British e-tailers offer shabby e-returns service

Comet, PCWorld, Boots don't make it easy

British e-tailers have shabbier returns policies than their US rivals, a survey claims.

Major UK sites, such as electronics sellers Comet and PCWorld, fail to mention exactly how to return goods, while Boots has no returns policy at all on its site.

Nine out of ten top UK e-commerce sites do not have a link to the company's returns policy on their home page. Three exceptions to this were Blackstar, Figleaves and good old Marks & Spencer. Even bricks and mortar retailers that display their policy in their shops, like ToysRUs and Tesco, don't bother to put the same information on their homepage.

Around half e-tailer's policies were so poor that they force shopppers to phone for clarification, according to Boston-based consultancy firm Extraprise. It reckons companies are throwing cash away as it costs $33 to resolve a query by phone, compared to just $1 online. However, 49 per cent of retailers don't even include a phone number for extra enquiries on their returns policy page.

US e-tailers got more brownie points from the survey, with 31 per cent having a direct link to the returns policy from the home page, and 94 per cent showing clear and complete policy information online (versus 57 per cent in the UK). ®

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