What Is The Most Common Customer Reason for Returns?

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Most common customer reason for returns

Last Updated: April 2024

Product returns are an inevitable part of the business. The average return rate across all retail categories is 10.6% in 2022, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).

Most customers tend to buy from you only when you have a friendly return policy. While it is good to have a generous return policy, it is more important to understand the most common customer reasons for return. 

Let’s walk in to know about it. 

Reasons for customers returning their purchases

There could be different customer reasons for returns, of which we will discuss the top ones.

1. Customers ordering the wrong product or size

Customers mostly return their products when they have ordered the incorrect item, whether it is a device peripheral or a garment that doesn’t fit.

It is possible to reduce the faults when the customers order items carefully. 

To reduce the frequency of returns, you should provide your customers with appropriate data. For instance, a list of compatible goods along with their full specifications. Purchasing the proper-fitting garments is also made easier with the size chart.

2. Shipment of the wrong product

Often, you will see that the main reason for the return of an item is when customers receive the wrong item. 

It is estimated that 23% of returns are due to wrong-product shipments. It may be that the product delivered is of a different brand or that the garment delivered is of a different color. 

Carefully monitor all the product specifications ordered by your customers to avoid shipping incorrect items.

3. The product is defective or damaged

Another major reason customers return their items is when they receive a damaged product. 

It is estimated that 80.2% of returns happen because the product is damaged or broken.

During shipping or packing, items from warehouses can cause damage or defects to products.  

Damaged products during shipping, especially fragile ones, indicate that items are not protected sufficiently. 

You need to keep an eye on the service providers and maintain the safe packing of the items.

4. Late arrival of the product

Customers order certain items that are bound to be time sensitive. Almost 7% of returns occur due to late product deliveries. They expect the products for certain reasons when that is not being fulfilled then the delivery is marked as a late arrival. 

In this situation, customers buy the product elsewhere and do not require the ordered product anymore. Such situations become a reason for returning items

The best thing that you can do to reduce this kind of return is to give your customers up-to-date shipping information and order tracking numbers. This allows customers to track the order in real time. Also, you can process the orders quickly to deliver the products on time.

Order tracking with shipping details

5. Mismatch of product description

64.2% of returns occur due to mismatches in product descriptions.

If the description of the product on your website or catalog doesn’t match the appearance or functionality of the product, then it leads to a drastic disappointment to the customers and becomes the reason for returning an item

Mostly It happens due to inadequate product descriptions and not clear images of the item. 

However, providing honest and detailed product descriptions and photos of the product along with the marketing materials to your customers solves this issue.

6. Product not meeting the customer expectations

At times, customers bring their assumptions and anticipate products differently than what is described or listed in the catalog. When their expectations are not met in real time, customers tend to get disappointed. 

Usually, this happens for fashion items, as the product image cannot describe the exact performance. 

In this instance, offering a refund to your customers can help you to avoid chargebacks and maintain customer loyalty.

7. Experiencing buyer’s remorse

One of the bizarre situations is when customers buy a product impulsively and return it without any reason. 

At that point, if they are not able to return the item, they become disappointed and charge it back, even if they have no legitimate reason for doing so.

As a result, it makes more sense to accept the return and initiate a refund.

8. Product purchase is for gifting purposes

Most customers buy products for gifting purposes. Sometimes the gifted products may not be beneficial for the gifted person, or they may not like them. 

Most gifting products come with a disclaimer saying that “you can return it if you don’t like it” and in many cases, that is exactly what happens. 

In such cases, you should understand the customer’s situation and either propose a different product or accept the return.

9. Found a better price 

The next valuable reason for return is that customers find other e-commerce services providing better prices for the product they have ordered. In such cases, the customer returns the product and it becomes a challenging criterion to provide the best quality offers. 

To compensate for such losses from being undercut by competitors, provide your customers with price and quality guarantees.

10. Fancy purchase

A “fancy purchase” is nothing more than customers buying the product and intending to return it once it has been used for a specific purpose. Usually, it is called “wardrobing.” 

It includes fancy garments that are worn for a party or any item that is used temporarily for a specific event and then returned after that. 

It is very difficult to overcome these types of customer activities. For those fancy products, it is better to request pictures from the customer and review the quality of the product before accepting the item.

11. Fraudulent purchase

Some of the return reasons are to launder money from stolen credit cards. Initially, the fraudster pays for an item with a stolen credit card and then returns it for cash. 

Avoid such activities by either reimbursing purchases with the original card or providing in-store credit only. The use of anti-fraud tools that block stolen card transactions gives a better helping hand to solve this issue.

12. Unfamiliarity with products  

Customers tend to buy products for which they are not certain about the way to use it like buying a peripheral for a device with different specifications or buying a reference book but that doesnt actually play its role. In such cases, they tend to return their products. This happens due to inadequate knowledge about the product among the customers. So it’s better to provide a detailed description or a  video about the functioning of the product to help the customers get a better idea.

All this becomes easier when you have software that manages all the operations

from product ordering to returns and even assists you in customer services. That is Saufter which is a one-stop solution for it.

Meet Saufter, The Best Returns Management software! 


Saufter provides an exceptional self-help experience by automating workflows from checking order status to creating returns and exchanges..

With the help of an AI-powered chatbot, Saufter automatically offers deals and discounts and answers product-related queries.

It also provides the following features.

    • Engages your customers by integrating through various social media platforms.
    • Routes your customer queries with AI-based technology.
    • Automated agent training and testing process help to save money.
    • Provides US-based live chat answering service experts to support your eCommerce business.
    • Automatically tracks the packages and provides status reports.
    • Use of conversational IVR system to handle bulk customer queries.

Thus, with the help of Saufter, you can achieve consistency and provide automated brand interaction with your customers. 

Finally, Saufter provides 24/7 order monitoring services to avoid delays in product delivery. 

Wrapping up

As seen, there are varied reasons for customers to return their products. You can overcome those return issues by providing full product descriptions and offering quick product deliveries.

To handle customer requests and queries, use the best customer support software, Saufter

It supports your eCommerce business by monitoring customer orders and automating returns and exchange processes. A proper support service with the help of software like Saufter paves the way to reduce the number of returned products and helps to lift your eCommerce business.

Start your 15-day trial here!




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