This paper considers returns policies under which consumers' valuation depends on the refund amount they receive and the length of time theymustwait after the item is returned. Consumers face an uncertain valuation before purchase, and the realization of that purchase's value occurs only after the return deadline has passed. Depending on the product lifecycle length and magnitude of return rate, a retailer decides on strategies for that product's return deadline, including return prohibition, life-cycle return, and fixed return deadline. In addition, the influence of the return deadline on consumers' behavior and the pricing and inventory policies of the retailer are systematically investigated. Moreover, based on the analysis of consumer return behavior on a traditional buy-back contract, we present a new differentiated buy-back contract, contingent on return deadline, to coordinate a supply chain consisting of an upstream manufacturer and a downstream retailer. Finally, extensions on some specific behavioral factors such as moral hazard, inertia return, and external effect are investigated.
European Journal of Operational Research, 2015, Vol 242, Issue 1, p. 88-99