SOURCE: Shopzilla

January 08, 2007 06:00 ET

Gift Return Without the Burn

Survey Reveals Gift Returning Is En Vogue

LOS ANGELES, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- January 8, 2007 -- Miffed because you got stiffed this holiday? Maybe instead of that crystal bowl you asked for, you got a lump of coal. You're not in the minority. According to a BizRate Research study conducted for leading comparison shopping search site Shopzilla (, in 2007's infancy, already nearly one-fifth of respondents (19%) have returned some of the gifts they received during the holidays and about one-fifth (21%) plan to return some of the gifts they received.

While Jerry from "Seinfeld" tried to return an item out of "spite," men are more likely than women to return gifts because they don't like the gift or it wasn't their taste. One-quarter of men (25%) versus nearly one-third of women (32%) say that not liking the gift is the main reason they usually return gifts.


Who got the short end of the stick when it came to gift receiving? The spread was pretty even with 22% of bad gifts being received from "extended family members," 18% from "immediate family members," 16% coming from "friends" and 16% coming from co-"workers or bosses." The only non-guilty parties are "spouses/girlfriends/boyfriends/partners," who only gave 6% of the worst gifts.


Of those who have already returned gifts, 12% returned them the day after Christmas, 62% returned them the week after Christmas and 23% plan to return them by mid-January.

While returning the week after Christmas was the most popular with those who have already returned gifts (62% returned that week), of those who plan to return gifts, half (50%) plan to return them by mid-January compared to only 31% who returned the week after Christmas.

The two most popular reasons that respondents usually return gifts are that the item didn't fit (33% reported this reason) or they didn't like the item/it wasn't their taste (29% reported this reason).


It's not all a rosy picture either. The issue of return fraud was expected to cost retailers $3.5 billion for holiday 2006, according to an NRF (National Retail Federation) survey.

According to the NRF survey, the most popular form of return fraud is the return of stolen merchandise, which 95.2 percent of retailers have experienced in the past year. Retailers say they have also been plagued by returns of merchandise that was originally purchased with fraudulent or counterfeit tender (69.1%) and returns using counterfeit receipts (52.4%)... more than two-thirds of retailers (69.1%) said their companies' return policies have been changed to specifically address the issue.

"Returns are one of the biggest pet peeves for consumers, especially after the holidays," said Helen Malani, chief shopping expert for Shopzilla. "Here's some tips on how to return without the burn."


--  Know the Store's Return Policy Before Purchasing a Gift
    Many stores have different return policies. Be sure you are aware of
    them before laying down your cash that you might never get back if you
    are not satisfied with your purchase.

--  Keep Your Receipts
    It's easy to alphabetically organize your sales receipts in a file
    system. It's worth the time and will save you many potential

--  Request and Enclose Gift Receipts
    It has become proper gift giving etiquette. The recipient will thank
    you (again) for it.

--  Do not open the merchandise
    Many stores have fees for opened items. It will make the process easier
    if you show that you have no tampered goods.

--  Ask if there is a there is a restocking fee

--  Can you return a gift at a store that you purchased online?
    Many brick and mortar stores will now accept online purchase returns at
    their customer service desk.

--  Will the retailer offer free return shipping?
    Some companies do, but if not, you may rethink the actual price you pay
    for returning goods.
About The Study:

The study, conducted by BizRate Research, a division of Shopzilla, Inc., was based on panel survey among members of the BizRate Research Panel with a sample of 1,484 fielded between January 3 to January 4, 2007.

About Shopzilla, Inc.:

Shopzilla, formerly, is the most powerful and easiest-to-use shopping search site on the Web. With an index of more than 35 million products from more than 87,000 stores, Shopzilla uses ShopRank, a proprietary patent-pending algorithm, to help shoppers instantly find virtually anything on sale from anyone, anywhere on the Web at the best price. Shopzilla also features powerful comparison tools and BizRate consumer reviews of stores and products, the Web's largest and most trusted consumer feedback network. Every week Shopzilla prepares millions of shoppers to make smarter, more confident purchases and sends them directly to the checkout page of thousands of online merchants. Shopzilla also operates the BizRate consumer feedback network which collects approximately 1 million fresh reviews per month. Shopzilla powers shopping search for many of the Web's largest consumer sites including AOL, Lycos, Time Warner's RoadRunner, and many others. Founded in 1996, the Los Angeles-based company also operates sites in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. Shopzilla is owned by The E.W. Scripps Company (NYSE: SSP), a diverse media concern with interests in national television networks, newspaper publishing, broadcast television stations, TV retailing and licensing and syndication. For more information, visit, the smarter way to shop.

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