Study: Costly electronics product returns on the rise

Consumers are returning lots of electronics products, and it's costing the U.S. consumer electronics industry a bundle, says a study by Accenture. According to the management consulting firm, product returns cost U.S. consumer electronics retailers and manufacturers nearly $17 billion this year, an increase of 21% since 2007. Included in the $17 billion are costs associated with "receiving, assessing, repairing, reboxing, restocking and reselling returned products," Accenture reports. Product return rates over the past three to five years have increased for 57% of the retailers and 43% of the manufacturers surveyed by Accenture. If there's any positive news for the industry, it's that just 5% of returns are related to actual product defects, Accenture says. Indeed, 27% of returns reflect "buyer's remorse" and 68% of returns are characterized as "No Trouble Found." Accenture calculates that just a 1% reduction in the number of "No Trouble Found" cases could save a typical large manufacturer about $21 million in return and repair costs or $16 million for an average consumer electronics retailer.

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