NEW YORK — Two in three Americans believe the absolute worst part of the shopping experience is going through the return item line. A survey of 2,000 U.S. adults reports that 67 percent of respondents simply loathe the process of bringing items back to the store.
Over half (58%) say they would be willing to do “nearly anything” to avoid returning the items they bought.
For 43 percent, returning things in person is especially worse than doing so online. On the contrary, only 29 percent think returning items online is more difficult. Perhaps that’s because the most hated parts of online returns are paying for shipping (42%), having the item lost or not arrive at its destination (39%), and traveling to the post office (37%).
Meanwhile, the most hated parts of in-person returns are having the person in front of them escalate the situation (39%), needing to get the manager (32%), and traveling to the store (32%). Half the poll (52%) have changed their shopping habits so they don’t have to deal with the return process at all.
Commissioned by Slickdeals and conducted by OnePoll, the study also reveals the top products respondents believe should be returned and those that are not worth the return hassle. Non-consumable things like phones (38%), clothing (38%), and TVs (37%) are the top items worth returning. Meanwhile, shoppers believe intimates (25%), groceries (25%), and clothing accessories (24%) aren’t worth the trouble.
If they plan on returning an item, 48 percent of respondents don’t bother putting it back in its original packaging. The worst items to put back into their original packaging are computers (35%), TVs (29%), home improvement products (27%), headphones (27%), and furniture (26%).
“Inevitably we all make purchases that don’t work out for us. Luckily, many retailers have improved return policies to create a more pleasant return experience,” says Louie Patterson, personal finance manager for Slickdeals, in a statement. “Shoppers can do their part by understanding return policies before they buy. Always check return shipping cost, any restocking fees and return windows before you buy.”
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The survey also finds that people would rather give things they bought away (50%), keep them as a backup (36%), or resell them (29%), instead of returning them.
If they end up returning items, 46 percent of respondents prefer having a cash-back option or a complete refund. Fifty-six percent add they’d prefer returning to the store they bought an item from instead of going to a different location.
The average person also feels many return policies are too short — and that they should ideally be 30 days long.
“A good way to mitigate the need for returns, particularly on those larger products like TVs and electronics, is to do your research ahead of time,” Patterson adds.