The move is viewed as an important one to encourage more online sales. Previously, it took approximately 10 days to get a refund for a return.
Apple is processing refunds at a faster rate because the company now uses an expedited service, FedEx 2Day, to let customers ship returned items with prepaid labels to its warehouse in three days. StellaService researchers first noted the improvement in refund processing times in November, but chalked it up to a temporary measure for the busy holiday season. The company, which orders items from Apple's website several times a day for research purposes, also discovered that packages were stamped with FedEx 2Day, rather than a Newgistics prepaid label.
A source familiar with the matter confirmed to Reuters that customers will incur no additional costs for the improved service.
Apple's online sales increased 24% to $18.3 billion in 2013. The company recently hired former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts as SVP Retail and Online Stores to help it expand its retail efforts.