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Survey: returning online goods is a pain

Internet shopping good, returns bad

Consumers like the convenience of shopping online, but they hate the fuss and bother of returning goods purchased over the internet, according to PriceRunner, a price-comparison engine.

Online shoppers want an easier way to handle returns, according to the survey.

PriceRunner surveyed about 400 shoppers who have been purchasing online goods for one-to-five years. Almost 40 percent of respondents were unsatisfied with the process for returning items they'd purchased online.

According to the survey, the top three reasons for returning items bought online were that the goods were damaged, the wrong item was shipped or the customer didn't want the item after all. Respondents were most likely to return clothing and shoes, PriceRunner said.

But online shoppers are unhappy about having to pay shipping costs for returning an item and for the inconvenience associated with standing in line at the post office to return an order, the survey found.

Fifty-one percent of the respondents said they have never returned an item purchased online, while 16.7 percent said they have returned an item once, 15.3 percent twice, 5.5 percent three times, 3.5 percent four times, and 7.9 percent five or more times, according to the survey. In addition, the longer someone had shopped online, the less likely the shopper was to return an order, according to PriceRunner.

"Before making an online purchase, review the return policy of the store," said Martin Andersen, general manager of PriceRunner, in the statement. "If you're not comfortable with the store's return policies, compare them with other merchants and see if you can find a return policy you are comfortable with. This is all part of finding the best deal for you."


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