Friday 20 April 2018

Online shopping #ReturnsPolicy

Online shopping is a booming industry. Virtual shops are dominating the market whilst the high street struggles. Established shop names are disappearing from the high street and many prominent retailers are developing their online presence and virtual shops.

Simply put shopping online is becoming the mainstream way people buy anything and everything. This trend in the popularity of online shopping here in the UK is highlighted in a report created by UK Cards Association who reported that online shoppers in the UK spent more per household than consumers in any other country.

The predominance of online shopping is due to many factors such as the fact that the virtual world is becoming ingrained in our daily lives. Online shopping offers many benefits; it is quick, easy and convenient, it highlights the saying ‘the world is your oyster’ as shoppers can search for what they want, find it and buy it at a click of a button from basically anywhere in the world and it offers the ability to shop around and get the best price.

With online shopping becoming increasingly popular retailers are always upping their service to be top online retailer. Offering services such discounts and deals, online customer service chat and easy returns helps retailers be appealing to online shoppers.

Being an avid online shopper who enjoys the benefits of virtual shopping I was keen to get involved in the Contact Numbers UK #ReturnsPolicy awareness campaign.

I think one of the things that puts people off buying online is the hassle of returning any purchases if they do not fit, are not the quality expected, faulty or simply not for them. But Contact Numbers UK, who connect people to the organisations they need to talk to, want to highlight that returns can be easy and hassle free. 

Personally I have had some fantastic, hassle free experiences of returning online purchases that are not suitable, as described or faulty. Recently we bought an item of furniture that arrived useable but slightly damaged and the company in question told us to keep the faulty item or gift to a charity shop and sent a replacement item next day delivery. On the other hand I have had a few frustrating experiences returning items for refund too. Difficulties arranging a return, struggle mailing an item back to the retailer and problems getting a refund fulfilled. Time consuming, stressful and annoying.

With that in mind I wanted to share a few ways to make returning online shopping easy and stress free.

Online shopping rights
When shopping online you are protected by consumer contracts regulations. When buying online purchases are often made based on descriptions and/or a photograph as such what you buy may not be what you expected, wanted or the right size and fit. Because of this when buying online you have additional rights to return purchases compared to buying from a high street shop who don’t have to accept a return unless faulty. Also faulty items allow you a right to return it (without incurring any costs for returning it) and get a refund.

Contact the company

If you are not sure how to return a purchase or want to discuss your options such as refund or exchange it is worthwhile getting in touch with the retailer. Nowadays many retailers offer an array of ways to get in touch with them including social media, online chat, email, contact forms and via the telephone. 

Thankfully thanks to the service of Contact Numbers UK contacting a retailer such as Very and Amazon to discuss an order or arrange a delivery is quick and simple - no searching for a contact number, no being passed back and forth between departments, just simply straight through to the people you need to speak to. Remember when contacting a retailer, even if disappointed with a product, try to remain calm, polite and informative as it will help you get a great service quickly.

Keep packaging and paperwork safe
In the excitement of getting a parcel delivery after an online shopping spree try to remember to open packaging carefully because if you need to return anything having the original packaging and paperwork which usually includes a returns slip is beneficial. When buying clothing keep tags on until you are satisfied they fit and you like them.

Keep track of date of delivery
Most companies have a set amount of time you have to return or exchange items - often 14 or 28 days. If you let that time pass you will be stuck with something unwanted or unsuitable. It is worth bearing in mind how long it takes for a return item to be delivered back to the company when deciding to return as some retailers’ return policy states item has to be returned back to them in that timeframe, so sending on the last days will not guarantee that it is delivered and processed on time. When returning items many retailers offer a range of return options such as courier, sending a parcel at a Post Office, dropping off at a Collect+ location or using a secure drop box.

Know your mind
Be clear and concise about why you want to return the item - does not fit, not as described or faulty etc. Also it is worth deciding before contacting the company whether you want a refund, replacement or exchange.

Do you have any tips for when it comes to returning online shopping? Do you have any success stories or tales of terrible return policies?

Check out Contact Number UK’s #ReturnPolicy campaign on social media for tips and advice on returning online purchases.

* In collaboration with Contact Number UK *

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