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Fraudulent Returners Unmasked: New eBook investigates the reality of retail returns fraud

January 21, 2019

We’ve all got an item or two lurking in our wardrobe that we’ve only worn once. Maybe it’s a dress bought for a co-workers wedding, or a pair of leather-look jeans that make a slightly squeaky sound when you walk. After removing the tags and wearing it once, we keep telling ourselves that we’ll wear it again one day... in truth it’s probably doomed to spend the rest of it’s days forgotten at the back of our wardrobe until you watch ‘Tidying Up With Marie Kondo’ on Netflix and decide a clearout is due!


However, some sneaky shoppers believe they’ve found a way to cheat the system and get their money back for their worn purchases. This activity, known as ‘wardrobing’ has earnt it’s fair share of airtime in the UK press recently blaming ‘serial returners’ and Instagram addicts as the culprits for sending back used products. However, few people seem to be turning to shoppers to get their side of the story on these ‘hashtag moments’ and ‘snap and send back’ phenomenons. We decided to get the full story by surveying 2000 shoppers and 200 retailers about their take on just how commonplace this type of returns fraud really is as explored in our latest eBook “A Guide To: Returns Fraud”


Download the eBook

In the eBook, we explore whether retailers concerns about wardrobing are justified by comparing the responses of shoppers with the retailer views from the surveys to discover how big an issue this really is.

Our research uncovered that just 5.2% of shoppers have returned worn items more than once in the last 18 months. Yet, 67.5% of 200 retailers believe that wardrobing is common in their business. So what leads to such disparate responses? Are shoppers simply dishonest or do retailers merely not understand their returns?

According to a study by Brightpearl, 59% of retailers lack clarity over whether or not they can identify serial returners. Whilst serial returners and fraudsters certainly shouldn’t be branded the same, if retailers can’t even identify which shoppers are sending lots of items back, it seems unlikely that they could accurately comment on the condition of these products to determine whether or not they have been worn.

Whilst some retailers try to follow Amazon’s lead by banning serial returners, we’re urging retailers to strive for a more data-driven approach to returns. By better capturing and understanding their returns data, only then can a retailer begin to understand the true lifetime value of the customer.

Our Director Of Data Innovation, Vicky Brock says:

“An effective returns strategy requires a nuanced, data-driven approach, as this will highlight that even the majority of customers who ‘wardrobe’ still keep more than they return. By banning repeat returners, retailers risk alienating shoppers who spend far more than they claim in refunds.”

To uncover the full story download our eBook “A Guide To: Returns Fraud”.

Download the eBook