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Most 'malfunctioning' gadgets work just fine, report claims

Lazy consumers blamed for most product returns

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People often return gadgets to the shop they bought them from because they think the gizmo’s faulty - but only five per cent of them actually are, according to new research.

The study was conducted by tech services giant Accenture and it found that, in actual fact, 68 per cent of gadgets returned by buyers do work properly - they just don’t meet the customer’s expectations or were set-up incorrectly.

Another 27 per cent of returns were chalked-up to the customer simply changing their mind about the product. Or perhaps because they thought twice when they saw the dent that their MacBook Air purchase had made on their credit card?

According to Accenture, that leaves just five per cent of returns attributable to genuine product malfunction.

The study also estimated that returns cost the US consumer electronics industry around $13.8bn (£6.9bn/€9bn) last year, with return rates ranging between 11 and 20 per cent depending on the product.

However, return rates could be affected by the amount of time we’re prepared to spend setting gadgets up. According to a study by Dutch scientist Elke den Ouden, which is cited in Accenture’s report, the average consumer only spends 20 minutes trying to get, say, a DVD player working, before giving up and returning the item as faulty.

Earlier this year, electronics warranty firm SquareTrade claimed that, according to its in-house research, the Xbox 360 has a 16.4 per cent risk of malfunctioning. It found that disc read errors account for 18 per cent of returns, while 13 per cent are due to video card failures and the same figure for frozen hard drives.

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