U.S. Postal Service set to aid online returns

The U.S. Postal Service will announce tomorrow that it is offering a service that could simplify returns of merchandise bought online.

Greg Sandoval Former Staff writer
Greg Sandoval covers media and digital entertainment for CNET News. Based in New York, Sandoval is a former reporter for The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. E-mail Greg, or follow him on Twitter at @sandoCNET.
Greg Sandoval
2 min read
The U.S. Postal Service will announce tomorrow that it has created a service to let Internet shoppers return merchandise without facing much of the inconvenience involved in online returns.

The Postal Service created the system software for purchase by e-commerce companies, which then can integrate the technology into their own Web sites. Once the system is available on a shopping site, customers can return unwanted merchandise to the online company without delays or lengthy phone conversations with customer service.

As part of an effort to keep up with the fast-paced Internet businesses, the Postal Service created the new software to streamline the return process for e-commerce companies and their customers.

In order to make a return with the new system, a customer must visit the site where the purchase was made and fill out a short form.

The customer will then receive an authorization code and directions on how to create a simple authorization slip. This slip then allows the customer to send merchandise back to the online store via the Postal Service at the company's expense. Customers can call the Post Office to pickup the items to return.

Altrec.com, an outdoor apparel company, is the first to sign up for the service. "This means that Altrec.com has the opportunity to greatly reduce the hurdles that a lot of consumers related to buying online," Altrec.com spokesman David Geller said.

For the past year, the Postal Service has been adding services in a bid to attract online shoppers. In July, the Postal Service partnered with E-Stamp and began selling stamps online.