One in Six Women admits to Wardrobing

1 in 6 women admit to ‘wardrobing’ and 1 in 10 admit to committing the offense regularly, according to latest research.

Wardrobing is the increasingly common practice that takes advantage of retailers’ flexible returns policies.  People are buying the latest trends, wearing them for an event and then returning the garment for a refund.  This practice can apply to any type of goods, but most commonly refers to clothing.

The research comes from, and corroborates separate research from desktop counter fraud services provider, VFM Services, which has found that 1 in 10 (5 million*) UK adults have admitted to committing a fraudulent retail offence.

The research from VFM Services also found that 1 in 20 adults admitted to deliberately damaging an item so that they could get a refund or exchange and the same number admitting to falsely claiming that an item hadn’t been delivered in order to get a refund, or replacement.

Sally Griffiths, Director VFM Services, comments: “Retailers know that fraud in the industry is a huge problem, and ranges from offences such as ‘wardrobing’, to fraudulently obtaining (and subsequently spending on) a store card. On their own, the amount of money claimed from a retailer may seem insignificant but the frequency is steadily rising, costing the industry an estimated £3.4 billion in 2012**. Retailers can and should increase their efforts to stamp out this problem.  There are effective counter fraud methods that can be put in place.”

“Retail staff on the shop floor and in call centres can be trained to use psychological techniques to help identify fraudulent behaviour in customers, which could not only help to reduce fraud, but also to help change the perception amongst shoppers so they realise that it absolutely isn’t acceptable to defraud a retailer, and that actions won’t go unpunished.”

VFM Services was amongst the first desk-top based counter fraud detection and prevention specialists in the UK.  Its management team pioneered the innovative conversation management technique that is now widely used across several industries to cost effectively detect fraudulent activity over the phone.


Notes to editors:

*10% of all UK adults = 0.1 X 50,371,000 UK adults = 5.03 million

**Retail Fraud Survey 2012


Opinium Research carried out an online survey on behalf of VFM Services of 2000 UK adults aged 18+ from 10-13 May 2013. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria.


For more information please contact:

SJ Douglas, Spotlight Communications on 07909546104 or

About VFM Services

The pioneers of Conversation Management, VFM’s innovative desktop screening technique delivers a highly effective counter fraud solution for both opportunistic and professional fraud, eliminating the need for lengthy field investigation, reducing claims lifecycle and lowering claims cost.

In addition, VFM offers a wide portfolio of tailored services including outsourced claims management, conversation management and ACFTech training accredited by Portsmouth University and the Counter Fraud Professional Accreditation Board.

VFM Services works across a range of market sectors to help them manage fraud whilst treating customers fairly.  For example VFM works with major insurers and to date, VFM has saved the insurance industry over £58m since 2004 through its fraud detection programme. In 2012 alone, VFM handled circa 30,000 claims, with 33% of these nil settled.





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