Take-Back Tuesday, busiest day for returns

Royal Mail are predicting that today, dubbed ‘Take-back Tuesday’, will be the busiest day for consumers to return unwanted or unsuitable Christmas presents.

Back at work, doubtless many will be making illicit use of the work mail bag, but Post Office queues are also expected to be busy. Returns of online purchases are predicted to jump by more than 50%, versus the average number of return parcels per day in December.

Clothing and footwear are most likely to be returned. Royal Mail’s Delivery Matters – Returns Special report found that 30% of online shoppers when questioned said they returned women’s clothes, 17% sent back men’s clothes, 16% returned footwear and 7% decided to return children’s clothes.

The ease of returning online purchases is still a crucial part of the online shopping experience with 38% of online shoppers saying a free returns policy is likely to increase their online shopping frequency. It’s worth remembering your return rights though and generally they sit with the person who made the original purchase, not the recipient of a gift.

High Street shops are under no obligation to accept returns unless a product is faulty. Those that do offer returns will often want to see the original receipt and may even insist on refunding the card used to pay for the item in the first place. Without a receipt, if the price of the item as dropped in the sales, don’t expect to get all of your money back and that is if the shop is willing to offer a return at all.

Online consumers will have a minimum of 14 days to make a return, no questions asked. This means time is running out fast as even for items delivered on Christmas Eve the statutory returns period ends this week. Many online retailers offer more generous returns policies of 30 or 60 days but again for present purchased early the returns period may have expired. Black Friday buys will already be outside a 30 day returns policy.

As an online retailer you should expect to see returns coming in this week, but with a bit of luck many gift recipients won’t know where their present was purchased or won’t want to sound ungrateful and tell the giver that they got it wrong. That’s why eBay have been advertising “The gift that keeps on giving” with the suggestion to sell unwanted items on eBay with a donation to charity.