The first working day of 2021 saw Christmas gift returns spike by 10.7% YOY, reveals the home delivery expert ParcelHero. It says there are now over 10% more returns in UK parcels networks than on the equivalent day last year, as Brits rush to return unwanted or faulty items. ParcelHero forecasts 51.7% of all parcels sent this week will be returned items.
ParcelHero’s Head of Consumer Research, David Jinks MILT, says: ‘Last year saw record volumes of returns on the first working day after Christmas and we are seeing a further 10.7% jump this year, even though many people have not actually left home and returned to a physical office today.
‘The 14-day “cooling off” period for items bought online and received on 24 December runs out on 7 January; it’s obviously even earlier for purchases that arrived before the 24th. Some retailers extended their Christmas returns period, however – Amazon and M&S offered significantly more generous policies, for example.
‘Our handy hack to ensure buyers don’t get caught out by any backlog created by a tsunami of returns is that, within 14 days of receiving the item, customers should email the store they bought the item from, telling them that they will be returning it. That buys a whole extra 14 days starting from the date of the email to get the unwanted goods back to the seller, according to the terms of the Consumer Contracts Regulation’s 14-day “cooling-off period”.
‘Brits who purchased items from the EU also benefit from the 14-day cooling-off period, which also applies to all European Union nations. However, returning an item to countries such as France and Germany will be more difficult now that we have left the EU. We advise anyone who wants to avoid paperwork and delays to select ‘returns’ from the ParcelHero ‘customs details’ menu and fill in the easy-to-follow, step-by-step menu that will guide you through the process.
‘The disappointment felt by those who received unwanted gifts is more than matched by UK retailers struggling with this unprecedented volume of returns. Fashion stores are particularly hard-pressed, given initial figures indicating that over 60% of all items being returned are clothes. Many smaller traders feared just this kind of growth in returns, which could mean the difference between a profitable Christmas or liquidation for smaller sellers operating on tight margins.
‘There’s some good news, however, for anyone who destroyed the original packaging in their excitement on Christmas Day and then found out the present was faulty. It’s not a legal requirement that faulty items must be sent back in their original packaging. However, alongside proof of purchase, you need to make sure it’s packaged securely so it doesn’t get damaged. Sellers may well demand customers pay up if something gets damaged in transit because it wasn’t packaged properly.
‘Likewise, if you received a large or heavy item as a gift this year – from furniture to a new TV – the chances are it arrived using the retailer’s or manufacturer’s specialist service, with vehicles designed for transporting such items. That means it will have been delivered in packaging that works perfectly for specially designed vehicles but, perhaps, won’t be adequate for being placed with a normal courier network for return. We strongly recommend anyone returning a heavy item reads our guide to packaging and shipping heavy items’.