the decision for its environmental impact, saying it was a “great measure to help stop C02 emissions”.
A spokesperson from Zara told the BBC: “Customers can return online purchases at any Zara store in the UK free of charge, which is what most customers do.
“The £1.95 fee only applies to the return of products at third-party drop-off points.”
Legally, people have a right to claim a full refund for products that are of unsatisfactory quality, unfit for purpose, or not as described, provided it is done within 30 days of ownership.