Unwanted online purchases costing Australians nearly $400 a year: ME Bank

author-avatar By on March 13,2019
Unwanted online purchases costing Australians nearly $400 a year: ME Bank

Photo by Artem Bali on Unsplash

Not returning unwanted items bought online is having a pretty serious impact on our bank accounts, according to a new ME Bank study.

ME Bank surveyed 1,000 adults and found that while digital shopping makes our lives easier, not returning unwanted items is costing Aussie shoppers $384 per year.

That’s enough money to pay for a morning coffee for nearly four months.

70% of respondents admitted to not returning items that weren’t right for them, whether that was because they were the wrong size or of poor quality.

ME Money Expert Matthew Read said it’s important to consider returns as an important part of the online shopping process.

“It’s not over when you get your item; what you choose to do with the item at that point is a deciding factor between a healthy or hurt hip pocket,” Mr Read said.

“As with all expenses, it’s important to keep track of what you spend because little things can add up to a large amount that may be best spent, or saved elsewhere.”

The average spend per online purchase in Australia is $96, according to ME Bank’s survey.

“The ease and convenience of ordering items online doesn’t always match the time and effort involved in returning items, so be prepared for that, unless you’re willing to absorb the loss,” Mr Read said.

“It can be tempting to let it slide ‘this time’ and choose not to return a low cost online purchase, but if you’re like most online shoppers, chances are it’s not a once-off occurrence and the costs add up, fast.”

Afterpay begins 48 hour ‘AfterYay’ sales

These comments from ME Bank come just as buy-now pay-later juggernaut Afterpay launches its 48 hour sales bonanza ‘AfterYay’.

Starting from March 13, dozens of retailers will offer discounts of up to 65% from stores like Shaver Shop.

The first AfterYay sale in 2017 broke retail records, with $15 million worth of sales processed in just two days with 1.5 orders processed through Afterpay’s platform every single second.

While there are undoubtedly some good deals available, shoppers should heed ME’s warning and be wary of over-spending, especially on things they don’t need.

Not only could they end up wasting money on unsuitable products, spending too much on platforms like Afterpay can lead to debt and late fees if the entire balance isn’t paid off in time.

Afterpay’s terms of service states:

Afterpay allows you to pay for your purchase over 4 equal instalments due every 2 weeks.

For each order below $40, a maximum of one $10 late fee may be applied per order. For each order of $40 or above, the total of the late fees that may be applied are capped at 25% of the original order value or $68, whichever is less

That $348 per-person figure could be inflated if late fees are brought into the mix.


For feedback or queries, email will.jolly@savings.com.au

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William Jolly joined Savings.com.au as a Financial Journalist in 2018, after spending two years at financial research firm Canstar. In William's articles, you're likely to find complex financial topics and products broken down into everyday language. He is deeply passionate about improving the financial literacy of Australians and providing them with resources on how to save money in their everyday lives.

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