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Retailers warned to expect mass Christmas returns

More than £220m worth of Christmas gifts will end up back with retailers this year according to the latest figures.

A survey of 2,000 UK adults by insurance comparison website revealed one in 10 returned unwanted presents in 2013, with an average worth of £50. It used this to project the amount likely to be returned this year.

The data showed a combined 85% made a return as a result of not liking the colour, fit, or product itself, while 12% looked to get the value in cash.

Just under half (45%) were turned away, with main reasons including lack of receipt, going over the time limit and assistants claiming the item was used or damaged. A further one in 10 told customers they didn’t accept returns altogether.

Retailers including Next, Monsoon, River Island and Marks & Spencer have extended their return periods over the festive season. customer insight manager Claire Peate said retailers are under no legal obligation to give refunds unless the product is faulty, not as described or unfit for purpose.

Shoppers or businesses in dispute over returns will be able to log cases with the newly-created Retail Ombudsman, which will begin taking complaints from January 1.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Probably higher and trending in line with increase in online shopping.

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