ONLINE shopping is convenient but it can end up being costly.
Shoppers are spending up around the clock but they could be simply throwing money down the drain by buying goods that do not quite fit the bill.
Analysis by ME has found 70 per cent of Australians concede they do not always return online purchases if they end up being the wrong size, colour or aren’t exactly what they wanted.
Johanna McNicoll, 24, said she purchased items online weekly – mainly clothes and shoes – and had avoided returning goods that did not end up being what she thought they would be.
“I always intend to return the item if it’s not right but sometimes I don’t do it,” she said.
“It depends on how much money I’ve spent and the timing of getting to the post office to send it back.”
Many stores have different policies on returning items and often end up stinging the customers if they have to post the item back. Some popular sites including The Iconic and Net-A-Porter offer free returns, but other stores including David Jones and Myer require the customer to pay to return the item themselves using snail mail.
ME spokesman Matt Read said shoppers needed to choose their items carefully.
“People need to think of online shopping as being very different to street shopping because it’s so immediate and spontaneous,” he said.
“The purchase doesn’t end until you have got it in your hand and if it’s not then what you want then you have to consider returning it.”
The research found shoppers typically want to return about four online purchases each year. The average amount they spend is $96 per item and the typical loss of not returning items is about $384 a year.
Consumer finance expert Lisa Montgomery said shoppers should always check the returns policies on websites before clicking “purchase”.
“Make sure you find out who offers free returns and then choose where you buy items from accordingly,” she said.
Originally published as Pricey problem catching out online shoppers