ParcelHero small business guide to handling returns

Parcel price comparison site ParcelHero has published the results of a survey that shows at least 200 e-commerce companies don’t expect to survive the projected massive cost in returns in the coming year. The traders in question say that they have often been pressured into paying the cost of returns even for unwanted items should they want to keep their five star ratings.

Under the Consumer Contracts Regulations, UK consumers are aware of their right to return their unwanted items within 14 days. They do expect the same free returns applied to damaged items too, though. This causes problems for many online stores.

“Over the years we have often fought for consumers being led a merry dance over returned items by grudging retailers. But now things seem to be swinging too far the other way, threatening many of our favourite online indie stores,” said ParcelHero’s Head of Consumer Research, David Jinks.

Big online retailers, such as Amazon, are not affected as much as the small traders. For them, “it’s important to know what they do and don’t have to offer when it comes to accepting returned goods”, said Jinks. “The final nail in the coffin for small online retailers may be that 8% of shoppers now admit to returning items several times a month! And customers pushing the boundaries of the latest regulations mean it is difficult for retailers to prevent ‘wardrobing’: using an item once for a specific purpose and then returning it.”

ParcelHero have released a new guide to help smaller traders that explains their own rights. The guide explains the difference between the Consumer Contracts Regulations and the Consumer Rights Act. It also explains what sellers should do when an item is returned in less than perfect conditions, and the right to offer a voucher instead of a return, as well as other survival tips and tricks.

‘Dealing with Customer Returns’ is available for free download here: .