UPS and USPS Pilot a New Return Service

Retail returns to be shipped by UPS may be placed in consumer’s mailboxes for Postal Service pickup.

The pilot project is geared to run for five months and includes pre-selected retailers like L.L. Bean and Buy Seasons, Inc. Consumers that make online or mail order purchases will receive special UPS package labels that will permit them to return merchandise in their own mailboxes or other location for postal carrier pickup. They may also drop the package in a postal collection box or their local Post Office.

The service, UPS Returns Flexible Access works in combination with the US Postal Service’s (USPS) Parcel Return Service. In operation, the USPS will consolidate returns for pickup by UPS for the final leg of the return to the retailer. Only for domestic returns, during the pilot program UPS will closely monitor customers and the USPS to determine whether and when the service will be made more widely available.

John Sutthoff, UPS vice president of global marketing and supply chain strategy, claims "This is a potential game-changer for consumer-to-business returns. UPS already offers the industry's most extensive returns portfolio and adding the unmatched convenience of allowing consumers to use the US Postal Service's more than 160 million access points—including their own homes—creates an unparalleled returns service."

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