Stopping "Serial Refunders" Dead In Their Tracks

by 70 comments
I've seen the amount of serial refunders / thieves grow each year.. as I'm sure you have too.

Giving this problem a bit of thought, I think one possible way to stop them - or least slow them down, could be for sales management systems to increase seller protection and blacklist refunders, on a network wide basis.

For example, if Ejunkie, WSO Pro, (insert payment & delivery system here), etc, prevented serial refunders from purchasing any product on their network, it might slow them down, or think twice about which products they save their refund allowance for.

So.. let's use WSO Pro in this example (because most of us use it)..

Each buyer could have a limited number, or a set percentage, of allowed refunds. If they exceed that limit, they are blocked from buying any product using WSO Pro.

Or perhaps another way of doing it could be...

If 2 or more sellers click the 'blacklist' button, that buyer is blocked from buying anymore products being sold via that system.

OK, it's not a perfect solution, and people will always find a way a loophole, but it is a solution that existing sales systems could easily implement.

Clickbank claims to do this, but from what I've seen they don't enforce it - I could be wrong, but I haven't seen it for myself.

If a management system had this functionality and enforced it, I'd move my entire business over to it in a heartbeat.

What do you guys think?
#main internet marketing discussion forum #refunders #serial #stop
  • Profile picture of the author Burton Lancaster
    I think a blacklist is a great idea, don't stop at the username though ... let's blacklist the IP as well... pitch it to WSO pro... im sure they lose money on this as well and will be interested.
  • Profile picture of the author Odhinn
    And what about people who sell a product that doesn't do what it claims to do, or a software that doesn't install/run properly on your system? Or how about those "You make $500 in twenty minutes or I give you a refund!" people, certainly they get a few refund requests because people aren't all going to go through with it.

    Look, serial refunders are a problem, but why do we think that everyone who makes a refund request is doing so maliciously?

    I think a blacklist is a very bad idea, because over time, anyone who's ever asked for a refund, legitimately or not, will be blacklisted sooner rather than later, and that puts a dent in your potential sales.
  • Profile picture of the author Johnny Slater
    It would be pretty easy to do something like track times of sales and refunds. Then if you see someone getting refunds on 50% or more of their purchases within 48 hours of purchase you know that they are a serial refunder and can block them.

    Tracking and stats are not that hard and it wouldn't take much to put into place to create an an auto serial refunder ban feature.
  • Profile picture of the author seobro
    Hi Mick:
    This problem is indeed growing. Yeah, on that we can agree. What I have done is print out manuals in the form of paper. OK since they are not digital items anymore, customers have to pay postage as well as wait a few days for shipping to receive one.

    There is a 30 day money back guarantee, but they must return the item and pay shipping it back to me. Most serial returners are way too lazy to do this so, and I only have 3% return rate on non digital items mon ami.

    A friend of mine who still uses pay pal for selling reports is now moving to ask people for personal checks and or a mo. He is tired of all the hassles with credit cards and prefers people to pay using a mo.

    His return rate with pay pal using non digital items was approx 10% and with personal checks near zero. Sometimes, the old ways are the best ways. I also considering asking my consumers to send me a personal check or a mo.
  • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
    Originally Posted by Mick Meaney View Post

    Each buyer could have a limited number, or a set percentage, of allowed refunds. If they exceed that limit, they are blocked from buying any product using WSO Pro.

    Or perhaps another way of doing it could be...

    If 2 or more sellers click the 'blacklist' button, that buyer is blocked from buying anymore products being sold via that system.

    I think Mike should give this a GO in partnership with Allen and see what gives.

    We ALL need a long standing solution - putting serial refunders outside the loop is just the start.
  • Profile picture of the author CyberSorcerer
    How about a reporting site where IMer's can just take the refunders paypal name, IP, time of purchase, amount, etc and input it into the a form and the site stores it in the database.

    An algorithm can be made to analyze the input, cross referencing the name, IP, time, etc with all other entries matching that record and flag the person percentage of refunds to purchases, time between refunds, etc.

    This way when you input the record you can also see what his refund percentage is along with other important stats. No personal information just how often he/she refunds, time between refunds, etc.

    I have been wanting to do a site like this and collaborate with others in getting the details down. I can program it so that's not an issue.

    What's do you all think?
  • Profile picture of the author builder4580
    Who are these serial refunders? I suspect a lot (maybe the majority) are IMers looking for NEW information. When they make a purchase and find they are just getting regurgitated OLD information who can blame them for asking for a refund.
    Newbies and inexperienced IMers, on the other hand, may be seeing this regurgitated material for the first time and believe they have finally stumbled upon the Holy Grail.
    I believe to ban any refunder is short sighted and ultimately bad for WSO's.
    While I personally have never refunded, I have purchased what I consider garbage reports. Simple solution for me - never buy a WSO indiscriminately, they are no better than Clickbank offers.
    The way to stop refunders is to provide quality fresh content, I believe.
  • Profile picture of the author Joshua Rigley
    There was a service called "badcustomers" or something like that. That service was abused by unethical sellers, who would threaten anyone who asked for a refund to blacklist them.

    IMHO, it's best if people just develop their own personal policy for dealing with serial refunders and deal with them as they come.
  • Profile picture of the author CoffeeIceCream
    This is very similar to the people who buy clothing, wear it and then return it. Or people who buy new books, read 'em, and then take them back. I think the blacklist is a good idea, but it won't stop people from being dishonest in general.
  • Profile picture of the author David Sieg
    I contacted another warrior a couple of weeks ago about this same idea. I wrote...

    "...the idea is basically an online serial refunder, eBook thief database. If someone has a suspicion or knows, name, email address, IP address etc, is added to a database. Maybe their is some sort of filtering mechanism involved, i.e. a name has to be submitted 3 times, from 3 different vendors, etc. (Some criteria so competitors couldn't screw each other) It could even be tied in to various payment processors,, or even better, Clickbank, for example (Why aren't ANY OF THEM DOING THIS?? Insurance companies, credit bureaus for example keep track of people across boundaries for this reason.)

    Lets say for example, registered and recognized eBook thief "X" makes a purchase. The vendor is alerted. he has the option of letting the sale go through, blocking the sale, and/or refunding the sale without letting his product go through, or any number of options to be decided.

    Charge a small fee for the service $5 a month or so, or integrate with payment processors, and they could use it as an "add on" service.

    Of course, eBook thief "X" could just change email addresses, but this is where multiple filtering factors come into play. Chances are he wouldn't change is name, IP address, credit card info, buying preferences, etc. Of course he could, but he would be identified again shortly. The secret would be to keep the filtering criteria confidential."

    I would be very interested in starting something like this.
  • Profile picture of the author Regional Warrior

    Not so log ago we had a security software product on the market and went through the whole serial refunders
    so what we did is let the customers know that if they request a refund it would be provided at the end of the
    Guarantee i.e 30days.It did stop the flow of refunds from say 20 a month to 1 ,

    I do not know if this will or would work in the IM filed but I see no reason as to why It would not ! being that you are the
    Creator of the product and you put that in the T&Cs. or you could just do what Big Mike does and not offer one.

    It does stop people from buying the product if they know in advance that they do not get there money back until
    30,14 or 7 days time , most of the problem is that if you create a great product but has no way of stopping anyone
    from uploading to another site(Blue fart) It will stop most as they do not have too much to go around in there Pay pal account

  • Profile picture of the author Burton Lancaster
    I just noticed a black list button in WSO PRO ;;thumbs up::
  • Profile picture of the author Walters
    Good luck with that, But I think it is a long shoot. And it will not be easy. serial refunders will always be here and dubbing us whether you like it or not. The best we can do is try to slow down the amount and prevent them from growing.
  • Profile picture of the author aaronngoh
    First point,why people refund? the assumption here is they "steal" the product.

    What about the case that the product does not meet it requirement?

    If you want money back guarantee as a marketing tactic to get more sales, (assuming the product is real solid) then do the sum how many extra sales do you get?

    Is it a worth while marketing tactic?

    If the product has more than 10% refund rate, then it is time to bring back the product to the experiment lab.

    Hope it makes sense
  • Profile picture of the author mywebwork
    In principle I like the idea, but putting it into practice is going to be a challenge. If done incorrectly it could cause as many problems as it solves:

    IP Address - definitely not a good idea. I'm on a DSL modem, I can change my IP Address just by rebooting it (and I often do when the darn thing locks up). I can also get a new IP address by making my purchase with my netbook while riding on the train, in a shopping mall or at a coffee shop - admittedly not the most intelligent places to be doing a PayPal transaction but possible nonetheless. So an IP address-based system can be easily thwarted, and could very well lock out legitimate customers.

    Also, giving merchants the power to blacklist an individual sounds great, but could also be abused. Refund my crappy "Make 6000 dollars a day with no work" WSO will you - you're blacklisted buddy! There has to be some method of policing the merchants as well as the consumers, after all some refunds are entirely justified. Even those refunds that come one minute after a purchase can be legitimate - I personally know someone who has purchased the same product twice (actually she has done this more than once!) and only realized her error after buying it the second time.

    Please don't get me wrong, I love the idea. But like any protection system (Digital Rights Management is another example) it has to be done in a way that makes it almost impossible to lock out honest people, while being robust enough to keep the bad guys out. And that is not an easy task.

  • Profile picture of the author mayan21
    LOl, ok there is 10 products for 8$ and all of them saying if u buy this u will make 500$, 1000$ in 1 week/month or i will refund u, and a member goes to buy all of them, then he realize there is nothing in those ebooks and he wont made any money, so whats his option? ask for refunds for all 10 wso's, he have rights to do so, how can u blacklist them? most of wso offers non-question asked refunds.

    I think this is a stupid idea but good for sellers anyway, try to start a seller rating system and a method to blacklist bad sellers. not buyers. no one will ever ask for a refund if the product help him to make a signal doller
  • Profile picture of the author LB
    There's two really easy things that could be done to reduce this.

    1. Paypal should allow personal blacklists. I shouldn't have to depend on a third-party system to block certain buyers. Paypal could easily let me filter out people by their Paypal email address.

    2. Payment systems like ejunkie, WSOPro, etc. could implement a filter that could be configured by account like: "Block buyers who have requested X refunds within the last X days." ebay does something similar by allowing the blocking of bids from accounts with little or no feedback. This would not create any sort of centralized list but would allow each seller to determine their level of risk.
  • Profile picture of the author jezbiz
    these refunders would certainly cause a lot of harm especially for first time info product creators..
  • Profile picture of the author JamesGw
    It'd definitely have to be a percentage and pretty high as well, I think. If you refund over 50% of the products you buy or something, then you should get B&*

    *number of purchases would have to exceed 10 before this kicks in.
  • Profile picture of the author David Hooper
    This topic always reminds me of a friend of mine who was a slumlord and got pissed because she was getting bad tenants. Not calling you guys slumlords, but the problem can easily be solved by providing better services/products and putting your focus into attracting better customers.

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