Morally Questionable, Opportunistic Product Returns

An Analysis of the Consumer Behavior to Order Products on the Internet with No Concrete Purchase Intention
  • Jana Katharina Lochner
Conference paper


There are more and more consumers who order products on the internet without having a concrete purchase intention. Nevertheless, morally questionable and opportunistic product returns still remain a relatively underexplored research field. Due to the occurring negative consequences of increased product returns both for online retailers and the nature, it is relevant to address the motivation and attitude of the practicing consumers. Thus, the aim of the study is to find out what overall reasons and attitudes there are for consumers to generally order products on the internet with no purchase intention and if they make use of any justifications regarding their behavior (with reference to the neutralization theory of Sykes and Matza, 1957). As a research method, qualitative semi-structured interviews are conducted with consumers who occasionally act the indicated way. The results show that the consumers almost only refer to garments within their statements and that the predominant reasons for exercising the behavior is the need to compare various articles of clothing at home and the fact that the consumers commonly assume beforehand that not all products are going to meet their demands and expectations. Furthermore, they apply a range of justifications in order to dissolve the cognitive dissonance that results from the discrepancy between their attitude and the exerted behavior. In the end, three additional techniques of neutralization could be proposed: Comparison with other people or circumstances, Downplaying the negative consequences and Moderating own behavior.


Purchase Intention Cognitive Dissonance Opportunistic Behavior Neutralization Theory Product Return 
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Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fachhochschule Kufstein TirolKufsteinÖsterreich

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