SOURCE: BIGresearch

November 23, 2005 10:10 ET

Restocking Fees Influence Consumers Retail Store Choices

BIGresearch Survey Finds Consumers Overwhelmingly Against Them and Avoid Retailers Who Charge Them

COLUMBUS, OH -- (MARKET WIRE) -- November 23, 2005 -- The "official" start of the holiday shopping is the Friday after Thanksgiving (Black Friday) and this year consumers in the market for electronics will be checking return policies before buying according to the opinions of over 8,000 consumers in BIGresearch's monthly Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey (CIA).

When asked if they agree with retailers who charge a restocking fee for returns of large purchases such as electronics, appliances and automotive merchandise, 82.9% said no and 17.1% said yes.

"Consumers are skeptical of restocking charges and see it as another way for the retailers to make an additional buck at their expense," said Joe Pilotta, VP Research of BIGresearch. "Many said they would not shop stores that charged restocking fees while others felt it was good customer service for retailers to take back products consumers aren't pleased with and not charge for it," said Pilotta.

The 82.9% who said "no" to restocking fees differed from the 17.1% who said "yes":

                           No             Yes
                          ---             ---
Average Age             45.2 Years      43.2 Years
Men                     46.0%           58.2%
Women                   54.0%           41.8%
Average Income         $48,039         $44,842

Stores Shopped most often for Electronics
Best Buy                27.6%           27.0%
Wal-Mart                25.2%           21.8%
Circuit City            8.1%            7.4%
Sears                   3.5%            2.7%
Target                  1.7%            2.8%

Census Regions
Northeast               18.8%           15.8%
Midwest                 25.5%           23.1%
South                   32.6%           37.3%
West                    21.1%           20.1%

"Retailers need to be mindful of the potential impact on customer relationships store policies can have before instituting them. What may look good on a spreadsheet could have long term impact on store traffic. Educating customers on policy rationale can go a long way towards softening negative attitudes of customers," said Pilotta.

Each respondent was given an opportunity to express their feelings to restocking fees with an open ended response. A sample of the responses can be viewed here:

About BIGresearch

BIGresearch is a market intelligence firm providing analysis of consumer behavior in the areas of retail, politics and media. The syndicated Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey (CIA) monitors the pulse of more than 7,000 consumers each month to identify opportunities in a fragmented and changing marketplace.

BIGresearch's methodology provides the most accurate consumer information in the industry with a margin of error of +/- 1 percent. Complimentary findings are available at

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Phil Rist
    (614) 846-0146