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Christmas Cheer Hardware Technology

Finnish IT Retailer Reveals Most Returned Products 108

jones_supa writes: The largest computer gear retailer in Finland, Verkkokauppa.com, has unveiled top 20 lists of most returned and most serviced equipment in 2015 (Google translation). To offer an alternative to Black Friday, the company is going with a theme called "Sustainable Christmas". They want to guide shoppers to make good choices, as product returns always create extra burden for the distribution chain. Is there anything that catches your eye in the lists, or something else that you would like to warn about?
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Finnish IT Retailer Reveals Most Returned Products

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  • How the fuck do you achieve near 50% return rate on a USB extension cable ?

    Seen a statistic that claimed, over 30% of clothes bought online are returned as well. "Color not as expected.." - Go calibrate your monitor, FFS. The rest of us be paying the costs for this (near incredible) waste.

    • That cable is three times longer than the standard allows. I imagine it just doesn't work very well.

      • The cable is fine, it's the software and/or hardware not being capable of coping with the added latency. I use an active USB repeater cable of the same length without issue for a keyboard and mouse. However, I've seen products that cannot cope with the latency such as digital whiteboards and flatbed scanners.

    • I unfortunately bought a shorter version a while back and the connector at one end (that is basically 1 port hub) is badly designed and came apart after about 10 plugin/pull out cycles..

    • Personally, I don't put much weight on the return rates at all; a humongous amount of people don't really understand what they're buying, then when they receive the package they realize it's not what they actually intended and then return it -- none of that says anything about the product itself. Warranty repairs, on the other hand, tell a whole lot more about the products themselves.

    • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 ) on Saturday November 28, 2015 @07:18AM (#51016891)

      Color not as expected.

      Ordered white/gold dress, received blue/back one...

    • I've bought three of the past two years to run my htpc in the loft. They are really unreliable, I'm not even sure I'm going to replace the one that broke in the last power outage we had. The repeaters seem to be the problem, it still passes power.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Some of those figures reveal a low sample rate, would be nice to see how many actual units were returned as well.

    • by aix tom ( 902140 )

      Yeah. Percentages are pretty meaningless without a "total number"

      I remember a while back that there were at least fire people *in panick* in my company because in one store the profit margin on one product group "went into the cellar". They *just* looked at the profit margin percentage that popped up in a list and went havoc. Havoc enough to escalate it to *me* (the software developer) to see if that "could be right".

      I just had to look at the revenue / volume columns right next to the percentage to see what

    • Some of those figures reveal a low sample rate, would be nice to see how many actual units were returned as well.

      Yeah, 20.00% tells me that most likely only 5 or 10 units were sold. Too small a sample size to tell us much of anything.

  • by mentil ( 1748130 ) on Saturday November 28, 2015 @07:18AM (#51016889)

    The list is no surprise. Their top returns can be classified into 3 categories:
    1) Tablet cases/covers. Oftentimes they explicitly claim to fit the iPads, and also other 10.1/7" tablets, but end up too loose and the tablet slips out, and of course the straps aren't adjustable. Few people bring their tablet into the store to check, and it's likely a present and still in a box.

    2) Devices which utilize radio waves. Interference by walls/furniture, and other devices, cause reception to vary widely. The overloaded 2.4GHz spectrum is making this gradually worse. For wireless audio, people have little tolerance for the signal cutting out. Remember 'antennagate'? A poor wifi antenna can make a tablet (or unlocked phone) hard to use.

    3) Sticks of RAM. I was kinda surprised by this, although thinking back to how many unused sticks of RAM I own that my mobos just won't work with for various reasons, it shouldn't be too surprising. Some people likely get SODIMMs instead of DIMMs and vice versa, or the wrong speed, or the wrong DDR tech.

    In brick and mortar, top electronics returns are phone chargers with the wrong plug (Lightning instead of micro-usb or vice versa), and $5 headphones whose wires snap after bending them twice. Tablets are next, followed by Wifi speakers. God, the tablets; the cheap ones are cheap enough to be unusable, but are expensive enough to warrant returning, so the return rate is ~75% on some of them. Printers were very frequently returned because the manufacturer tried to save 50cents by not including a USB-B cable; customers would complain it had no cable, and for some reason they don't have a dozen laying around their house like I do. Only including a black ink cartridge and no color (or vice versa) was another frequently given reason. If people weren't able to rip the packaging open and try it on, I imagine many smartphone cases would be returned; apparently noone knows what phone they have, and have to try to put the case on in order to figure out if it'll fit. At best, they know they have an iPhone, or 'a Samsung', but most often, it's e.g. 'a Verizon'. Most amusing return award: an HDMI cable returned for 'not working with a 3d signal' despite the packaging explicitly saying it did. Surprisingly, (small) TVs were almost never returned, I guess they really do encourage passivity.

    • It's always the same brands too. The fall into two categories:

      1. Crap brands who bought the name of a previously respected company, e.g. Polaroid. If people buy a "Logik" brand device they don't expect much, but if they buy Polaroid and it's terrible they will return it. Plus the Polaroid name usually costs more.

      2. Expensive brands that don't live up to expectations. Apple refurbs are a good example. You might save 50 Euros but people still expect it to be perfect.

      • Crap brands who bought the name of a previously respected company, e.g. Polaroid

        Interestingly, the "Polaroid" camera listed there (the Polaroid 300 / Polaroid PIC-300) is actually just a *Fujifilm* Instax Mini 7 camera. That's right- the only camera Polaroid now sell that uses anything like the traditional Polaroid film technology is actually one made by Fujifilm (who licensed the patents from Polaroid)!

        The current owners of the Polaroid brand *do* appear to be treating the instant photography line with a little more respect than the previous owners (who cancelled the original Polaro

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          They sell Polaroid batteries in Poundland, and they are shit. They don't last long and they leak. The name has been ruined.

    • In brick and mortar, top electronics returns are phone chargers with the wrong plug (Lightning instead of micro-usb or vice versa)

      So not only does Apple flaunt the EU directive to standardize on micro-USB for phone charges, it shifts the cost of their non-compliance onto retail stores (and thus the rest of us) which have to deal with the returns?

  • by Golden_Rider ( 137548 ) on Saturday November 28, 2015 @08:02AM (#51016987)

    Number 11 on the top list of returned refurbished products is a "remote-controlled rechargeable Panzer III". Well, I guess once you have flattened your neighbour's home, there is not much use left for having your own Panzer. Wonder how often that one has already been sold and returned again.

    • Well, the PzKpfw III wasn't all that great a tank. They probably traded them in for Vs. (Tigers were even deadlier, but they were slow and lacked cross-country ability).

  • If I were a manufacturer with a 20% return rate on my products, I'd do the following:

    1. Put an immediate message out that "We have our best people working feverishly on the issue."

    2. Force my engineering and channel sales experts to conference call each and every customer until they learn enough about the issue to fix the reason the product was returned.

    3. Perhaps the products are not defective (such as RAM) but that the purchase process does not identify the correct RAM needed. I'd have my software team

    • by rvw ( 755107 )

      If I were a manufacturer with a 20% return rate on my products, I'd do the following:

      1. Put an immediate message out that "We have our best people working feverishly on the issue."

      2. Force my engineering and channel sales experts to conference call each and every customer until they learn enough about the issue to fix the reason the product was returned.

      3. Perhaps the products are not defective (such as RAM) but that the purchase process does not identify the correct RAM needed. I'd have my software team write code to detect the correct RAM needed (for example).

      4. I'd tie the design team's bonus structure directly to return rates.

      5. Lastly, I'd also close the loop with distributors - any product where return rates started to climb would be pulled.

      (When you are getting a 20% return rate, you're not making profit anyway.)

      You forget:

      0. Check the sales numbers. If the product is sold only five times, there's nothing to worry yet about the return rate, but marketing should get their act together.

    • by lucm ( 889690 )

      When you are getting a 20% return rate, you're not making profit anyway

      How can you make that kind of blanket statement? It totally depends on the profit margin and the cost of restocking. If you get 98% profit on $200 items that cost $3 to restock, who cares about 20% return rate.

    • It all depends on how much you charge for shipping&handling. Some of the lesser reputable TV shops pretty much live by their "100% return" guarantee, which is quite sustainable with a 20+ bucks shipping&handling fee that you don't get refunded.

    • Said company only operates in half this context. A RAM mfg isnt going to make that tool...the burden is on MS. It would piss off investors/be a waste

  • They forgot average Slashdotter's rate of returned date invitations:

    108%*

    * Percent exceeds 100 due to frequent double responses of "No. God no."

  • Seems like WD Black hard drives have some quality issues.

    • It seems legit, it seems like there are huge returns, it seems relevant...
      But without actual sales numbers we don't know if an item with a 50% return rate is one out of two sold, or five out of ten or fifty out of a hundred...

      As for WD Black drives...
      They are slightly pricier - and they come with a 5-year warranty. Most other WD drives come with a 2- or 3-year warranty.
      Which gives those WD Black drives more time to start "acting suspiciously".

      So the customer is incentivised to send it back and most likely g

    • What strikes me as far more interesting is that people bother with retailers when it comes to WD RMA. WD has maybe the most hassle-free RMA service in the industry, the last thing I'd want to go through with them is the usual "take it to the retailer, wait 4-6 weeks for replacement" spiel.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        You should realise that Finland is not the United States, and you just do not send products back to manufacturers here in socialist Finland. The retailers are the ones who handle returns and warranty claims and everything.

        • by sjames ( 1099 )

          That used to be expected in the U.S. as well. Take it back to the store, show that it doesn't work and a receipt to show when you bought it. Leave with a new one.

          Really, it makes sense. The store is the one that has a business relationship with the manufacturer. You bought the item from the store.

          If the brick and mortar stores in the U.S. hadn't stopped doing that, they might stand a chance against online retailers.

      • Can confirm the AC. In Finland it is typical to have warranty returns handled through the retailer.
      • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
        If you bought a SATA when you wanted a PATA, how would warranty repair help you?

        If you can return it to the retailer for a full refund the next day, and get another brand new one, why would you bother with a warranty return of any kind? 4-6 week replacement time at a retailer sounds quite illegal. It's a return of DOA and a new purchase, not a repair at the retail shop.
      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        What strikes me as far more interesting is that people bother with retailers when it comes to WD RMA. WD has maybe the most hassle-free RMA service in the industry, the last thing I'd want to go through with them is the usual "take it to the retailer, wait 4-6 weeks for replacement" spiel.

        Not really. Seagate used to have the best - for $10 you not only get an advanced shipment drive, but you also get a label to return the old one - which I always used because $10 is less than half what return shipping is. A

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