After all the anticipation and waiting, you’ve finally opened your holiday gift and…of course, it’s not the right [size/color/fit/brand/model/age-group/etc]. Like many of us, you’re now faced with the ultimate question: what to do about returns, exchanges or refunds.
Since we at STELLAService knew you’d ask, we went ahead and road-tested the top 25 largest online retailers to see which ones have the most customer-friendly returns and refund processes (we tested the same 25 retailers that we evaluated in the 2011 Cyber Monday Customer Service Study).
As part of this assessment, we ordered and returned (via USPS standard ground) several products from each retailer to various parts of the country over the last few weeks (understanding it may be even tougher during the days and weeks after Christmas). Your return and refund experience, as well as the policies you’re up against, will vary depending on where and when the gifter ordered your present.
Several top retailers extended their normal return windows to account for the large number of people who will need to initiate returns or refunds over the next few weeks. If retailers can extend their policies during the holidays, can’t they just leave them extended during the rest of the year?
It’s also worth noting the varying refund processing times. While retailers often blame banks for slow refunds, our data suggests that the companies’ return processing cycle (i.e. the time to process a return and initiate a refund after the returned product reaches their warehouse) has a lot to do with how quick the retailers are in getting you your money back. As usual, some companies go out of their way to make life easier and better for their customers, and some don’t.
Are you wondering how the top online retailers rank after taking into account all of the major customer service metrics during the holidays? So are we…stay tuned!