Does a guarantee really help you make a risky purchase?

16 replies
A few years ago, a customer had a bunch of questions about a product and then added, "I know you have a guarantee, but I don't feel comfortable using them. I need to know ahead of time if this is what I need."

This was the first inkling I had that some customers - I don't know how many - don't feel much or any reassurance about a money-back guarantee. This is not due to lack of trust. Rather, they just don't feel right about returning things and getting their money back.

Now I'm on the other side of this. I want to buy eyeglasses from Warby Parker. They have a free try-at-home program where they'll send you some frames with no prescription so you can decide which frames you like. However, the ones I'm looking at are not in the program. I called up the company to find out if there's any way I can pay for a try-on of the frames I am looking at, and they said no, not unless I go ahead and place a real order, complete with my prescription. They emphasized that if I wasn't happy with the glasses I could return them, even though they had made them up with my prescription.

This left me feeling uneasy. Even though I have 100% confidence that they will give me my money back if I am not happy, I don't feel right about ordering customized glasses from them and then returning them because I don't like the frames. My discomfort is enough that I am looking at other options where I can try on the frames first, even though I'll end up spending more money.

Somehow it feels morally wrong to me to get them to make up a customized item for me when what I really need and want is simply a try-on.

I'd love to hear from others who feel qualms about ordering even though there is a money-back guarantee, because they don't like asking for refunds. Do you feel this way, and can you say why?

Marcia Yudkin
#guarantee #make #purchase #risky
  • Profile picture of the author Robscom
    I don't like refunds.

    If it's something I absolutely cannot use (like a shirt that is too small -- too big and I would make it work), I would return or exchange it.

    I don't think I'd ask for a refund for a digital product. (Unless it was software that just didn't function.)

    I'd rather make sure it was something I needed/expected first.
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    • Profile picture of the author webmarke
      Originally Posted by Robscom View Post

      I don't like refunds.

      If it's something I absolutely cannot use (like a shirt that is too small -- too big and I would make it work), I would return or exchange it.

      I don't think I'd ask for a refund for a digital product. (Unless it was software that just didn't function.)

      I'd rather make sure it was something I needed/expected first.
      I totally agree.

      I can say that I have never ask for a refund for a physical product and rarely for a digital one.

      Like Robscom....I only ask for refunds for digital products when they are software that don't work! This has only happened 1 time. I bought a software that was suppose to let you post to all your Google+ groups at once with 1 click and the software did not work at all. That's is when I asked for a refund.

      As for reports and video tutorials...I try never to ask for a refund because I only buy cheap courses and most of the time the courses have at least 1 or 2 things that I can add to my marketing arsenal. I don't expect any course I buy for less than $10 to change my life and I can get any value out of it, then I will not ask for a refund.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    Marcia - If I wanted the eyeglasses I would order them - and be sure to pay with a credit card just in case there were problems. Also if you have the message from the company in writing - I'd save that communication with full date/etc.

    Buying "specs" might not be the writeoff a returned pair of prescription glasses would be (for the company, that is).
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  • Profile picture of the author Rose Anderson
    I admit I hate asking for refunds. I try to make sure of what I'm buying as much as possible before I buy.

    I've only asked for a refund once and though the seller offered a "no questions asked" guarantee she was very snippy and insisted I tell her what I didn't like before she refunded my money. For me, it's not worth the hassle.

    Rose
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  • Profile picture of the author danieldesai
    Originally Posted by marciayudkin View Post

    I'd love to hear from others who feel qualms about ordering even though there is a money-back guarantee, because they don't like asking for refunds. Do you feel this way, and can you say why?

    I can relate to this.

    While I've never refunded anything I bought online, there have been a few times I was less than satisfied with the product.

    I usually put a lot of foresight into any buying decisions I make these days, so in the event I pay for something I don't like, I chalk it up to an error on my part to see if the product/service was a good fit for me.

    Daniel
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  • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
    A risky purchase suggests a product that you're buying unseen or have little prior information about, so generally I wouldn't call purchases of physical goods "risky" - at least not expensive ones. And nowadays most places accept returns or offer exchanges, so a guarantee wouldn't likely affect the decision.

    With digital products, there's a simple heuristic. If the sales pitch makes a big deal of the money-back guarantee - avoid.
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
    Banned
    Whenever someone mentions a money back guarantee that tells me the seller knows what they're selling sucks.
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    Marcia, in this case, I'd go ahead and order the specs and not worry about asking for a refund if necessary. Why? They made the offer. You asked for the alternative of just the try-on frames and they countered.

    Perhaps they find sending that particular model out on spec (pardon the expression) riskier than a potential refund.

    As a general consideration, I do ask for refunds when something is not as represented. I'm not going to let someone cheat me because they might feel bad about refunding. On the other hand, I'm in the camp that says if I buy something and get any value from it, I'll keep it.

    I can only remember asking for refunds on information products a few times. Most were Kindle books that were so badly done or blatantly misrepresented that NOT asking for a refund would be doing the public a disservice. One of the first times, the seller responded to my "no questions asked" refund request by accusing me of trying to steal his miserable ebook.

    The other was when I bought an ebook from Dr. Mani (used to be a member here) and realized I'd bought the same ebook from two different offers. When I told him what happened, I got the digital version of a chuckle and an immediate refund.

    Too late to make a long story short, for me, a guarantee is only as good as the seller's reputation. In the earlier cases I mentioned, the guarantee could have been backed by the almighty and I wouldn't trust the seller any more. In Dr. Mani's case, the guarantee wouldn't influence me because my experience dealing with him was always positive.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve B
    I think in many cases people don't like asking for refunds because it can put them in a confrontational setting - and there are many that don't like that adversarial position (business owners included).

    I believe the best approach to avoid confrontation as a business owner is to position yourself on the side of the customer. You're going to bat for him, help him personally to be satisfied when all is said and done. You're in his corner. It changes the dynamic from me against you (like butting heads) to both of us trying to find a workable solution.

    Large corporations have a difficult time with this because their policies get in the way. The person at customer support can't change the rules.

    But you, as the business owner, can set your own rules and handle the situation in a way that is fair and comfortable.

    Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author DRP
    This thread reminded me of this little gem:


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  • Profile picture of the author newbim
    I think, for me, it depends on how much the product cost in relation to what my expectations are. As 'value' is subjective, it's a tricky one. If I were in your shoes, I would order the glasses with the security that I can ask for a refund.

    I don't wear glasses, but I know the chances are they'll be able to resell to someone with your prescription, but if not, could they give you an option to keep the lenses, and just refund the cost of the frames? (That may sound like a really stupid question, I don't wear glasses ).
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  • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
    I don't wear glasses, but I know the chances are they'll be able to resell to someone with your prescription, but if not, could they give you an option to keep the lenses, and just refund the cost of the frames? (That may sound like a really stupid question, I don't wear glasses ).
    Hah! There probably isn't a single other person in the world with my prescription, much less one who wanted those exact frames. That's why this tugs at me. Glasses are not like a piece of clothing that can be resold. It's something customized that needs to be ground up and is mostly wasted.

    And I know me, the chances are very good that I won't be satisfied with the first frames I try!

    Marcia Yudkin
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  • Profile picture of the author StavrosSc
    Yes, I appreciate full money back guarantees since the IM industry is chalk full of so many scams and misrepresentation.

    I think places like ClickBank and JvZoo would be in big trouble without their easy to get money back guarantees. For that reason alone I don't mind purchasing there.
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  • Profile picture of the author Richard Rago
    Hey marciayudkin,

    I appreciate your apprehension in potentially knowingly wasting this companies time and money.

    However I think you're looking at it the wrong way.

    When you buy a product or service from a company, their not doing you the favor, and your not doing them the favor, it is (or should be) a mutually beneficial transaction.

    It is their job to earn your business.

    If they want to earn your business as cheaply as possible, then they should find a way to offer you the "free try-at-home program" with the frames that you want.

    If they can't do that, then they are failing to deliver.

    I hope you get your new goggles.

    Best.
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  • Profile picture of the author desley
    Great thread. I have absolutely no compunction requesting a refund if the product is shoddy. If I do get even a nub of value, an idea or a strategy with a twist or whatever, I will not seek a refund.

    For me, if the vendor offers a money back guarantee then it is my right as the customer to request a refund, if the product is shoddy. I got way past feeling uncomfortable about seeking a refund from a shop many years ago. Then again I'm a tad bit old in the tooth, so these days, if the guarantee is offered I expect the vendor to uphold this guarantee, if required and make it as painless as possible for the customer.

    What annoys me if when I request a refund on a shoddy product and the vendor changes the request to a support ticket to try and drag things out.

    Recently I had experience of a Fiverr vendor who wanted to give me a full refund if I withdrew my not so positive review. I refused the refund for 3 reasons, the vendor had done a lot a work (revisions) on the task and he simply did not compute my requests. I didn't feel comfortable seeking a refund under this circumstance. Secondly I don't like being bribed. My not so positive review would inform others prior to purchasing the gig this vendor is good at some things however not so good at others. Thirdly I had paid for the task and felt it better to put it down to experience, even though I did try to be very, very careful and contacted the vendor prior to placing the order, read all the reviews and looked at his overall rating.
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  • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
    Recently I had experience of a Fiverr vendor who wanted to give me a full refund if I withdrew my not so positive review. I refused the refund for 3 reasons, the vendor had done a lot a work (revisions) on the task and he simply did not compute my requests. I didn't feel comfortable seeking a refund under this circumstance. Secondly I don't like being bribed. My not so positive review would inform others prior to purchasing the gig this vendor is good at some things however not so good at others. Thirdly I had paid for the task and felt it better to put it down to experience, even though I did try to be very, very careful and contacted the vendor prior to placing the order, read all the reviews and looked at his overall rating.
    Good for you! A lot of Fiverr vendors keep their review stats looking good using tactics like these, and it winds up being misleading to others.

    Marcia Yudkin
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