Oct. 1, 2012 at 1:09 PM ET
One out of 10 smartphone buyers returned their phones in the past year, with many buyers saying the reason was because the device was defective.
The return rate is the highest of consumer electronic devices, says The NPD Group in a new report, "Consumer Electronics Product Returns," which finds that approximately 18 million U.S. consumers returned an electronics product in the past year. In comparison to smartphones, 4 percent of flat-panel TV buyers returned or exchanged their sets.
The NPD Group said of those returning their smartphones, 57 percent said they main reason they took it back was because the device was defective, but that almost half said something could have been done to prevent the return.
Among the top three "preventative measures," NPD said: "a service plan or warranty, better after-purchase support from the retailer, and more explanation from an in-store sales person."
For many who take their smartphones back, "new features like touchscreens, sensors, and Internet connectivity have made electronics devices more complicated to set up and use for some, thus creating the perception of product defect," said " said Ben Arnold, director of industry analysis at NPD, in a statement.
“Making sure the consumer knows how to use their new device, whether it be a smartphone or a PC, and knowing how to use it before they leave the store helps increase product and retailer satisfaction," he said. "Earlier this year our Tech Support Services Study found a majority of consumers used tech support for troubleshooting and how-to-support, not for product repair, just more evidence that these devices are working but that consumers are having trouble operating them.”
NPD did not ask the 2000 adults surveyed last May about brands or types of smartphone, a spokesperson for the research firm told NBC News.
But 60 percent of the smartphone exchanges were made for the same brand or model phone, NPD said.