December 5, 2023


The Swiss National Council has recently made a decision regarding the imposition of returns fees on online stores in Switzerland. Despite concerns over environmental sustainability and the wastage of goods due to high return rates, the Council rejected a motion proposing such fees. This blog post will delve into the reasons behind the decision and explore the arguments put forth by both proponents and opponents of the motion.

The Motion to Reduce Unnecessary Transports:

National Council member Michael Töngi introduced a motion aimed at curbing the volume of unnecessary returns in the country. Approximately 25% of parcels are returned by customers, leading to significant wastage of goods. Töngi sought to make ecommerce in Switzerland more environmentally friendly and customer-oriented through the introduction of returns fees.

Opposition to Returns Fees:

The motion to impose returns fees faced strong opposition, with 101 Council members voting against it. Their main argument was that such fees would encroach upon economic freedom for both online retailers and consumers. They contended that imposing fees would disproportionately reduce entrepreneurial freedom and consumer benefits.

Responsibility of Online Stores:

Instead of implementing returns fees, the Swiss National Council emphasized the importance of online stores taking responsibility for accurate product and sizing information. By providing detailed and comprehensive descriptions, retailers aim to minimize the number of returns resulting from incorrect sizing or missing information. This approach places the onus on the online stores to ensure customer satisfaction while reducing the environmental impact caused by excessive returns.

Ecological and Customer-Friendly Practices:

While the rejection of returns fees may disappoint proponents of sustainability, the decision does highlight the significance of other strategies in promoting ecological and customer-friendly practices. Emphasizing the importance of clear product information and comprehensive sizing guides encourages informed purchasing decisions, which can reduce the need for returns altogether.


The Swiss National Council’s rejection of the motion proposing returns fees for online stores in Switzerland has sparked a debate between economic freedom and environmental responsibility. The decision highlights the Council’s emphasis on entrepreneurial freedom and consumer benefits while urging online retailers to enhance their product descriptions and sizing information to minimize returns. As the matter has been settled for now, it remains to be seen how the ecommerce industry in Switzerland will adapt to balance economic freedom and environmental concerns in the future.

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