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Consumers purchase items online which end up unused

30 May 2014 - 12:11 by Paul Tissington

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A new study conducted by the Money Advice Service, has revealed that in total consumers from across the UK have spent about £5 billion buying products via safe shopping online which they end up never using at all.

This breaks down to about £107 per household, indicating that while the web is very useful for making practical purchases, there are still lots of us who fall for impulse buys and later regret our decision.

Clothing represents the biggest chunk of the unused stockpile of items that we all own, accounting for 53 per cent of the total. This is ahead of the 24 per cent which is attributable to unwanted electronics and the 23 per cent made up of DVDs and Blu-Rays, which consumers snap up on a whim, then leave to collect dust next to the TV.

Of course, if you do buy something through a site offering safe shopping online and you end up not actually wanting it by the time it has arrived, you have the right to return it for a refund. But 59 per cent of respondents to the study said that they feel less compelled to take advantage of a retailer?s returns policy if they carried out a transaction online, rather than in a bricks and mortar store.

The biggest perceived issue with returning an item to an e-commerce outlet is that it will be a hassle, with a lack of time and general forgetfulness also ranking high on the list of reasons.

There are plenty of ways to make the most of shopping sites in a way that is affordable, secure and hassle-free. And if a retailer has both an online and high street presence, returning something should be easy and take a small amount of time.