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Poor returns policies a turn off

15 June 2010 - 09:53 by Simon Crisp

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Poor returns experiences after shopping online lead to 58% of internet shoppers permanently abandoning the offending retailer, according to new research from Collect+. This sends out a stark warning to retailers that, together with safe shopping online, many online shoppers expect professional and efficient returns policies.

The poll covered 2,000 regular internet shoppers and revealed that 58% of consumers will no longer use a website if they have had a poor experience relating to returning items.

It is estimated that around £1.3bn worth of items are returned every year. Research revealed that one in ten internet shoppers have been dissatisfied or indeed left out of pocket as result of poor returns policies. Shoppers found that they were often unable to return items in time for a refund.

Other complaints included the cost of postage, with 59% of those questioned feeling that returning items should be free of charge. The hassle of having to visit the Post Office to return unwanted items was cited by 28% of those asked.

Collect+ CEO Mark Lewis said; "The hassle and cost of online returns has been the dark secret of retail for too long, with our research showing that shoppers are abandoning outlets that fail to get it right. Modern shoppers are demanding returns processes that match their lifestyles and will no longer tolerate queuing at their local post office to return defective or unwanted goods."

It is also estimated that a lack of convenience when returning unwanted goods is leading to 20% of these items being thrown away or donated to charity shops, with internet shoppers from Yorkshire and London being the most likely to return items they had bought online.

Professional returns policies ranks high alongside safety when it comes to internet shopping, with consumers naturally needing to be secure in the knowledge that their chosen website will provide a safe shopping online experience.