Hate Doing Returns? You’re Not the Only One

Two in Three Americans believe the worst part of shopping is returning unwanted items.

 Sixty-six percent of Americans believe the worst part of the shopping experience is going through the return process, according to a survey commissioned by Slickdeals, the only shopping platform powered by millions of avid shoppers.

The survey of 2,000 U.S. adults, commissioned by Slickdeals and conducted by OnePoll, found that 67% hate returning items they previously purchased, and two in three claim it’s the worst part of the shopping experience.

Do You Avoid Doing Returns?

Over half (58%) revealed they would be willing to do “nearly anything” to avoid returning the items they bought.

For 43%, returning things in person is worse than doing so online. The most hated parts of in-person returns are having the person in front of them escalate the situation (39%), getting managers involved in their returns (32%), and having to travel to the store (32%).

Meanwhile, 29% think returning items online is more complicated. The most hated parts of online returns are paying for shipping (42%), having the item lost or not arrive at its destination (39%), and traveling to the post office (37%).

Fifty-two percent have changed their shopping habits, so they don’t have to deal with the return process at all.

The study also revealed the top products respondents believe should be returned and those that are not worth the return hassle. For example, phones (38%), clothing (38%), and TVs (37%) are the top items worth returning. However, shoppers ranked intimates (25%), groceries (25%), and clothing accessories (24%) as items that are not worth returning.

If they plan on returning an item, 48% of respondents said they don’t put it back in its original packaging.

The worst items to put back into their original packaging are computers (35%), TVs (29%), home improvement products (27%), headphones (27%), and furniture (26%).

Return Policies

“Inevitably, we all make purchases that don’t work out for us. Luckily, many retailers have improved return policies to create a more pleasant return experience,” said Louie Patterson, personal finance manager for Slickdeals. “Shoppers can do their part by understanding return policies before they buy. For example, always check the return shipping cost, restocking fees, and return windows before buying.”

Results also found that people would instead give things they bought away (50%), keep them as a backup (36%) or resell them (29%) instead of returning them.

If they end up returning items, 46% of respondents said they prefer having a cash-back option or a complete refund. Fifty-six percent also said they’d prefer returning to the store they bought an item from instead of going to a different location.

The average person also claimed many return policies are too short — and that they should ideally be 30 days long.

“A good way to mitigate the need for returns, particularly on those larger products like TVs and electronics, is to do your research ahead of time. Our community of shoppers helping shoppers is a great way to discover the products that will best suit your needs and at the best prices,” Patterson added.


Phones – 38%

Clothing – 38%

TVs – 37%

Computers – 37%

Clothing accessories – 31%


Intimates – 25%

Groceries – 25%

Clothing accessories – 24%

Beverages – 23%

Phones – 22%

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Hi! I am a millennial mom with a passion for personal finance. I have always been “into” personal finance but got inspired to start my blog after a period of extended unemployment. That experience really changed the way I viewed my relationship with money and the importance of accessible personal finance education.