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Shoppers who return items too often are getting banned from Amazon

The online retailer isn't the only one keeping an eye out for return fraud.
/ Source: TODAY

Amazon's return-friendly policy apparently has a limit.

Customers who return too many items ordered through the online retail giant might find themselves banned from its site and their accounts terminated.

Dozens of unhappy customers have taken to social media after their accounts were shut down without warning, according to The Wall Street Journal.

"Amazon has cultivated an image as a very customer-friendly company and it has put a lot of pressure on brick and mortar retailers because of its lax return policy,'' Wall Street Journal reporter Khadeeja Safdar told NBC's Kristen Dahlgren on TODAY.

"Customers have become very accustomed to buying on the platform knowing that they can easily make a return, oftentimes for free."

People have indicated that their accounts were shut down for too many returns.

Amazon is scrutinizing the number and kinds of items returned, with computers and televisions being a red flag, according to the Journal.

The company declined to indicate how many customers it has banned for excessive returns.

"There are rare occasions where someone abuses our service over an extended period of time,'' Amazon said in a statement to NBC News. "We never take these decisions lightly, but with over 300 million customers around the world, we take action when appropriate.

"If a customer believes we've made an error, we encourage them to contact us directly so we can review their account and take appropriate action."

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Amazon's return policy says that "for most items the return window is 30 days after delivery," but doesn't say anything specifically about any ban for returning too many items.

Amazon isn't the only retailer tracking customers in order to combat return fraud, as others like Best Buy and Victoria's Secret also monitor shoppers' behavior by using a third-party service called "The Retail Equation."

However, the nature of shopping online can lead to more returns than buying products at stores.

"When shoppers buy online they obviously can't try the items,'' Safdar said. "If it's clothing, they can't touch the fabric, they can't feel and get a good sense of what they want. So online retailers generally do expect a higher rate of returns than brick and mortar retailers.

In order to steer clear of a potential ban for too many returns, retail experts advise to shop smarter by reading product descriptions closely, looking at customer photos of the product, compare prices, and taking negative reviews into account.

Follow writer Scott Stump on Twitter.