$4.5bn wasted every year on "No Fault Found" mobile phone returns

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A recent study suggests that nearly two-thirds of mobile phones returned to the manufacturer by consumers are in perfect working order.

Of these:

* 38% were from users who gave up after trying to use a specific application, and failing.
* 13% were from consumers who said they’d been mis-sold the device and it was unfit for purpose.
* 49% were from those who thought that a lack of pre-configuration was a fault.

Each returned phone costs the industry around £35, which adds up to £54m in costs to the UK mobile industry, and $4.5bn globally.

According to Doug Overton, Head of Communications for WDSGlobal, “The mobile phone has become the poor relation to its consumer electronics cousins; mp3 players, digital cameras and mobile gaming devices all generally provide a more fulfilling out of box experience to the consumer. The industry needs to look at the causes behind this trend and take positive action to improve the general out of box experience for the mobile subscriber; a simple analysis of support call trends and records provides all the necessary intelligence to work upon”.

Once again, the industry also blames poorly trained sales staff, with a mystery shopper survey revealing that "40% of assistants were not accurately positioning or selling products". Bet they know what the latest ringtones are though…

Then again, some of the responsibility has to fall on the consumer. The terms "research" and "RTFM" spring to mind.

Andy Merrett