Uber wants to eliminate trips to FedEx or the post office with its new “Return a Package” feature. The ride-hailing company announced the addition to its growing list of services on Wednesday, saying it will mail up to five pre-paid packaged items to UPS or FedEx per trip.
The new feature will roll out today ahead of the holiday season to make it easier for shoppers to quickly return unwanted items. Uber will carry your packages to the proper long-haul service for a flat fee of $5. Uber One members get the same benefit for $3.
Customers will be able to live track their package and will receive a visual confirmation or photo of the receipt when the driver has dropped off the package, much like when Amazon delivers packages to the consumer’s door. Return a Package is available in roughly 5,000 cities and towns across the U.S. including Austin, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.
The new feature will add to the app’s existing Uber Connect service which the company launched in October 2020. Uber Connect offers customers local delivery services worldwide, based within the individual’s geographical area but does not include international border crossings. The Return a Package option builds on Uber Connect to save the customer “time, effort, and most importantly, get [them] one step closer to a refund,” the company said in a press release.
Uber says it is appealing to consumers who find returns “somewhat or very annoying,” based on research from the National Retail Federation. According to an NRF survey, 79% of those under 30 years of age fall into that category, while more than 40% of consumers reported they would “rather sit in rush hour traffic than make a mail return.” Meanwhile, inconvenient return options serve as a deterrent for shoppers, with 50% reporting they “abandoned a purchase because the merchant did not offer a convenient return method,” the NRF survey says. While a survey probably wasn’t necessary to learn people find running errands annoying, but Uber is confident it’s so annoying you’ll pay up.
Speaking about Uber’s Return a Package option, Wendy Lee, director of delivery product management at Uber, told USA Today that the company expects the feature “to be a huge time saver and convenience play for many, many U.S. consumers.”
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