Personal Finance

Brits miss out on millions of pounds of refunds – as they're too busy to return items


The main reasons adults avoid sending stuff back include being too busy, it costing as much to return the item as it was to buy it, and trying to fix damaged items themselves.

Of the defective items that arrive, it was estimated adults will return just over a third, with the product value playing a key part in the decision.

Anything that cost less than £22 is deemed “not worth” the aggravation – leading to additional waste and broken items cluttering homes across the country.

Stefano Rossi, Packaging CEO at DS Smith, which commissioned the research ahead of Black Friday where it’s estimated 21 million items will arrive damaged, said: “This eye-opening research shows that UK consumers are fed up with being delivered damaged goods.

“Luckily, it is a problem that is easy to fix; one of the most effective ways to ensure goods arrive safely is to use the correct packaging.

“Unfortunately, there’s plenty of evidence that many brands still aren’t doing this – with a quarter of shoppers left frustrated when goods arrive with unnecessary packaging, and annoyed when packaging is far bigger than needed.”

The study found household items such as crockery or glassware, clothing, and appliances such as toasters, fridges and kettles, were most likely to arrive in a poor state.

Such experiences can have a lasting effect on a shopper’s mindset, with 41 percent hesitant to shop with a retailer again if they received a broken or damaged item.

Meanwhile 36 percent would think negatively of the vendor, and one in six would even blacklist them and never buy there again.

Nearly half will look for a refund on an item that’s not in good shape, while 34 percent will keep the faith and opt for a working replacement.

It also emerged that a third of adults plan to shop on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, spending an average of £168 – with 55 per cent buying solely online.

And one in six admit they end up spending more than usual on these dates when hunting for a bargain.

Respondents estimated six of their purchases are likely to arrive not as intended – either faulty or damaged.

Stefano Rossi added: “Of course, as well as risking damaging a product, bad packaging also puts pressure on our environment – the extra emissions used to return these broken items is something that is completely avoidable.

“We pride ourselves on producing sustainable packaging that not only reduces the impact on the environment, but also best protects the goods being delivered.

“Reducing unwanted returns, exchanges and related CO2 emissions benefits consumers, retailers and our planet.”





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