Why a Restocking Fee?

I know restocking fees are frustrating. Believe us, we do not want them either. The best way to explain is by example.  Let us say you are returning 40SF of 12×24” from an order 4 weeks ago.  You ship it back on a pallet (which is the only safe way of doing it) and the boxes are in perfect condition.  Thank you!

In this example four weeks have gone by.  We are not an average retailer, we sell millions of square feet a year. That particular lot that this product went with has been sold.  You return it to us, now we have 40SF of a lot that does not match anything we have in stock.  We can try to discount and sell.  But in most cases we cannot do anything with it.  It is just a loss – particularly on an item with a 100SF min order.  Do you see the problem.

You can look at this the other way as well (every cloud has a silver lining), you are the only person with the matching lot to your bathroom (in the World).  If something goes wrong and you need to cut open and break the tile you would normally have to re-do the entire bathroom.  But not you, because you have a back-up of 40SF that is a perfect match.  How smart is that!  Selling so much you would not believe the number of people that return 40SF and then 2 years later had a pipe burst or shower head change and ‘they’ cracked the tile.  Guess what that call/email is “do you have a matching lot from 2 years ago, perhaps the lot we returned?”. Obviously the reply is “Sorry but no”.  So they either have to stare at a mismatched section for the rest of their time, knowing that any new home buyer would also be put off by this or they should have for the sake of $150.00 (as after shipping and restocking fee is all that you will get back) should have hung onto it.  Just plain crazy for a new bathroom that has raised the homes value by $35,000!

This applies to all marble returns.  They are from lots that are current at that “specific time” once the time frame has gone by and the lot shipped.  We have to discount, just to try and sell, but at least 60% of the time we cannot sell and have to give it away to a charity or dispose of it.  Even if it is just a few days past, if the lot has all shipped and it is a new lot, then it is not likely we can sell it – the samples will not match what we send out.  A return is in effect just a loss for us.

I hope this helps understand why there is a restocking fee 20% restocking fee. It allows us to re-coup some of the cost, but more importantly is causes people to pause and think.

Now the 30% restocking fee on Free Ship items. If we have to explain why then this is a little worrying.  We shipped this to you for free at our cost.  The cost to ship the free item is directly impacted by the amount you ordered.  So you over ordered by a huge amount, why not it is Free Shipping.  Now you want to return it.  So we have a double whammy we got over burdened by the outbound shipping cost and now have to go through the scenario explained above.  30% does not even cover the cost to ship it, as you will find out when you run the cost to ship it back.

Another Scenario: The worse case return is the poor designer. You purchased the product for your customer as she said, “That’s it, thats what I want” and you ordered 50 square feet of Free Shipping Metal.  She was so convinced she did not even care to order a $5.00 sample. This is a huge mistake. Order a sample, your investment is $5.00 ours is $7-$10 (but we want you to do this so we pay for the shipping).  But now you have 50 Square Feet of metal to return.  You have to return it in the same way it was shipped to you.  We would have shipped this freight.  Please ship it back freight.

Please do not compare our policy to Zappos it is $4-5 for them to return a pair of tennis shoes.  It is hundreds of dollars to ship freight. I feel most sorry for the scenario as the designer is just caught in the middle. I bet this mistake will never happen again and from now on this designers customers will always get samples to approve.  But now you have to pay to get it back and pay 30% restocking fee.  If you choose not to send it back freight and the plan it to just put it in UPS boxes, then please let us know before you send it.  Take pictures of it in tact your end.  Insure it and get ready to file a claim for all of it and note that it will be refused if the box is destroyed and tiles are sticking out all over the place.

Please do not be upset, mad or angry.  You are the lucky ones that have ‘backup stock’. Our strategy is to keep our costs for everyone as low as possible.  The above scenarios increases the cost for other customers.  I know you have completed your project, but others would like to buy at the same price you did.  It is not fair for us to increase the cost to pay for a few people that are looking to return items, that they should hang onto. Or may need to re-order again.

Please remember left over tile from from the installation is the only matching product.  There will be no replacements for that exact lot in 12 months, even 5 weeks.  You are returning the only matching lot. Hang onto some of it 🙂

Product sizes over 3×6” must be shipped back freight on a pallet.  The best place to get a freight quote is https://www.freightquote.com

I know this post was very candid and I apologize for any offense, none is intended.  We just want to be upfront (this also explains yet another reason why our costs are so low).  If anyone has any comments, or anything they think should be added or if this should be nicer with more fluff please let us know whyarestockingfee@thebuilderdepot.com we are always looking to improve and if the consensus is this is too candid then please let us know and we’ll try and soften it up.

One Response to Why a Restocking Fee?

  1. Pingback: Returning a shipment? | the builder depot

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