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suffered last summer, when the BBC took it to task for not refunding the delivery charges in line with the Distance Selling Regulations. But it’s a definite trend, and as customers begin to expect that the delivery charge is refunded, other retailers may find themselves also being chided for not doing so.


2. Returning to a store is now hassle-free – when it is offered. We made 16 returns to the retailers’ stores and every single one was handled quickly and easily without any hassle. This is a huge improvement on two years ago when store staff were either completely confused by an online refund or refused it altogether. However, it was surprising that only half of the retailers we tested that had a store network allowed return-to-store. For retailers without a store network of their own we’re already seeing an increase in the use of Collect+ as an option, allowing customers to return items to the retailer via a corner shop. Definitely one to watch.


3. Some returns procedures are still difficult for the customer – of the 22 carrier pick-ups that we arranged, 7 of them involved us dealing with the retailer first and then arranging our own carrier collection, compared to 11 cases where the retailer did it all for us in one call. 13


ecmod DIRECT COMMERCE YEAR BOOK 2011 53


percent of the postal returns we made also needed the customer to email or call the retailer first. This is time- consuming for the customer and must also have financial implications for the retailer in terms of manually handling returns enquiries.


This report details some horror stories – 6 returns were refused, for example, for various reasons and 17 refunds needed to be chased up.


However, 202 of our returns (88 percent) were successful and we were refunded without any further follow-up. This shows that the vast majority of retailers are managing refunds well and that today’s customers can expect a reliable service.


Work is about to start on the 2012 research. We’re very much looking forward to continuing our benchmarking to observe and share future trends. If you have any questions, get in touch with us, reports@snowvalley.com.


All of our reports are free of charge and available at www.snowvalley.com/research


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