Not offering a 100% no questions asked refund policy means look out your being scammed... WRONG!

121 replies
Over and over I see people posting saying that merchants must offer a no questions asked refund everyone for anything refund policy or they are scamming you. It seems so many people feel they are entitled to a refund just because they want one these days.

There is nothing that says you have to give a refund to everyone no matter what, other than the bunch of people who feel they are entitled to it. Refunds are not a right, they are something that the merchant can CHOOSE to offer but are not requirements.

Time and time again you see people saying things like "I would never buy from anyone who didn't offer a refund policy." or "If they don't offer refunds then they must know their product is junk." How many of those same people have purchased cars before, or houses, or cd's, or dvd's, or any one of the millions and millions of products offered offline every day which have no refund policies attached to them?

The decision to offer a refund policy is solely up to the merchant, not the customer. Customers do not dictate the merchants policies. Merchants have many reasons for not offering refund policies, or limiting them to specific conditions. You can't get a refund on a car just because you want one. You can't get a refund on a cd or dvd unless it's still shrink wrapped and has never been opened. Most software come with no refund policies attached to them.

It seems some people need to drop the entitlement thinking and realize that just because we are online doesn't mean you are entitled to anything. Just because you "feel" like you deserve a refund doesnt mean your "entitled" to one.

I've had several people complain about my own refund policy. Guess what, its not changing. The ironic thing is of the customers who paid several hundred dollars for my product only 1 has ever asked for a refund. Of those who paid less than $100 more than half have. Nothing was different in the product but the difference was in the customers perception.

Not one of the customers who asked for a refund even bothered to consult with me before going directly to PayPal. Over half of them had minor issues which could have been handled within 3 minutes of letting me know what was going on.

The idea that just because you don't like what you purchased you should be allowed to get your money back is complete crap. Most online merchants now post written out terms of service that you have to agree to before purchase, which is a requirement under US FTC laws. If you know what your buying before you purchase, and you agree to the merchants terms before purchase, then your not entitled to anything.

A merchant has the option of choosing to offer a refund, but it's just that... a choice. The merchant is not required to give you anything other than the product you paid for. If you don't like the product then don't buy anything else from the merchant ever again but don't get a bur up your hind end and go crying for a charge back just because you "think" you are entitled to it.

What most people may not realize is that when you do a charge back it costs the merchant more than just the money you paid them. On top of having to refund the purchase price the merchant will have to pay a fee of around $35 per charge back. This comes out of the merchants pocket. So by going to your bank or CC company and issuing a charge back your keeping the product you purchased, getting your money back, and costing the merchant money on top of that. Who is scamming who here?

I can pretty much guarentee that of those who scream over and over just go file a charge back very few of them have ever had anyone do that to them. Once they have to pay those fees and know they were scammed by a customer they will stop repeating that line of bull over and over.

Use some common sense, take some personal responsibility, do some research before you purchase, don't purchase if you think something doesn't seem right but don't go causing other people money they earned that has nothing to do with you just because you feel your entitled to something that your not.
#100% #asked #means #offering #policy #questions #refund #scammed #wrong
  • Profile picture of the author mudmat
    I've not been a merchant/vendor before so I did not realise that there a charge back fee for refunds.

    I agree with you that people should not ask for refund just because they don't like the product. It is not fair to the vendor and it cost the vendor money.

    I admit that I'm guilty in some instances where I request for a refund but after hearing this, I might think twice before requesting a refund.
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    • Profile picture of the author Johnny Slater
      If you sell anything, anything at all where you take money from someone else in exchange for something then your a merchant. And that opens you up to the posibility of charge backs.

      Originally Posted by mudmat View Post

      I've not been a merchant/vendor before so I did not realise that there a charge back fee for refunds.

      I agree with you that people should not ask for refund just because they don't like the product. It is not fair to the vendor and it cost the vendor money.

      I admit that I'm guilty in some instances where I request for a refund but after hearing this, I might think twice before requesting a refund.
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    • Profile picture of the author Don Schenk
      Originally Posted by mudmat View Post

      I've not been a merchant/vendor before so I did not realise that there a charge back fee for refunds.

      I agree with you that people should not ask for refund just because they don't like the product. It is not fair to the vendor and it cost the vendor money.

      I admit that I'm guilty in some instances where I request for a refund but after hearing this, I might think twice before requesting a refund.

      This is for mudmat,
      A chargeback (forced refund) is different than a refund. The chargeback happens when a merchant won't refund (maybe for a legit reason) and the customer goes straight to their charge card company and wants the charge card company to get the refund by taking it out of the merchant's checking account.

      However, if the customer is really way wrong about getting a refund, the charge card companies will side with the merchant and not issue the chargeback.
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  • Profile picture of the author valerieSONORA
    I hate the refund scammers who buy products with full intention on refunding. That way they get whatever they want for free. Makes me not want to offer refunds in fear of the serial refund scammers with no conscious.
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  • Profile picture of the author The Wanderer
    It's true there's no general right to a refund in the US (although there is in some countries) but most states require that you post your refund policy prominently. If you don't, the default assumption is usually that you do allow refunds. As long as you make it very clear that there are no refunds, I, personally, think you have every right not to grant them. I, personally, would probably not buy anything from you, either. I say this even though I have never asked for a refund on any product, even when I had good cause to do so. I simply chalk it up to experience --and don't do any business with that merchant again. To me, offering no refund does suggest that you are less than certain of your product's quality. If you aren't confident that I will be satisfied with it, why should I be?
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    • Profile picture of the author Kunle Olomofe
      This is an interesting post and links directly to this other warrior post...

      http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...ed-refund.html

      Valuable piece of info and advice in both...

      As well as varying view points. As always.

      Personally, I don't refund willy nilly as a buyer. And as a seller I'd rather just refund you and let it be done at that than keep money you don't want me to keep. The case would be different if I made it clear up front that refunds for that specific product can not be offered for certain reasons, e.g. it's service-based, we have practically given you a satisfactory way to try before you even paid, or whatever else...

      Refund scammers (both buyers and sellers) will sadly always be a problem but these are always few in comparison to the up front parties online so lets just hope it stays that way.

      Cheers,

      Kunle
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    • Profile picture of the author mbrown
      Personally, I offer a refund on nearly all my products. However, I say nearly because one of the products I offer no refunds on is a membership site of mine where the customer gets access to information that only 100 people get access to and the only reason I don't offer it is to protect the other members who I've promised that I....

      A). Don't give the information out to more than 100 people, period.
      B). Don't give it away for free.

      So to prevent violating any rights I've given them I simply don't allow refunds on it. However, it's all right up front when someone goes to join the site. Which probably doesn't help conversion rates but ethically speaking - there are no questions as to my policy when they join up.

      As far as are refunds a must? For me they are - I put them on there. Yes, serial refunders come around but not in a ratio that would seriously hurt my business.

      I agree with johnny on the refunds though as far as when people do refund many, typically skip dealing with the merchant and go right to paypal, clickbank, etc.

      If you do need something refunded as a consumer the best practice is to contact the original merchant and see if they can help you with the problem. You don't see people walk into a retail store anywhere and have their money instantly credited to them, they have to actually speak to a representative of that company.

      The funny thing is i was having a conversation on skype with another marketer this morning and he brought up the point that as the Internet keeps getting faster, people are less patient. This is the same for online customer service and refunds, people want something fixed immediatley and sometimes it's not possible. For instance if I'm sleeping I can't contact you or if my affiliate manager is sleeping he won't be able to respond. If it takes 3 days to get back to someone that's a different story....
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  • Profile picture of the author Glenn Leader
    I find it frustrating too. In my sales letters I clearly state exactly what my
    product does, sometimes underselling the benefits. Quite often, you have to
    engage your brain in order to make things work for you. Again, I state that
    in my sales letters.

    People being people, and lazy, the biggest refund excuse is that they have
    to spend a bit of time setting my systems up to get the benefits. Well Duh!
    Anything worthwhile needs some effort. Of course they get a refund.. they'll
    need to money, as they're too lazy to make any decent income off the 'Net.

    Phew! I feel better now for getting that off my chest

    Glenn
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  • Profile picture of the author Steven Carl Kelly
    I find it very, very difficult to agree with anything in the OP's post.
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    • Profile picture of the author Glenn Leader
      Originally Posted by faxinator View Post

      I find it very, very difficult to agree with anything in the OP's post.
      What are your actual disagreements?
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    • Profile picture of the author Johnny Slater
      In that case do both of us a favor and never purchase anything from me.

      Honestly, you don't have to agree with anything I said. It doesn't matter one way or the other. People will believe what they want to believe and that's fine. Such is life.

      Originally Posted by faxinator View Post

      I find it very, very difficult to agree with anything in the OP's post.
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      • Profile picture of the author Steven Carl Kelly
        Originally Posted by Johnny Slater View Post

        In that case do both of us a favor and never purchase anything from me.
        This probably won't sound right in print rather than verbally, but your request is really a given. I really don't buy anything online that doesn't include a money-back guarantee. So as long as your policy is that no refunds are available, then there's no chance I'm buying from you.

        I hope that doesn't come across the wrong way, I'm not trying to be a jerk (I can usually manage that WITHOUT trying). I respect your ability to decide your own business practices. However, I -- like some other percentage of buyers -- do prefer to deal with sellers who offer a guarantee of protection.
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    • Profile picture of the author tomw
      Originally Posted by faxinator View Post

      I find it very, very difficult to agree with anything in the OP's post.
      Why? This is a discussion forum...so discuss...

      P.S. without trying to sound facetious Steve, I notice that you do not offer a money back guarantee on either of your WSOs and so I would be interested to hear why you disagree with Johnny's point of view so vehemently.

      P.P.S. that's a great blog post, Glenn.

      Thomas
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      • Profile picture of the author Steven Carl Kelly
        Originally Posted by tomw View Post

        Why? This is a discussion forum...so discuss...

        P.S. without trying to sound facetious Steve, I notice that you do not offer a money back guarantee on either of your WSOs and so I would be interested to hear why you disagree with Johnny's point of view so vehemently.
        Actually, that's an interesting point! Everything I sell has a 100% unconditional money-back guarantee -- that's my core philosophy. I guess I really never thought to post that explicitly in my WSO's because it's just a fact and is a hard-wired part of my mindset.

        I appreciate you pointing that out, because that is a huge oversight on my part. Next time, I'll make sure I add that in!

        I never, ever refuse a refund. I never, ever feel put upon because a customer requests a refund -- regardless of the reason. I have this philosophy that I actually NEED my customers in order to continue to earn revenue from them.

        Believe me, I've seen far more money earned over the years come from treating my customers well than by treating them with suspicion. Back in the day pre-PayPal, when it was very common for people to pay for online goods by mailing a check to the seller, I knew many people in IM who refused to accept checks for fear of having them bounce. I accepted checks, received HUNDREDS of them, and never, ever had one bounce intentionally. I've only ever had one check bounce, it was an oversight on the buyer's part, and they immediately sent me a money order to cover it and the fees I paid.

        No, I think there is more money to be made in being positive about my business and confident about my products and trusting of my buyers than to be distrusting of my customers and not allowing them any "outs".
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        • Profile picture of the author tomw
          Originally Posted by faxinator View Post

          Actually, that's an interesting point! Everything I sell has a 100% unconditional money-back guarantee -- that's my core philosophy. I guess I really never thought to post that explicitly in my WSO's because it's just a fact and is a hard-wired part of my mindset.

          I appreciate you pointing that out, because that is a huge oversight on my part. Next time, I'll make sure I add that in!

          I never, ever refuse a refund. I never, ever feel put upon because a customer requests a refund -- regardless of the reason. I have this philosophy that I actually NEED my customers in order to continue to earn revenue from them.

          Believe me, I've seen far more money earned over the years come from treating my customers well than by treating them with suspicion. Back in the day pre-PayPal, when it was very common for people to pay for online goods by mailing a check to the seller, I knew many people in IM who refused to accept checks for fear of having them bounce. I accepted checks, received HUNDREDS of them, and never, ever had one bounce intentionally. I've only ever had one check bounce, it was an oversight on the buyer's part, and they immediately sent me a money order to cover it and the fees I paid.

          No, I think there is more money to be made in being positive about my business and confident about my products and trusting of my buyers than to be distrusting of my customers and not allowing them any "outs".
          Hey Steve,

          Thanks for the reply. I kind of thought that would be your stance. I agree with a lot of what has been said here. I don't much care for the entitlement culture that prevails particularly in the IM niche. The concept of pushing the freeline, amongst other things, although it obviously works for the big guys, has altered the expectations of IM prospects to assume free content and to adopt a mindset of anything goes and that it is their right (their entitlement) to believe that the customer is unequivocally right, period.

          This has obviously had quite an effect on the little guy and it has forced most of them to adopt pretty extreme doubt dissuasion tactics such as lifetime updates, life time "loophole free" guarantees or countless and ridiculous levels of bonuses, just to make a low cost front end sale.

          At the end of the day a sale is a form of "conventional" contract where something is offered under a set of terms and either those terms are accepted and the product is purchased or they are not and no sale takes place.

          Customers have to take responsibility for their purchasing decisions, regardless of the tactics we as marketers employ in order to persuade them to purchase.

          The argument that big stores such as Wall Mart etc offer an unconditional money back guarantee doesn't really hold water when it comes to information products or software licenses. This is what the original discussion concerned. Such a policy is a part of a well worn value positioning strategy that many retailers adopt, particularly pile 'em high sell 'em cheap supermarkets. Having worked with many of them, (the very latest was Iceland in the UK) I can tell you that this is a deliberate and by numbers strategy. Would you expect anything less from serious marketers? It is a well constructed safety net to reassure customers. It's just another string to the trust building bow. So few actually take advantage of it that the numbers are negligible and this simply folds into a much wider loss leader percentage that every retailer adopts.

          A more appropriate comparison is to ask when was the last time you went into Barnes and Noble, purchased a book, took it home and read it, and then decided that it was your right as a customer to expect a refund because you didn't really enjoy Harry's latest potty adventure? How often have you actually gone back into the store, armed with your entitlement mindset, and demanded a refund, or called your credit card company and demanded a chargeback?

          As for software, this is a whole other ball game as has been stated. Generally customers merely license it, and, as such, the license can contain almost anything that the vendor chooses. Yet, so many customers attempt to return it because it didn't do exactly what they wanted. Well...if we could simply return stuff because it didn't do what we wanted the economy would fall apart!

          Some examples...

          Those Calvin Klein boxers didn't give me a six pack
          That Prada aftershave didn't turn me into a babe magnet
          That Mercedes convertible didn't make me so cool after all
          That Southern Comfort didn't instantly make me more popular
          That Ole Hendriksen face serum goop didn't make me look ten years younger
          That latest Indiana Jones movie was poo
          That software didn't solve all my database problems
          That ebook didn't make me rich

          You see?

          However, I do not advocate that every prospect should adopt a caveat emptor approach or that the merchant is absolved of any responsibility or liability for the quality of the product offered.

          Regardless of anything its simply good business to offer a term of guarantee and I think that it is the right and ethical thing to do, but ONLY where appropriate.

          Because of more factors than is possible to go into here, the nature of such business has shifted from vendor/product focussed to customer focussed and as minnows trying to compete with huge multinationals and household name brands all that the IMer can do is offer the shirt off their back to make a measly $5K or $10 per month. But this is not a mandatory requirement just because a few of your customers believe that they are entitled to receiving it.

          Thomas
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          • Profile picture of the author Chris Lockwood
            Originally Posted by tomw View Post

            A more appropriate comparison is to ask when was the last time you went into Barnes and Noble, purchased a book, took it home and read it, and then decided that it was your right as a customer to expect a refund because you didn't really enjoy Harry's latest potty adventure?
            I've never done that, but it may surprise you to learn that many large chains like that WILL refund you in that situation if you return the book in "like new" condition. Not CDs or DVDs, but printed books, yes. I think amazon.com has the same policy on books.

            Yes, that means someone can read the book for free and return it, but they could also just sit in the store and read it free... and if it's like new when returned, there's no real harm done.

            Also, when something is returned to a store like Walmart and is not in good enough condition to put back in stock, the store will often return it to the manufacturer or destroy it- and the manufacturer, not the store, gets to take that loss.
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            • Profile picture of the author tomw
              Originally Posted by Chris Lockwood View Post

              I've never done that, but it may surprise you to learn that many large chains like that WILL refund you in that situation if you return the book in "like new" condition. Not CDs or DVDs, but printed books, yes. I think amazon.com has the same policy on books.

              Yes, that means someone can read the book for free and return it, but they could also just sit in the store and read it free... and if it's like new when returned, there's no real harm done.

              Also, when something is returned to a store like Walmart and is not in good enough condition to put back in stock, the store will often return it to the manufacturer or destroy it- and the manufacturer, not the store, gets to take that loss.
              Well, you learn something new every day, but this is not the case in the UK...I'm pretty sure.



              Yes, I know a lot of distribution is on a sale or return basis, but I didn't really want to delve too deep into the topic.

              Sense as always, Chris.

              Thomas
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            • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
              Originally Posted by Chris Lockwood View Post

              I've never done that, but it may surprise you to learn that many large chains like that WILL refund you in that situation if you return the book in "like new" condition. Not CDs or DVDs, but printed books, yes. I think amazon.com has the same policy on books.
              I have bought probably close to 500 books from Amazon over the years, and I returned one of them for a refund. I don't remember what the book was, only that I was outraged that the author and publisher had the nerve to call it a book. Amazon refunded my money.

              I suppose someone could argue that since they were not the producer, why should they take the hit for that book? But on the other hand, they got the book back in excellent condition and could sell it to someone else.

              Anyone who would refuse a refund in that situation is going to have problems with customer loyalty.

              Marcia Yudkin
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          • Profile picture of the author Jay Jennings
            Originally Posted by tomw View Post

            A more appropriate comparison is to ask when was the last time you went into Barnes and Noble, purchased a book, took it home and read it, and then decided that it was your right as a customer to expect a refund because you didn't really enjoy Harry's latest potty adventure? How often have you actually gone back into the store, armed with your entitlement mindset, and demanded a refund, or called your credit card company and demanded a chargeback?
            I didn't have an "entitlement" attitude, but a few years ago I bought Michael Creighton's Prey from Barnes & Noble and read it that evening -- and hated it. Thought it was one of the stupidest books I'd ever read -- I finished it because I kept expecting it to get better because I usually like that author.

            The next day I went back to B&N and told them I read the whole thing, told them I hated it, and asked if I could have a refund. They said, "Sure, no problem."

            I wouldn't have been mad if they said no, but if something I buy is not "right" for me, why shouldn't I ask for a refund? Even in the case of a "no refund" policy I'd ask for one. Wouldn't expect to get it, but like my experience with B&N, maybe I'd get a pleasant surprise.

            Jay Jennings
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      • Profile picture of the author Glenn Leader
        Originally Posted by tomw View Post


        P.P.S. that's a great blog post, Glenn.

        Thomas
        Thanks Thomas, it's amazing how innocent children can teach old fogies like me lessons in
        business. They don't ponder about if something will work, they try it out and discover for
        themselves what works, and what doesn't.

        Maybe I should demand a refund from Parker Brothers because I was soundly beaten by a
        couple of girls.
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        • Profile picture of the author DavidJBrooks
          I think that it always pays to remember the 80/20 rule. Don't spend 80% of your valuable time chasing your tail because of the 20% of difficult customers that are often just looking for a reason to be unhappy.

          State your terms of purchase/refunds, refund according to those terms with no fuss, and get on with the most productive use of your time that you can find.
          Dave B.
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  • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
    Originally Posted by Johnny Slater View Post

    The decision to offer a refund policy is solely up to the merchant, not the customer. Customers do not dictate the merchants policies. Merchants have many reasons for not offering refund policies, or limiting them to specific conditions. You can't get a refund on a car just because you want one. You can't get a refund on a cd or dvd unless it's still shrink wrapped and has never been opened. Most software come with no refund policies attached to them.
    Yea, those pesky customers...wouldn't business be much better without them? :rolleyes:

    Actually, customers do and should dictate a merchant's policies. That is, unless operating a business is purely an act of self-indulgence.

    The comparison with offline, physical products is misleading - cars, cds etc., once used, lose some of their value. So returns policies reflect that.

    Online digital merchants need to overcome customer mistrust and uncertainty, both in their brand and in the method of delivery. That's why an unconditional guarantee is so valuable.

    I've been involved in offline retailing and believe me, the benefits of online selling, with no stockholding, delivery and warehouse/retail premises costs, make the few refund requests pale into insignificance.

    Be grateful for the technology that allows us to sell our digital products all over the world 24/7 and suck up those few refunds as a (tiny) cost of doing business.

    Your bank balance and your blood pressure will thank you for it.


    Frank
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    • Profile picture of the author Chris Lockwood
      Originally Posted by Frank Donovan View Post

      Actually, customers do and should dictate a merchant's policies. That is, unless operating a business is purely an act of self-indulgence.
      Cool. I've decided that all your products should cost 50 cents. Please send me the links to your sales pages.

      I was going to decide they should be free but decided to cut you a break.

      I also think all the stores and restaurants in my town should be open 24/7, regardless of the cost to them, just in case I get the urge to go shopping at 3 AM.

      I've also decided that gas stations should charge me $10 a year for all the gas I want. Yes I realize they will lose a lot of money, but I'm the customer, so whatever I want is obviously the right thing to do.
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      • Profile picture of the author garyv
        Originally Posted by Chris Lockwood View Post

        Cool. I've decided that all your products should cost 50 cents. Please send me the links to your sales pages.

        I was going to decide they should be free but decided to cut you a break.

        I also think all the stores and restaurants in my town should be open 24/7, regardless of the cost to them, just in case I get the urge to go shopping at 3 AM.

        I've also decided that gas stations should charge me $10 a year for all the gas I want. Yes I realize they will lose a lot of money, but I'm the customer, so whatever I want is obviously the right thing to do.
        Notice how Frank says "customers" plural - and not customer should dictate a merchant's policy. That means you take into account what your customers (plural) are saying as a whole, and adjust your policy accordingly.
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  • Profile picture of the author Loren Woirhaye
    There are simple ways to deal with this. Package a software
    product with your thing as a bonus for example... and don't
    let 'em have it until they've elapsed some time or filled out a
    survey saying they are satisfied.

    Of course if you are marketing to teenagers you will probably
    have a refund problem, for a couple of reasons...

    The original poster has a good observation that at a much higher
    price customers were less likely to ask for a refund - perhaps
    because they assumed it was a more complex product and that
    it would take some effort to learn to use it.
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  • Profile picture of the author tommygadget
    I offer my clients an iron-clad money back guarantee. I know that there will always be someone who simply does not like my product for whatever reason. Instead of creating a vocal enemy who might also upload my ebook to a file sharing service, I simply and courteously refund them without issue. That's just good business. I've done this online and offline.

    TomG.
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  • Profile picture of the author athena08
    I have never requested a refund either, even though many times I felt the products I purchased did not live up to their promises. This has included big ticket items also.

    That said, I do see it as sign, sometimes, when there is a no refund policy that the merchant has doubts about the value promised with their product and would think twice about buying such a product.

    I think also that refunds are a cost of doing business online and have to be dealt with.

    In my opinion it would be better to give the refund rather than risk the likelihood that the dissatisfied customer would then go around writing negative things about doing business with me that could potentially ruin chances of making sales from other legitimate customers.
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  • Profile picture of the author Johnny Slater
    Some good points have been brought up so far.

    To address two points...

    About worrying about your product possibly being placed on a file sharing site if you don't give a refund. That's going to happen no matter what you do so it really shouldn't be a consideration. Even huge ticket items costing several thousands of dollars are placed on file sharing sites within 24 hours of them going on sale.

    About worrying about negative comments of dissatisfied customers. That's going to happen no matter what as well. You can't please everyone. It is not possible and anyone who tries is fighting a losing battle.

    Instead of cowering down and backing down on principles to perhaps make a few dollars, IMO, it would probably be better to have something you believe in and are willing to stand up for. No matter how you look at it I would rather have fewer sales and keep my integrity intact. But thats just me and I don't expect everyone to think the same as I do.
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    • Profile picture of the author tommygadget
      Originally Posted by Johnny Slater View Post

      Instead of cowering down and backing down on principles to perhaps make a few dollars, IMO, it would probably be better to have something you believe in and are willing to stand up for. No matter how you look at it I would rather have fewer sales and keep my integrity intact. But thats just me and I don't expect everyone to think the same as I do.
      I am not sure why you think offering a guarantee is cowering and backing down on principles. If my ebook does not help someone make money, I will honor my refund policy. If they wanted me to build a website and I did the work and transferred the site to them, I would NOT offer a refund. The policy should be evaluated based on the service and or goods being purchased. If I wrote a batch of articles, I expect to be paid, but if I shipped someone a box of printer paper, I would refund them the purchase amount if it did not work in their printer. Does this make sense Johnny? I don't consider this cowering, do you? If you offer a product that involves your time to build a custom solution, that time is spent and is not eligible for a refund, on that I'll agree.

      TomG.

      PS - I don't condone serial refunding purchasers who want to skate by on other people's hard work, not one bit.
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  • Profile picture of the author frolicz
    I agree, we need to give the refund, or else you take all the risk. We all know that customer are always right when it comes to business. We must follow as a business man and woman.
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    • Profile picture of the author MikeAmbrosio
      Originally Posted by frolicz View Post

      I agree, we need to give the refund, or else you take all the risk. We all know that customer are always right when it comes to business. We must follow as a business man and woman.
      That can be dangerous thinking...

      I used to run a small hosting business a few years ago. One reason I got out of it is having some customers who bought into that "I am a customer, so I am always right" attitude.

      In the hosting business, many customers think that web HOST is the same as web MASTER. They expect - and demand - you do things like:
      • Upload all my files for me
      • Install and configure my scripts
      • Create my pages for me (yes - they sometimes DO expect that)
      It didn't matter that I had a terms page that specifically said that was NOT part of the deal.

      So by your statement, I should have simply relented because they are the customer so therefore they must be right.

      Sorry. I'd rather (and have) fire customers like that.

      And oddly - speaking of money back guarantees - I have had customers that would sign up for my hosting and then not use it. 4 or 5 months would go by then they would want a refund for ALL payments.

      Again - sorry. The decision not to use it was theirs. Not my problem. I happily refunded the last month, but that was it. I even had one try to chargeback for 5 months, but I won that one.

      Which brings me to chargebacks that customers may not understand...

      You don't automatically win those. They are reviewed.

      It also stays in your record. A CC company could as easily drop you as a customer if you file too many chargebacks. It does happen.

      Refund policies in my opinion, help conversion. I offer them on all my products. My refund rate is very low too.

      Mike
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  • Profile picture of the author cclou
    Originally Posted by Johnny Slater View Post

    Over and over I see people posting saying that merchants must offer a no questions asked refund everyone for anything refund policy or they are scamming you. It seems so many people feel they are entitled to a refund just because they want one these days.
    It's not that everyone who doesn't offer a money back guarantee is a scammer. It's that, unless I have a reason to trust you (previous relationship or recommendation from someone I trust), I will look for a guarantee. Most physical products can be returned. If they can't, they can be re-sold. A car I would take for a test drive and order a Carfax report (that gives the previous history of the car, like if it had been in a prior accident). With digital products you don't have that.
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  • Profile picture of the author RichardDean
    Hello,

    Frank

    Can you send me your product for free because I'm going to ask for a refund anyway. What do you say to that?

    "The comparison with offline, physical products is misleading - cars, cds etc., once used, lose some of their value. So returns policies reflect that."

    Downloads lose value also as soon as it is downloaded, it is opened it can be copied it can be shared and so on.

    If it can be duplicated then you should have no refund at all.

    A refund to me tells me that they don't believe in their product or the ability to do what is needed with it.

    This goes along with hype and over statements even lies to sell you on the product in the first place. all the other fake crape people use to make their product look good.

    I believe in every product I have it works as I say, you don't need hype or half lies to sell so then you need no refund police.

    My refund rate is under 1% for thousands sold.

    frolicz

    "We all know that customer are always right when it comes to business."

    Please send me your products for free because I know I'm right when I say I want it for free.

    hope that helps

    Richard
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    • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
      Originally Posted by RichardDean View Post

      Frank

      Can you send me your product for free because I'm going to ask for a refund anyway. What do you say to that?
      Richard, several things:

      1) There are always going to be some people who expect everything for nothing.

      2) Ordering a product whilst knowing you'll be asking for a refund no matter what, isn't big and it isn't clever. So grow up.

      3) Rather than fret over the few negative people who might get a thrill out of doing this, I'd rather give my focus to ensuring that the vast majority of customers are happy enough to come back again and again.

      4) Offering an unconditional guarantee doesn't preclude me from firing a "customer" for being a pain in the **s.

      Hope this helps.


      Frank
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      • Profile picture of the author DavidO
        This is a great thread with some serious issues and thoughtful answers!

        I wouldn't think of selling my product without an unconditional guarantee. In fact, I increased my guarantee period from 30 days to 6 months and my refunds actually decreased. I'm considering raising it to a year.

        By the way, my product comes in digital and physical versions and the refund rate, surprisingly, is slightly higher for the physical product. Not that it's much anyway. My long-term refund rate is 1%, which has recently increased slightly, probably due to the financial crisis making people think more about their money.

        Having said that I might think differently about this issue if I were in a different market. I deal with a mature market who don't buy or refund frivolously. If I were dealing with a youth market or in some kind of edgier niche I could see myself getting real annoyed with scam refunds. Nevertheless, I think the negative effect on conversion of no guarantee would be worse.

        As for the offline market, I don't know of a single retailer that doesn't offer a no-questions-asked guarantee policy. Big ticket items like cars can be a little different and property sales is a whole different world.
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      • Profile picture of the author The Wanderer
        And notice also
        Originally Posted by Frank Donovan View Post

        ...
        4) Offering an unconditional guarantee doesn't preclude me from firing a "customer" for being a pain in the **s.

        ...
        Frank
        I'm sure several of the responders here would qualify for that.

        I also agree 100% with this:
        Originally Posted by Frank Donovan View Post

        ...
        3) Rather than fret over the few negative people who might get a thrill out of doing this, I'd rather give my focus to ensuring that the vast majority of customers are happy enough to come back again and again.
        If the product is even halfway decent I'm sure there will be many more, like me, who won't ask for a refund even if they're not satisfied than those that will. There's important information to be had from us if you pay attention-- which you can't easily do if you're obsessing over all the ways in which you might be being cheated.

        And while offering a full guarantee isn't the only way of establishing credibility, it's a good way. There are people I might buy from who don't offer a guarantee-- but only ones who have built my trust in other ways over a long period of time.

        Your customers may not be automatically entitled to a refund. But by the same token, neither are you automatically entitled to our trust.
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        • Profile picture of the author Johnny Slater
          A major difference here is I dont expect anyone's trust. I don't demand anyone's trust.

          As Debbie pointed out.. it's not about should you offer a refund policy or not. It's about customers who expect refunds even when you don't have a refund policy, just because they want one.

          There is a huge gaping difference between those two.

          Originally Posted by The Wanderer View Post

          And notice also



          If the product is even halfway decent I'm sure there will be many more, like me, who won't ask for a refund even if they're not satisfied than those that will. There's important information to be had from us if you pay attention-- which you can't easily do if you're obsessing over all the ways in which you might be being cheated.

          And while offering a full guarantee isn't the only way of establishing credibility, it's a good way. There are people I might buy from who don't offer a guarantee-- but only ones who have built my trust in other ways over a long period of time.

          Your customers may not be automatically entitled to a refund. But by the same token, neither are you automatically entitled to our trust.
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          • Profile picture of the author The Wanderer
            Originally Posted by Johnny Slater View Post

            ....it's not about should you offer a refund policy or not. It's about customers who expect refunds even when you don't have a refund policy, just because they want one.

            There is a huge gaping difference between those two.
            Wait a minute-- when you don't offer a refund policy or when you have a 'no refunds' policy? There's a huge, gaping difference between those two. If you don't state your refund policy up front then I don't think you have any grounds for complaint if people assume you do allow them. In fact, as I pointed out earlier, most states require that merchants post their refund policies -- and if it's not, the default assumption is that you are entitled to a refund.

            If you do say 'no refunds' in a prominent place, then we all know where we are. You choose to look at it as 'standing on principle' and defending your integrity. As a potential customer I see it from a very different perspective. But you are, of course, under no obligation to care.
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        • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
          Originally Posted by The Wanderer View Post

          If the product is even halfway decent I'm sure there will be many more, like me, who won't ask for a refund even if they're not satisfied than those that will. There's important information to be had from us if you pay attention-- which you can't easily do if you're obsessing over all the ways in which you might be being cheated.

          And while offering a full guarantee isn't the only way of establishing credibility, it's a good way. There are people I might buy from who don't offer a guarantee-- but only ones who have built my trust in other ways over a long period of time.

          Your customers may not be automatically entitled to a refund. But by the same token, neither are you automatically entitled to our trust.
          Spot on!

          It's interesting to see, reading some of the posts in this thread, that the spirit of Basil Fawlty is still alive and kicking.

          You have to wonder why some people ever choose to be in the "service" industry at all.


          Frank
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        • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
          Originally Posted by The Wanderer View Post

          And notice also
          If the product is even halfway decent I'm sure there will be many more, like me, who won't ask for a refund even if they're not satisfied than those that will. There's important information to be had from us if you pay attention-- which you can't easily do if you're obsessing over all the ways in which you might be being cheated.

          And while offering a full guarantee isn't the only way of establishing credibility, it's a good way. There are people I might buy from who don't offer a guarantee-- but only ones who have built my trust in other ways over a long period of time.

          Your customers may not be automatically entitled to a refund. But by the same token, neither are you automatically entitled to our trust.
          This is one of the best, and most mature, posts in this thread. The degree of childishness expressed by some of the people posting is quite eye-opening.

          "The Wanderer" is correct in noting that for every person who requests a refund with a specific complaint, there are usually several other people who do not feel comfortable asking for a refund.

          Yes, there are people who feel they were cheated or who felt let down who never ask for refunds, and those people are just as damaging to your bottom line in the long run as those who do ask for refunds.

          I took out the words "no questions asked" from my guarantee because I want to know why someone is requesting a refund. Many times this has helped me rectify a misunderstanding created by something in my marketing copy.

          And once in a great while it reveals a customer I would rather have not buying from me again.

          Something not discussed was the point that if you have a defective product or one that does not match the description, the customer has a right to a refund regardless of what your refund policy says.

          Marcia Yudkin
          Author, 6 Steps to Free Publicity and 10 other books
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          • Profile picture of the author tomw
            Originally Posted by marciayudkin View Post

            This is one of the best, and most mature, posts in this thread. The degree of childishness expressed by some of the people posting is quite eye-opening.

            "The Wanderer" is correct in noting that for every person who requests a refund with a specific complaint, there are usually several other people who do not feel comfortable asking for a refund.

            Yes, there are people who feel they were cheated or who felt let down who never ask for refunds, and those people are just as damaging to your bottom line in the long run as those who do ask for refunds.

            I took out the words "no questions asked" from my guarantee because I want to know why someone is requesting a refund. Many times this has helped me rectify a misunderstanding created by something in my marketing copy.

            And once in a great while it reveals a customer I would rather have not buying from me again.

            Something not discussed was the point that if you have a defective product or one that does not match the description, the customer has a right to a refund regardless of what your refund policy says.

            Marcia Yudkin
            Author, 6 Steps to Free Publicity and 10 other books
            6 Steps to Free Publicity by Marcia Yudkin

            The reason the concept of defective products was not discussed was because it was not part of the original posters assertion. I doubt that anyone would disagree customers are indeed entitled to a refund in the case of product defects.

            Also, it's pretty childish to deride other people's opinions in such a way regardless of whether or not you agree with them. It's hardly constructive in furthering the discussion and far from helpful.

            Just an mature observation...no offence intended.

            Thomas
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            • Profile picture of the author The Wanderer
              Originally Posted by tomw View Post

              ...
              Also, it's pretty childish to deride other people's opinions in such a way regardless of whether or not you agree with them. It's hardly constructive in furthering the discussion and far from helpful.

              Just an mature observation...no offence intended.

              Thomas
              Could it be that this kind of comment--

              Originally Posted by RichardDean
              We WF members tested CB years ago and sent in a refund that said
              " I farted and did not like the way it smells I want a refund"

              They refunded it
              is what Marcia was referring to? I wouldn't, myself, characterize fart jokes as an expression of opinion, but to each his own.
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              • Profile picture of the author tomw
                Originally Posted by The Wanderer View Post

                Could it be that this kind of comment--is what Marcia was referring to? I wouldn't, myself, characterize fart jokes as an expression of opinion, but to each his own.
                No...I don't think so as she wrote in the plural. But why don't you ask her...

                Thomas
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          • Profile picture of the author Kay King
            The point is simply that if you buy a product that states "no refunds" - you should be sure it is a product you want to buy - not one you want to "look at".

            An "easy refund" statement on a sales page is only as good as the seller who offers it and some of them can be hard to find after the sale. Trust comes with buying from a seller with a reputation for quality products and good customer service - not from a blurb on a sales page.

            To assume that you can buy anything no matter what the refund policy is - and then get your money back any time you want - is happening too often in IM. These aren't "serial refunders" who intend to defraud sellers - but only one step from that.

            It is not unusual to see people who failed to cancel a subscription complaining that they want all the money paid to a membership site over months refunded to them. It is not uncommon for buyers to claim a refund because "I can't afford this". Could it be they found something else they want to buy instead with the same money? Why would they buy something they can't afford - unless they plan to ask for a refund?

            A chargeback is serious for the seller - and requesting multiple chargebacks over time can have negative results for a buyer, too. You must give a reason and the reasons are serious ones - fraud, unauthorized charge, etc. If you buy a "no refund offered" product - and then lie to get your money back through a chargeback, it says more about you than the seller.

            Very simply - if you offer a refund, honor it without a hassle. If you buy a product that states "no refunds", believe it. If there is no refund policy given, ask before you buy. A responsive seller and a responsible buyer is a great combination.

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  • Profile picture of the author garyv
    Offering a full refund policy will gain you more profit than the amount you'll lose by giving refunds, unless your product falls short. Sure there will be some scammers out there and it will cost you money and be aggravating sometimes. But the amount of money it will cost you - will be nothing compared to the profit gained by the amount of people that will fall into your funnel after seeing a money back guarantee.

    If you start receiving too many refund requests - then there's something that needs to be tweaked on your end. Figure it out. You'll have a better product because of it.

    Walmart offers a no questions asked refund policy - and they use the information they gain from this to tweak their products.
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  • Profile picture of the author ragstworiches
    yes, yes it does. If they sell on clickbank just get one anyway via clickbank.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alan Petersen
      I wouldn't use car sales as a good example of your no-refund policy. I believe only politicians are held in worse contempt than car salesman.

      In Minnesota you have 7 days by law and you can return a car for your money back. It's called a lemon law. I see refund policy as giving potential customers reassurance that the product isn't a lemon. By viewing all refunders as serial refunders is just as bad as folks who view all Internet marketers as scammers. But to each their own.
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      • Profile picture of the author SteveJohnson
        Originally Posted by Alan Petersen View Post

        I wouldn't use car sales as a good example of your no-refund policy. I believe only politicians are held in worse contempt than car salesman.

        In Minnesota you have 7 days by law and you can return a car for your money back. It's called a lemon law. I see refund policy as giving potential customers reassurance that the product isn't a lemon. By viewing all refunders as serial refunders is just as bad as folks who view all Internet marketers as scammers. But to each their own.
        You don't have any rights to return a car in Minnesota (or anywhere else that I know of) just because you got buyer's remorse and don't want it. Hate to contradict you, but the 7 day thing you spoke of is false. This is from Minnesota Attorney General website:

        Did you know that there is no three day "cooling-off" law when you buy a car? Once you sign the contract, the car is yours. You can't return the vehicle if you decide that you don't want it or can't afford it. Minnesota's Car Laws is written and published by the Minnesota Attorney General's Office as directed by Minnesota Statute, section 325F.665. This edition was published in May 2001 in St. Paul, Minnesota.
        There are all sorts of contract law and everything else that goes into buying a car. The lemon law is just that - for lemons. And even that doesn't get you a refund, it gets you a repaired or replaced car in most cases.
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  • Profile picture of the author RichardDean
    Frank

    I don't see a email with your product attached to it either do I.

    My point is you don't need to offer it to make a lot of sales or so on....

    Like Tommy Boy Said " I can shit in a box and guarantee it. But you're only getting a guaranteed piece of shit.

    If your product is good you have no need to offer one.

    Quit hyping the shit up, sell your product because it is truth not hype.

    Anyways if you feel you need to have one then say something like this to stop scamers from buy and returning it withing 10 mini.

    Use my product for a full year if then it does not live up to... ask for a full money back....

    When they ask in 10 minutes you can say you need to use it a year....

    We WF members tested CB years ago and sent in a refund that said
    " I farted and did not like the way it smells I want a refund"

    They refunded it

    that was funny times

    Richard

    Still did not see my product Frank
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  • Profile picture of the author Keith Kogane
    Yeah, on the part of the merchant, it's all about risk reversal for the customer. I don't do it because I'm bullied into it. I do it because it improves conversions, and it's easy. I do all my stuff through PayPal, it's a few clicks, and I don't care - I have no overhead. I might consider otherwise if I did have a high overhead or if I felt I was getting a lot of fraudulent refunds.

    It's never happened to me yet.

    I think the problem with the original poster's stance is that he is really mad at fraudulent customers, but he is harming his legitimate customers in order to mitigate those frauds.

    I can see where he's coming from. I think "The Customer is Always Right" is one of the worst things to happen in business, because it gives consumers carte blanche to be total a-holes, and be irresponsible.

    If I ever didn't use a 100% no questions policy, I'd probably require proof on non-delivery of product or results. But I wouldn't be all aggro about it.
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    • Profile picture of the author Johnny Slater
      Actually, my stance has never changed. I have had the same point of view on this for years before I first sold anything online way back in 1997.

      My stance is that customers should not expect a refund from anyone just because they want one. Nothing more and nothing less. I have always felt that way and I always will.

      It's interesting to see the people who are lining up on the two opposite sides of the issue in this post, and to look at those peoples track records for success. It tells a lot to anyone willing to actually see whats right in front of them.

      Originally Posted by Keith Kogane View Post

      Yeah, on the part of the merchant, it's all about risk reversal for the customer. I don't do it because I'm bullied into it. I do it because it improves conversions, and it's easy. I do all my stuff through PayPal, it's a few clicks, and I don't care - I have no overhead. I might consider otherwise if I did have a high overhead or if I felt I was getting a lot of fraudulent refunds.

      It's never happened to me yet.

      I think the problem with the original poster's stance is that he is really mad at fraudulent customers, but he is harming his legitimate customers in order to mitigate those frauds.

      I can see where he's coming from. I think "The Customer is Always Right" is one of the worst things to happen in business, because it gives consumers carte blanche to be total a-holes, and be irresponsible.

      If I ever didn't use a 100% no questions policy, I'd probably require proof on non-delivery of product or results. But I wouldn't be all aggro about it.
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  • Profile picture of the author imaddict
    Originally Posted by Johnny Slater View Post

    What most people may not realize is that when you do a charge back it costs the merchant more than just the money you paid them. On top of having to refund the purchase price the merchant will have to pay a fee of around $35 per charge back. This comes out of the merchants pocket. So by going to your bank or CC company and issuing a charge back your keeping the product you purchased, getting your money back, and costing the merchant money on top of that. Who is scamming who here?
    Amen to that brother. Some people use a chargeback as their primary way to receive a refund.
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  • Profile picture of the author Debbie Songster
    I think most of you are missing the point of the OP - he's not debating if there should be a refund policy or not. He's pointing out that the mentality of buyers now days is they think they are ENTITLED to a refund regardless of what the terms of sale are.

    A merchant has the option of choosing to offer a refund, but it's just that... a choice. The merchant is not required to give you anything other than the product you paid for. If you don't like the product then don't buy anything else from the merchant ever again but don't get a bur up your hind end and go crying for a charge back just because you "think" you are entitled to it.
    I sell both types of products (physical and downloadable) I've seen a lot of stupid things done by people who want to get out of their responsibilities - and YES when you buy something online, you are responsible for the transaction.

    With the economy the way it is, you are going to see a lot more requests for refunds and charge backs. I just received one yesterday (charge back). a woman ordered a pair of sunglasses and now she is claiming the charge on her credit card was fraudulent. This is going to take an hr out of my day to file a counter claim that - no she really did order it and here is the proof.

    If I lose this case I will be out the cost of the sunglasses, the money she paid me and the fee from my merchant account for the charge back claim. In total I stand to lose about $150

    As more people lose their jobs and money gets tighter (as if it isn't already) you are going to see more people ask for refunds. People are getting desperate and for those of you who sell "money making" products, if those products don't "deliver" you will probably see more people ask for refunds as they go to the next best product to make them money.
    Thats my prediction.

    Should the merchant have to pay for the buyers indecisiveness? or for buyer remorse? or the fact that they didn't use the product?
    I don't think those are suitable grounds for a refund.

    Maybe we bring that on ourselves by putting "time limited" or "limited edition" verbiage on the sales pages. High pressure sales techniques do back fire at times and refund requests are the result.

    We are debating the refund and charge back subject as it applies to online services and products but don't kid yourself its a heavily debated topic in the OFFLINE world as well.

    In fact a couple months ago my husband and I went to the annual dealer meeting with the manufacturer of the boats he sells.
    You know what the number one topic was?
    How to deal with people who are trying to get out of their obligations - IE/ people who have bought a boat and are trying to walk away from it.

    I could tell you stories...

    But thats not relevant to this discussion ... well some of it is.

    The point is people need to take responsiblities for their actions and making a purchase is one of them. Refunds are not a right its a privledge.

    And I'm sorry but the customer is NOT always right. I have fired several customers over the years.
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  • Profile picture of the author MeTellYou
    In Poland, you have to offer at least 2 weeks of refund time if it's an online purchase...
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  • Profile picture of the author TimGross
    I'm not a lawyer and this should not be construed as legal advice. With that said:

    If you are an information seller, to not offer and/or honor a minimum of a 30-day money back guarantee on am product would be unbelievably foolish. There is no better way to get on the radar of government agencies and possibly face prosecution or fines than to not offer and/or honor a basic guarantee.
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    • Profile picture of the author SteveJohnson
      Originally Posted by TimGross View Post

      I'm not a lawyer and this should not be construed as legal advice. With that said:

      If you are an information seller, to not offer and/or honor a minimum of a 30-day money back guarantee on am product would be unbelievably foolish. There is no better way to get on the radar of government agencies and possibly face prosecution or fines than to not offer and/or honor a basic guarantee.
      Oh, baloney. There is no law in the US that says you have to offer a 'basic guarantee'. You're not open to fines or prosecution because you have a "you bought it - it's yours" policy. It may be foolish from a business standpoint, but hardly against the law or something that will put you 'on the radar of government agencies'.
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      • Profile picture of the author TimGross
        Originally Posted by steveinidaho View Post

        Oh, baloney. There is no law in the US that says you have to offer a 'basic guarantee'. You're not open to fines or prosecution because you have a "you bought it - it's yours" policy. It may be foolish from a business standpoint, but hardly against the law or something that will put you 'on the radar of government agencies'.
        You're using Adobe software as an example in another message in this thread, and it's certainly true that once you open and install commercial software, you normally can't return it. The vast majority of Warriors reading this post are not Adobe.

        My warning comment was addressed at the majority of WSO sellers, who are selling info-products, software, or tools that can be construed as biz-opps in the sense that they're claiming to increase sales, profits, traffic, etc.

        Everyone is obviously free to run their businesses exactly as they see fit. I recently did a review on certain companies whose business models actually depend on upsetting their customers and making them feel taken advantage of. It's a living, just not the living I'm looking for.

        I don't know your business. Adobe sells very useful products and gives you a free demo version to try first. I'm sure you sell high-quality products too. But some people reading this thread probably are making huge claims in their sales letters for their software or info-products, and based on the big claims being made in their sales letters, some purchasers may feel let down. For those sellers, refusing to give refunds could cause themselves some problems.
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      • Profile picture of the author Steven Carl Kelly
        Originally Posted by steveinidaho View Post

        Oh, baloney. There is no law in the US that says you have to offer a 'basic guarantee'. You're not open to fines or prosecution because you have a "you bought it - it's yours" policy. It may be foolish from a business standpoint, but hardly against the law or something that will put you 'on the radar of government agencies'.
        Actually, you may wish to check into the "Warrant of Merchantability".
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        • Profile picture of the author GarrieWilson
          Originally Posted by faxinator View Post

          Actually, you may wish to check into the "Warrant of Merchantability".
          Actually, "Warrant of Merchantability" is an implied warranty BUT selling something "AS-IS" removes this warranty if the buyer is made aware of the policy BEFORE the purchase.

          The policy also varies by state.

          Consumers really should study these laws as they can save you a lot of time and money. Businesses, like the Government/school/churches/etc, try and tell you X isnt true when it really is.
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          • Profile picture of the author Steven Carl Kelly
            Originally Posted by GarrieWilson View Post

            Actually, "Warrant of Merchantability" is an implied warranty BUT selling something "AS-IS" removes this warranty if the buyer is made aware of the policy BEFORE the purchase.
            Right, that's the key: informing the consumer before the purchase.
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    • Profile picture of the author Chris Lockwood
      Originally Posted by TimGross View Post

      There is no better way to get on the radar of government agencies and possibly face prosecution or fines than to not offer and/or honor a basic guarantee.
      Actually, once you get out of Clickbank and the IM niche, it's quite common for downloadable products to have a "no refunds" policy. I've bought several like that - for example, templates, software, leads, even ebooks. In every case, it was made very clear that no refunds were offered and the stated reason for that was that once you downloaded the product, it wasn't really possible to return it without still having it (as is the case with physical products).

      I'm not saying this is good or bad, just common.
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  • Profile picture of the author DBryan78324
    Just my feelings here. I use to sell on eBay for two years (give or take a few weeks). I had a 100% feed back rating because I took care of any problems that came up with customer disputes. In most cases, I didn't even ask for the product to be returned to me,why bother. A happy customer is a repeat customer, was my feeling and I did quite well on eBay. Course I sold products, not e-books. Some e-books are not worth the paper they are wrote on, so why shouldn't I ask for a refund, if things are not as advertised, why not ask for a refund? It's my feeling that a refund is in order, if you have a unhappy customer, plus it saves you that charge back fee. Just my feelings...
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    • Profile picture of the author Tom B
      Banned
      I love the entitlement way of looking at things.


      Lets take software for example. You cannot go into a store, at least in the US, purchase software and then take it back. They will only refund you if the package was not opened.


      So what does this say? The customers would love to be able to try out the software and refund it. They still buy without trying it. Does that mean the customers have spoken.


      Refunds are not a right but a way for a vendor to take the risk off of the consumer. That is all. They are not required by anyone. I am willing to bet that they still would make sales. People need to stop feeling entitled to things when they are not. If a refund policy is that important to you, I would rather you not purchase from me either.


      The IM niche is really bad when it comes to entitlement problems. Too many spoiled people on here thinking the world revolves around them. I think it is time to take responsibility for your purchasing habits.


      Edited: I have had people even state they deserve free upgrades for life. That was the custom in IM and every software should have it. People seem to forget that without vendors, their won't be anything to buy and the amount of tools you use or learn from will diminish. It isn't just about the customers.
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      • Profile picture of the author The Wanderer
        Originally Posted by Thomas Belknap View Post

        ... If a refund policy is that important to you, I would rather you not purchase from me either.
        Okay, happy to comply. See how easy it is? Oh, wait... I not only don't feel entitled, but I never ask for refunds-- even when I probably should. So I guess I wasn't really the kind of customer you were trying to discourage... Nevertheless, you've succeeded. And what's more, the people you are all upset at don't give a cr*ap. They'll keep coming and asking for refunds and doing charge backs anyway.

        There are stupid, dishonest, careless, clueless, paranoid-- and just plain nasty people in every walk of life. Among both internet marketers and their customers. If you look for them, you'll find them easily. The only trouble is, the more you look, the harder it is to see anyone else.
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        • Profile picture of the author Tom B
          Banned
          Originally Posted by The Wanderer View Post

          Okay, happy to comply. See how easy it is? Oh, wait... I not only don't feel entitled, but I never ask for refunds-- even when I probably should. So I guess I wasn't really the kind of customer you were trying to discourage... Nevertheless, you've succeeded. And what's more, the people you are all upset at don't give a cr*ap. They'll keep coming and asking for refunds and doing charge backs anyway.

          There are stupid, dishonest, careless, clueless, paranoid-- and just plain nasty people in every walk of life. Among both internet marketers and their customers. If you look for them, you'll find them easily. The only trouble is, the more you look, the harder it is to see anyone else.

          Thanks, yes I am happy. I am making plenty of sales because my products make people money, are cutting edge and quality products. I have a very loyal customer base. It must be for a reason. In fact, it is those customers that make this a joy of a business to be in. My customers are the best you could ever find.

          I do believe you stated you wouldn't purchase anything without a refund policy. I wonder how you purchase software?


          I am not sure why you think I am upset because I am not. I feel more pity for these types of self entitlement people. Simply becuase they won't get far in life. They won't be happy or get what they truly want. You have to take responsibilty for yourself to do that.
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          • Profile picture of the author The Wanderer
            Originally Posted by Thomas Belknap View Post

            Thanks, yes I am happy. I am making plenty of sales because my products make people money, are cutting edge and quality products. I have a very loyal customer base. It must be for a reason.

            I do believe you stated you wouldn't purchase anything without a refund policy. I wonder how you purchase software?
            I believe I stated that I probably wouldn't buy anything without a refund policy. And that I might from someone who had already built a relationship of trust with me. My wanting to see a refund policy from someone I don't know from Adam has nothing to do with the likelihood --(0) of my demanding a refund. It has everything to do with my perception of that person's trustworthiness based on their willingness to stand behind their products 100%.

            As to software, if the product was defective (scratched or warped disc) I would expect the store to refund it. I've bought software from stores, but only products from well-known and reliable companies and only if I've used them before. If I buy it off the net I usually get a free trial. I certainly wouldn't buy an expensive product that I've never had a chance to try unless I had some assurance that the seller would respond to any concerns or problems I might have. Providing a guarantee is one good way to offer that assurance.
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            • Profile picture of the author Tom B
              Banned
              Originally Posted by The Wanderer View Post


              As to software, if the product was defective (scratched or warped disc) I would expect the store to refund it. I've bought software from stores, but only products from well-known and reliable companies and only if I've used them before. If I buy it off the net I usually get a free trial. I certainly wouldn't buy an expensive product that I've never had a chance to try unless I had some assurance that the seller would respond to any concerns or problems I might have. Providing a guarantee is one good way to offer that assurance.

              They would normally give you a new product, not a refund in the case of a scratched disk.


              Free trials are great but not every company will provide one. In fact, I can understand why more and more companies are not providing free trial. Why make it easy for someone to crack your software by providing a free trial.


              Look, I don't mind giving refunds and do offer a refund guarantee on most of my products. It does increase sales. But it isn't required nor is it a necessity to making sales. I have tested both ways and the bottom line wasn't that much of a difference.


              I still laugh at the thought of you only buying with a guarantee from someone you don't know. That guarantee means nothing unless the person selling is an honest person.
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              • Profile picture of the author Chris Lockwood
                Originally Posted by Thomas Belknap View Post

                I still laugh at the thought of you only buying with a guarantee from someone you don't know. That guarantee means nothing unless the person selling is an honest person.
                That's a great point. What if the site says "1 year money-back guarantee" but they actually ignore any refund requests?
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            • Profile picture of the author Rick Wilson
              Originally Posted by The Wanderer View Post

              As to software, if the product was defective (scratched or warped disc) I would expect the store to refund it. I've bought software from stores, but only products from well-known and reliable companies and only if I've used them before.
              If software package is opened then almost all stores will ONLY "exchange" defective software for the SAME software ... NOT refund money paid.


              Rick Wilson aka CorpRebel
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              • Profile picture of the author gatorjack
                Originally Posted by Rick Wilson View Post

                If software package is opened then almost all stores will ONLY "exchange" defective software for the SAME software ... NOT refund money paid.


                Rick Wilson aka CorpRebel
                I agree. I don't know of any store that gives refunds on software that has been opened. If it's to a point where the software will not work on your computer, then they tell you to contact the software manufacturer and it will be up to the software manufacturer to troubleshoot why it's not working on your computer and whether you have special circumstances that warrant a refund.

                This is why if I do happen to purchase software (i.e. not use freeware), then I usually stick with software that I can download a trial version of. I like to know what I'm getting. I simply don't trust boxes. Those software boxes are meant for one purpose, to sell you on the product. Telling me all the bells and whistles a software may have does not sell me on the software. Me seeing for myself that the bells and whistles work as described by the software vendor is what sells me on a product.
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      • Profile picture of the author jacktackett
        Just a quick comment - for commercial software in the US you typically do not purchase the software - you license it.

        The fact that the licenses used to be on the inside of the box where you couldn't read it before purchase lead to some interesting legislation.

        IANAL - but would recommend you review your jurisdiction's laws before making any unilateral decisions. You may want to control refunds - but does your city, county, state, other place allow this? And as someone pointed out - their are different rules for different transactions - cars, door to door sales, online purchases, contracts, licenses, etc.

        And for certain items you'll run up against those fun loving folks at the FTC in the US (and they can reach outside the US too).

        Just a tip from your uncle Jack - don't piss off a state's attorney general during an election (or on a slow news day).

        peace,
        --Jack
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  • Profile picture of the author SteveJohnson
    BTW - just go to Adobe.com, pay for and download the latest Creative Suite and then ask for a refund.

    Pay for and download the latest greatest MS Office Suite and try and get a refund.

    Are these 2 businesses scams (LOL - don't answer that one, but you get the idea).
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  • Profile picture of the author IMChick
    Clickbank refunds.

    Does CB ever ban a serial refunder from future purchases, have they refused a return?

    I saw a product on clickbank recently that clearly stated 'no refund' due to the nature of the information being purchased. That's against clickbank's stated refund or return policy, and seems to be a violation of the seller's terms they agreed to.

    I've seen very few IM offers that do not offer some kind of refund or return privilege.

    my 2 cents.
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    • Profile picture of the author Eric Lorence
      Curious to see if the op would put his post verbatim on his sales or terms page?
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      • Profile picture of the author Johnny Slater
        Originally Posted by Eric Lorence View Post

        Curious to see if the op would put his post verbatim on his sales or terms page?
        Eric....

        Here is my refund policy for Simple Member Pro:
        Simple Member Pro comes with a 30 day full money back guarentee. If Simple Member Pro does not do exactly what is advertised just let me know within 30 days of purchase and I will refund your payment.
        I make it clear that I only give refunds if the produt doesn't meet the sale hype of the sales page, and I stick to that. I have had a few people threaten to slander my name all over the internet or take up cases with the BBB and AG's offices yet I didn't back down. Those slanders never occured and no claims have been filed against me.

        The reason is I clearly state my policies directly on the sales page and have a written terms of service which you are forced to agree to before purchase. Anyone who uses my product does the same thing, its how the script is coded and is in fact following directly the rules laid down by the FTC that say your customers must click the "I Agree" box in order for your terms to be binding.

        My policies are very clear, and I don't give refunds other than for the reason stated in the refund policy. I stick to my principles and do not back down just because someone tries to bully me into a refund. I have won almost every dispute filed against me with PayPal and over half the CC chargebacks because I clearly state my policies before hand and make the customer agree to them before purchase.
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    • Profile picture of the author Lance K
      I'm usually int the "risk reversal is a must" camp. But I also see the other side. Try getting a refund for college credits if you don't get the results (job) you desire. Whether you can get away with not having a guarantee or not depends on how your offering is framed in the prospect's mind.
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    • Profile picture of the author dsanchez
      Nobody likes having to issue a refund, but is just part of business. I think the refund policy should be there for the product, and people should be entitled to get it. Sometimes the product is just no good for the person, even though could be lack of effort on their part, I certainly agree with that.

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    • Profile picture of the author DBryan78324
      Originally Posted by IMChick View Post

      Clickbank refunds.

      Does CB ever ban a serial refunder from future purchases, have they refused a return?

      I saw a product on clickbank recently that clearly stated 'no refund' due to the nature of the information being purchased. That's against clickbank's stated refund or return policy, and seems to be a violation of the seller's terms they agreed to.

      I've seen very few IM offers that do not offer some kind of refund or return privilege.

      my 2 cents.
      Hate to say this, but I did get a refund from CB. The reason being the person I had paid 99.99 two times to, did not give me any thing, not so much as even an answer to my emails. Gone to his site and it is no longer up. CB did refund both of my 99.99 payments.
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    • Profile picture of the author tiger325
      I agree the most aggravating are the ones that have every intention of getting a refund and keeping the merchandise
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  • Profile picture of the author LB
    If a customer feels that they must be able to receive a refund after purchase then that's their due diligence to make sure that the seller offers one before clicking the "order" button.

    The reality though is that many refunders will simply do a chargeback if no refund is available.
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  • Profile picture of the author getmorebuyers
    Slater, I am inclined to agree with you. Why? Because there are some people who order from you knowing beforehand that they are going to ask for a refund. These are the scammers who live in the underground world and steal your digital product and post on their forums. I have seen it and know it happens so don't be naive when someone ask for a refund in 24 hours. Be very skeptical.
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  • Profile picture of the author Debbie Songster
    But some people reading this thread probably are making huge claims in their sales letters for their software or info-products, and based on the big claims being made in their sales letters, some purchasers may feel let down. For those sellers, refusing to give refunds could cause themselves some problems.
    People who make big claims have more things to worry about then a refund policy. The FTC just loves to go after those types.
    Go read their web site and look through all the cases - a 30 day refund policy doesn't protect those types of sales.

    Once again this isn't what the OP was getting at. You are missing the point.
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    • Profile picture of the author TimGross
      Originally Posted by Debbie Songster View Post

      People who make big claims have more things to worry about then a refund policy...Once again this isn't what the OP was getting at. You are missing the point.
      Fair enough; My comments weren't directed towards the seasoned business owners contributing to the thread, I was picturing newbies reading the comments in this thread and mis-applying it to themselves.
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  • Profile picture of the author Don Schenk
    I may have mentioned John T. Reed before on here. He is a "guru" in the real estate investing arena. On his website he makes it absolutely clear that there are NO refunds!

    His books are physical products, he refuses to offer downloadable books because of theft.

    Apparently he makes a fine living at this. He has been selling like this for the past couple years after he found himself stung by the bookstore and book distributors in the standard flow of marketing books.

    He is a bit of a curmudgeon, but his books are good, and he has the reputation of creating valuable products.

    I must admit I was quite surprised when I saw his non-guarantee.

    :-Don
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    • Profile picture of the author Tom B
      Banned
      Originally Posted by Don Schenk View Post

      I may have mentioned John T. Reed before on here. He is a "guru" in the real estate investing arena. On his website he makes it absolutely clear that there are NO refunds!

      His books are physical products, he refuses to offer downloadable books because of theft.

      Apparently he makes a fine living at this. He has been selling like this for the past couple years after he found himself stung by the bookstore and book distributors in the standard flow of marketing books.

      He is a bit of a curmudgeon, but his books are good, and he has the reputation of creating valuable products.

      I must admit I was quite surprised when I saw his non-guarantee.

      :-Don
      Don, I see Reed as more of a joke. From what I have heard, he lost a lot of money in investing and doesn't invest any longer. Or very little. He attacks most other course writers to make his own products sound better. I wouldn't hold him up as a way to do business.
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  • Profile picture of the author Debbie Songster
    Don, I'm going to correct you
    The chargeback happens when a merchant won't refund (maybe for a legit reason) and the customer goes straight to their charge card company and wants the charge card company to get the refund by taking it out of the merchant's checking account.
    It has NOTHING to do with the merchant not doing a refund.
    A person can start a charge back with their credit card company if.
    1. they feel the charge was fraudulent - they claim they didn't make it.
    2. they didn't get their items
    3. they don't recognize the charge/vendor
    4. or for just about any type of reason they want to fabricate over an above the 3 listed
    None of the charge backs I have received in my many years of retail have not had anything to do with my not giving a refund. 99.9% of the charge backs I've dealt with have been customers going direct to their CC company and not to me.
    I had one woman who contacted me about her broken shipment and when I took longer to respond then she wanted she started a charge back (which she later reversed as her replacement shipment arrived the same day I got the charge back notice and I called her about it)

    Most of the charge backs I get are from people who don't recognize the name on their statement. They go to one of our stores but the payment is processed under our corporate name. All my sale receipts state the name to expect on their CC statement but most people don't read - or they forget.

    Other people do charge backs as a way to scam the system. I had one woman who claimed she never received the 3 packages I sent her. So instead of calling me - she does a charge back. Her game was to get the merchandise AND the money back.

    It was nice of her to wait until all 3 orders had been delivered so she could scam me out of all of it. If she had contacted me she would have found that the shipments were insured so I would have sent them again but her objective was to get her money back and keep the merchandise.

    Bottom line - most charge backs are started by customers who have never even contacted the merchant. Thats what makes them nasty.

    I think customers who start a charge back and lose should have to pay a fine - because in my experience most of them are bogus and a waste of my time.

    Any FYI for those of you who sell physical products and have a regular merchant account (not paypal or 2CO) - American Express customers are the worst. American Express makes it really easy for them to do a charge back. I'm thinking of dropping them.
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    • Profile picture of the author Chris Lockwood
      Originally Posted by Debbie Songster View Post

      Any FYI for those of you who sell physical products and have a regular merchant account (not paypal or 2CO) - American Express customers are the worst. American Express makes it really easy for them to do a charge back. I'm thinking of dropping them.
      Doesn't Amex also charge the merchant higher fees on a sale than Visa or MC?
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    • Profile picture of the author Steven Carl Kelly
      Originally Posted by Debbie Songster View Post

      Any FYI for those of you who sell physical products and have a regular merchant account (not paypal or 2CO) - American Express customers are the worst. American Express makes it really easy for them to do a charge back. I'm thinking of dropping them.
      Personally, I like to think of myself as THE BEST, not the worst!

      AMEX is my preferred payment method for every purchase I make. And no, I've never even once initiated a chargeback. In fact, I was double-charged once by a merchant (a small amount, $13) and never bothered to bring it up.
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  • Profile picture of the author RichardDean
    garyv

    Notice how Frank says "customers" plural - and not customer should dictate a merchant's policy. That means you take into account what your customers (plural) are saying as a whole, and adjust your policy accordingly.

    I'm sure if you hold a sign out front any store... take the gas station, years worth of gas for 10.00 sign up here

    that everyone would sign up then had the paper over to the gas station owner they should then adjust the price to the customers.

    Wrong again buddy good try but wrong

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  • Profile picture of the author GarrieWilson
    Lets take software for example. You cannot go into a store, at least in the US, purchase software and then take it back. They will only refund you if the package was not opened.
    Actually, you can unless that policy is stated before the purchase. AND it has to be displayed where it can be seen. Printed on the receipt doesn't count because that is shown after the purchase.

    They will agrue with you about it but if it's not stated, they legally have to refund it. I have returned games, music, movies, etc. to stores without the signs. I just remind them of the law. (Most major retailers put the signs to high or at thee customer service desk which doesnt count.)

    And no, I don't copy & then return it. It's always been because it sucked.

    Unless something has changed that I dont know about, there isnt a law that dictates opened software cant be returned.
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  • Profile picture of the author Debbie Songster
    Doesn't Amex also charge the merchant higher fees on a sale than Visa or MC?
    Chris - typically they do charge higher fees. Also did you know that those reward and rebate cards that are issued to customers, we the merchants pay higher fees on those too. And everyone thinks those rewards are provided by the generosity of the credit card companies - not so.


    Garrie - you might want to have a look at the visa site. You stated
    Actually, you can unless that policy is stated before the purchase. AND it has to be displayed where it can be seen. Printed on the receipt doesn't count because that is shown after the purchase.
    In reference to your comment about the policy on the receipt - read below. This is from the Visa site talking about charge backs
    Preventing Chargebacks | Merchants | Visa USA

    #8 If your establishment has policies regarding merchandise returns, refunds, or service cancellation, disclose these policies to the cardholder at the time of the transaction. Your policy should be pre-printed on your sales receipts; if not, write or stamp your refund/return policy information on the sales receipt near the customer signature line before the customer signs (be sure the policy shows clearly on all copies of the sales receipt). Failure to disclose such policies at the time of the transaction will be to your disadvantage should the customer return the merchandise.
    Hope this helps
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  • Profile picture of the author GarrieWilson
    Debbie,

    Visa statements have nothing to do with the law.

    Legally, the customer must be made aware of a return policy that is not for 100% cash refund before the transaction is completed. (Depending on the State.)

    As far as Visa, notice the part about signature.
    Your policy should be pre-printed on your sales receipts; if not, write or stamp your refund/return policy information on the sales receipt near the customer signature line before the customer signs (be sure the policy shows clearly on all copies of the sales receipt).
    Notice it says BEFORE they sign.

    In Wal-Mart, you sign a little black box and not the actual receipt because it's printed AFTER you sign. You don't sign a preprinted receipt which means by Visa regulations, you will win a charge back.

    At Sears, they put the receipt in the little black box so you can see any terms placed on it BEFORE you sign.

    If you pay cash and it's on the receipt, you didnt agree to anything. They are adding terms AFTER the sale which is illegal.

    I know it's comon practice for stores to put it on a receipt but if you pay before you get the receipt, it does NOT count.

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  • Profile picture of the author Adam Kenzington
    [quote=Johnny Slater;258998]Over and over I see people posting saying that merchants must offer a no questions asked refund everyone for anything refund policy or they are scamming you. It seems so many people feel they are entitled to a refund just because they want one these days.

    There is nothing that says you have to give a refund to everyone no matter what, other than the bunch of people who feel they are entitled to it. Refunds are not a right, they are something that the merchant can CHOOSE to offer but are not requirements.

    Time and time again you see people saying things like "I would never buy from anyone who didn't offer a refund policy." or "If they don't offer refunds then they must know their product is junk." How many of those same people have purchased cars before, or houses, or cd's, or dvd's, or any one of the millions and millions of products offered offline every day which have no refund policies attached to them?

    The decision to offer a refund policy is solely up to the merchant, not the customer. Customers do not dictate the merchants policies. Merchants have many reasons for not offering refund policies, or limiting them to specific conditions. You can't get a refund on a car just because you want one. You can't get a refund on a cd or dvd unless it's still shrink wrapped and has never been opened. Most software come with no refund policies attached to them.quote]

    Hey Johnny,

    That's all fine and good about the customer can't dictate to the merchant about refund policies, but the fact still remains, If a refund policy isn't displayed prominately on the sales page, I'm not buying. Period. I'm not dictating to anything but my wallet. And on that point, I'm a control freak.

    When you mention buying offline and not having a refund policy...That's different. In an offline store, I can see, touch and examine the product. Online purchases are iffy because I don't get to evaluate the product until after you already have my cash.

    I'm not a big charge backer. But I may do a charge back in the next couple of days, though. I purchased a software product last Friday (11/14/2008) through Paypal. I have never received a download link. I have opened 3 support tickets with the vendor and had no response. They opporate under 3 different names & websites. Their is no customer service phone #. There support e-mail that they supplied comes back saying that do to the high spamming they have received at that address, they no longer respond to that email address anymore.

    I've gone out of my way to do the right thing, here. But, if I haven't had it resolved by this Friday 11/21/2008, I'm doing a charge back.

    I just wonder if you see me as the bad guy, here? I do my due diligence. I really do try to resolve my problem with the merchant before I have to take more drastic measures. But, I can't let someone steal ($77) from me. I've not received anything for my money. I haven't had the first email from them explaining what the delay is. I've filed 3 support tickets with them and haven't received any response. And now, I've Googled there name and they have 7 pages of SCAM Reports to their credit.

    So don't hate me because I have to resort to a charge back. I don't see any other choice left to me. Do you?

    Adam

    UPDATE: I got my product, today, finally. No chargeback needed. Life is Good!
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    • Profile picture of the author Chris Lockwood
      Originally Posted by Adam Kenzington View Post

      I'm not a big charge backer. But I may do a charge back in the next couple of days, though. I purchased a software product last Friday (11/14/2008) through Paypal. I have never received a download link. I have opened 3 support tickets with the vendor and had no response. They opporate under 3 different names & websites. Their is no customer service phone #. There support e-mail that they supplied comes back saying that do to the high spamming they have received at that address, they no longer respond to that email address anymore.

      I've gone out of my way to do the right thing, here. But, if I haven't had it resolved by this Friday 11/21/2008, I'm doing a charge back.
      It does sound like their service sucks, but I think you should at least put in a PayPal dispute/claim before the chargeback. Sometimes that finally gets their attention when support tickets or emails were ignored. And it may help you with a chargeback if you show you tried the PP claim process first.

      My guess is they probably have a (no) help desk that is outsourced, so the people running it don't care. That's no excuse, but when it's something as simple as providing a link there's no reason for the actual seller to ignore you.
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  • Profile picture of the author Scott Million
    Something to consider...

    If you buck heads with customers all the time you might get one that goes above and beyond...maybe finds something in your copy that isn't delivered in the product and next thing you know a $97 refund turns into a $97,000 lawsuit.

    I agree with your position and I share it, but after letting tirekickers ruin my day on more than one occasion and all the energy it takes out of me to deal with bs...for me, it's tripping over dollars to save cents...I just refund.

    Scott
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  • Profile picture of the author Johnny Slater
    Ok.. this is going to piss some people off but here goes...

    Are you guys really that blind or are you just really stubborn?

    Not once have I raised the point of should you offer a refund or not. Not once did I bring this into the discussion, and even pointed out that I myself offer a refund policy although it is a conditional one.

    The entire point is if a no refund policy is clearly stated then stop being a royal pain in the hind quarters and thinking you're entitled to one just because you want it. It's about people who cry to their banks and defraud sellers because they were too lazy to use what they bought or just decided they wanted their money back.

    It's clear the trolls are busting their rears to mask the true discussion because they don't want to admit their own faults. Anyone with half a brain can spot that.

    I fully agree that giving refunds helps conversions, but it's not always about chasing the dollars. Business is business, not just taking in money.

    It is painfully clear that several people who have posted here have not the first clue what running a business is about and really need to do a reality check.

    As a seller, offer a refund policy or don't ... that's your choice and I'm NOT debating that point. My debating point is stop thinking you're entitled to something just because you think you should get it.

    This is not the kindergarden playground, and it's time some people grew up and realized that they have to take responsibility for their own actions.

    If you don't like what I'm saying, that's your right and your welcome to it. Don't buy from me, don't read anything else I post. I'm not losing sleep over a few people who wouldn't be customers to start with.

    For myself personally, I have my policies and I stick to them because I have enough self respect to not cower down to anyone just to make a dollar. When I worked offshore we had a saying, "Any job that requires me to kiss someone's ass to keep is not worth my time." I felt that way then and still do now.

    Customer support and customer satisfaction are one thing, cowering before the masses in the vain hopes that it will make more money is something totally different. In my eyes, that makes you look like the dollar is more important to you than the customer.
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  • Profile picture of the author Nick Doyle
    No this isnt entirely true.

    As a consumer, you are entitled to a refund if your product DOESNT DELIVER! Again, this is a lot of greyzone but you can get a refund for anything which is faulty.

    But when you're buying goods that are being consumed, like information, enterteinmant or food ... the customer isn't entitled to a full refund if he "isnt happy" with the product.

    As a merchnat you have the right to refuse a refund (but not for delivering a faulty product).

    Even if you get hit by a chargeback you have a LEAGL right to pursue that debt. But legal VS practice are different worlds, so experience really does pay out in these situations.

    But yeah, youre right!
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    • Profile picture of the author schabotte
      It is not just in the online world where there are no refund policies.

      Buy a CD or DVD or software package from a retail store, open it and then try to return it.

      Or buy a computer printer and open it and try to return it.

      Of course, these brick and mortar stores have clearly stated refund policies and mark out exceptions to their general return policy. So while a store might give a 30 day or longer return policy on most merchandise, they will spell out exceptions.

      In fact, most B&M stores both post their return policy where people can see it and print it on the register receipt so there can be no customer statements of "I didn't know that was your policy"

      One advantage brick and mortar sellers have over internet sellers is that they have signatures on their credit card purchases so it is real hard for a disgruntled buyer to win a chargeback case there.
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  • Profile picture of the author garyv
    If a customer goes to his credit-card company to get a refund, then it will cost you much more. It's a lot cheaper to give a refund when requested.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steven Carl Kelly
    Oh and yes: initially I missed the point of the OP's post, but in re-reading it I now completely understand and agree with the concept that buyers should not expect a refund if there is a clear "no refunds" policy (with a few exceptions, of course).
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    • Profile picture of the author mattp23
      I haven't seen anyone else post about this but remember if you are selling to the UK by mail order or internet then you must comply with the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 site: www-dot-oft-dot-gov-dot-uk/advice_and_resources/resource_base/legal/distance-selling-regulations/ (New user so i cant post URLS - sorry).
      IANAL but I think basically this gives a seven day cooling off period in which to cancel the sale. As far as I'm aware that includes 'virtual' products. (Although there are some exceptions dunno what tho )

      The Distance Selling Regs are the British implementation of European Council Directive (97/7/EC), thus it is safe to assume all European countries have simular laws.

      And if you are making outragious claims on you sales page don't forget all those other pesky acts (Trade Descriptions Act 1968, Sale of Goods Act 1979, Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982, Control of Misleading Advertisements Regulations 1988, The Consumer Protection Act 1987, Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulations 1999) again IANAL but if you have automated delivery and don't lie on your sales pages you are probably ok.

      Even if you are not based in the UK you can bet their card company is and so if you refuse a refund, and it is legal requirement, they will issue a charge back.

      So the sense of entitlement you talk about probably comes from the fact for many of you customers they are entitled!:p

      Also almost all software sold comes with a complicated EULA that will state something along the lines of 'if you don't agree then don't install and return this product, with all packaging, to the store you brought it from for a full refund'. So even if you have opened the software then you can get a refund by disagreeing with the EULA (All thought obviously if you have installed / used the software then you are being dishonest )


      Just a quick question but I assume you giving a refund would be cheaper (to you) than the 'customer' getting a chargeback?
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  • Profile picture of the author tomw
    Actually Matt,

    downloads of electronic books, music, software, ringtones, and even mobile phone screen savers etc are classified as services NOT goods under the act and, as such, the statutory right of customers to cancel ends the minute the service (in this case "good") is provided. In effect, their right (entitlement!) to a refund ends the as soon as they download the product.

    Therefore, any guarantee offered as such in the UK is solely at the discretion of the merchant.

    Any UK marketer/retailer working online of any worth knows this very common fact. What do you think we are...amateurs?



    So not such a smart @ssed first post after all, eh?

    Welcome to the Warrior forum.



    Thomas
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    • Profile picture of the author mattp23
      Originally Posted by tomw View Post

      Actually Matt,

      downloads of electronic books, music, software, ringtones, and even mobile phone screen savers etc are classified as services NOT goods under the act and, as such, the statutory right of customers to cancel ends the minute the service (in this case "good") is provided. In effect, their right (entitlement!) to a refund ends the as soon as they download the product.

      Therefore, any guarantee offered as such in the UK is solely at the discretion of the merchant.

      Any UK marketer/retailer working online of any worth knows this very common fact. What do you think we are...amateurs?



      So not such a smart @ssed first post after all, eh?

      Welcome to the Warrior forum.



      Thomas
      Hey Thomas,

      I was just half way through a reply to your post that was so amazing that was going to blow you out of the water. The world was going to tremble, and there you would be, cowering at my feet, gazing up at me with a look that was a mixture of fear and awe. Who was this mysterious man, this legend, this leader of men, this noble fount of knowledge and of wisdom, this mattp23?

      Then I rechecked some sources, and realised you were right Doh

      (Admitting when you are wr*ng, that's still noble right?)

      Also I wasn't trying to be a smartarse, I suspect it was just trying to fit too much in too quickly! or maybe too many smilies.
      To which I have but one reply: :p



      Matt
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      • Profile picture of the author tomw
        Originally Posted by mattp23 View Post

        Hey Thomas,

        I was just half way through a reply to your post that was so amazing that was going to blow you out of the water. The world was going to tremble, and there you would be, cowering at my feet, gazing up at me with a look that was a mixture of fear and awe. Who was this mysterious man, this legend, this leader of men, this noble fount of knowledge and of wisdom, this mattp23?

        Then I rechecked some sources, and realised you were right Doh

        (Admitting when you are wr*ng, that's still noble right?)

        Also I wasn't trying to be a smartarse, I suspect it was just trying to fit too much in too quickly! or maybe too many smilies.
        To which I have but one reply:

        Matt
        Hey Matt,

        I was just pulling your leg with the smart @ss comment...

        I'm not one either...it's just important to try to be as accurate as possible with the information we give here because many of our fellow Warriors make decisions and take action based upon it.

        Welcome on board

        Sorry to steal your thunder as it where...



        Thomas
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  • Profile picture of the author Debbie Songster
    Good information Matt - glad Tom clarified though.
    but in regards to
    Just a quick question but I assume you giving a refund would be cheaper (to you) than the 'customer' getting a chargeback?
    I believe its been established that the majority of charge backs come from people who don't bother to contact the merchant first.

    I'm sure the majority of merchants would rather deal with the customer vs a charge back its just there are a lot of customers who don't give you a chance to make things right.

    That falls into the same line of thinking that the OP exposed. People feel its their right to receive a refund regardless of the terms of sale.
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  • Profile picture of the author gatorjack
    Originally Posted by Johnny Slater View Post

    The idea that just because you don't like what you purchased you should be allowed to get your money back is complete crap.
    So in other words, you expect people to pay for and keep something they don't like nor or satisfied with? No offense, but that is backwards thinking.

    Let's say you go in to a restaurant. You order a burger, you get the burger, you bite in to it, there's grease driping from it, it's hot as hell, and so much salt every bite crunches. Now, you mean to tell me you are still going to pay for that burger when the waitress brings you your ticket?

    That's why these guarantees are called a "Customer Satisfaction Guarantee." I don't believe that it is right to charge someone for something they are not satisfied with. Now I believe for a refund the customer should have to give a valid reason. That is, a smiple "I just don't like it!" won't cut the mustard.

    Originally Posted by Johnny Slater View Post

    Customers do not dictate the merchants policies.
    Not directly, but I fully believe that if a customer has a valid complaint that a merchant should listen and take in account what the customer is telling them. I don't believe in having an attitude of, "I am merchant, hear me roar!" and, "If you don't like it, go elsewhere." Guess what? They do! i don't expect a merchant to kiss my butt, however, if a merchant is going to have an attitude as such, then there's lots of other places I could spend my money.

    Originally Posted by garyv View Post

    Walmart offers a no questions asked refund policy - and they use the information they gain from this to tweak their products.
    Not at my local Wal-Mart. I went with someone that was returning a defective ink jet cartridge. Do you know they argued with us for almost an hour over their policy of "We do not give refunds on computer software."

    The argument was that they refused to accept the ink jet cartridge back because they considered an inkjet cartridge to be "computer software." The woman at the counter, in a cocky voice, commented that they have always had the policy of not giving refunds on computer software. Well, DUH! However, you can download software to a computer, you can make a copy of it and put it on various storage media (e.g. floppy, CD, DVD, Flash drive, etc). Can you do that with an inkjet cartridge? Not in my many years using computers.

    Originally Posted by RichardDean View Post

    We WF members tested CB years ago and sent in a refund that said
    " I farted and did not like the way it smells I want a refund"

    They refunded it
    LOL

    I can't say that I'm one that always "expects" a refund. My personal consumer policy is that if a company does not offer refunds, then I don't purchase anything from them. I've been online for over ten years. I've requested refunds. Every single instance it was the product or service was not as described. The merchant lied on their website or their customer service lied to me.

    I ask a lot of questions before purchases. I prefer via email so that I have the company's exact response to my questions. If I then purchase the product or service and then what I get contradicts what I was told in the emails, then yes, I request a refund. If the company doesn't comply, then I file a chargeback (which I have only done twice in over ten years).
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    • Profile picture of the author Tom B
      Banned
      Originally Posted by gatorjack View Post

      Let's say you go in to a restaurant. You order a burger, you get the burger, you bite in to it, there's grease driping from it, it's hot as hell, and so much salt every bite crunches. Now, you mean to tell me you are still going to pay for that burger when the waitress brings you your ticket?
      Originally Posted by gatorjack View Post

      That is, a smiple "I just don't like it!" won't cut the mustard.

      So which is it?

      You stated you should be able to ask for a refund you you don't like the hamburger than go on to state you shouldn't refund if you don't like something.
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      • Profile picture of the author gatorjack
        Originally Posted by Thomas Belknap View Post

        So which is it?

        You stated you should be able to ask for a refund you you don't like the hamburger than go on to state you shouldn't refund if you don't like something.
        I never said you shouldn't refund if you don't like something. What I said was that I don't believe in refunding for an excuse of just because or a simple reason of "I don't like it."

        Using the hamburger analogy, there are multiple valid reasons one could ask for a refund or at the very least have the burger fixed:
        • Spicy - If it's so hot to the person that they can't stand it.
        • Salty - If it's so salty that they are literally crunching on granuals of salt.
        • Wellness - If they asked for well or extra well and the burger is medium.
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        • Profile picture of the author Tom B
          Banned
          Originally Posted by gatorjack View Post

          I never said you shouldn't refund if you don't like something. What I said was that I don't believe in refunding for an excuse of just because or a simple reason of "I don't like it."

          Using the hamburger analogy, there are multiple valid reasons one could ask for a refund or at the very least have the burger fixed:
          • Spicy - If it's so hot to the person that they can't stand it.
          • Salty - If it's so salty that they are literally crunching on granuals of salt.
          • Wellness - If they asked for well or extra well and the burger is medium.

          You're making me hungry.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steven Carl Kelly
    My daughter works at a movie theater. If you come out and didn't like the movie, they'll refund your money (though they prefer to give you a pass to another movie of your choice).
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    • Profile picture of the author tomw
      Originally Posted by faxinator View Post

      My daughter works at a movie theater. If you come out and didn't like the movie, they'll refund your money (though they prefer to give you a pass to another movie of your choice).
      Wow! And you look so young in your photo!



      Thomas
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    • Profile picture of the author gatorjack
      Originally Posted by faxinator View Post

      My daughter works at a movie theater. If you come out and didn't like the movie, they'll refund your money (though they prefer to give you a pass to another movie of your choice).
      There's a similar policy at the local Movie Gallery (i.e. movie rental store). I never knew this until I complained about a movie to someone I knew that worked at one. You get so many free rentals a year that you can claim. I've only used it a couple times. A movie has to truly suck for me to not like it.

      Originally Posted by tomw View Post

      Wow! And you look so young in your photo!



      Thomas
      I agree 110%
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      • Profile picture of the author tomw
        Originally Posted by gatorjack View Post

        I agree 110%
        LOL!

        I was making a joke, faxinator's real name is Steve! That's not HIM in the photo...so you can put your hormones back to bed.



        Thomas
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        • Profile picture of the author gatorjack
          Originally Posted by tomw View Post

          LOL!

          I was making a joke, faxinator's real name is Steve! That's not HIM in the photo...so you can put your hormones back to bed.



          Thomas
          Well holy crap on a cracker! No worries about having to put hormones back. That just killed them. LOL
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  • Profile picture of the author Debbie Songster
    Chris - I don't agree with this
    Also, when something is returned to a store like Walmart and is not in good enough condition to put back in stock, the store will often return it to the manufacturer or destroy it- and the manufacturer, not the store, gets to take that loss.
    I don't know of ANY manufacturer that will take something back that has been returned by a customer unless its something defective. Non of the manufacturers I work with do this and I wouldn't expect them to.

    Why should a manufacturer take something MY customer returned just because they didn't want it any more or felt buyer remorse or it was the wrong color or they got up on the wrong side of the bed - or any other excuse they have?

    If its not in good enough condition to put back on the shelves they may not give you a refund at all. Each store does have their own return policy and most of them want the goods back in unused condition with all the original packaging in good condition.

    If they do take it back and its not in saleable condition it's put aside along with shelf pulls, items with damaged packaging, out of season items, outdated or soon to be outdated items, etc and packaged on pallets to be shipped to clearing / auction houses.

    This is where some of the sellers on ebay get their goods. From auction houses that specialize in selling store "rejects" by the pallet.

    I have a good friend who's entire business was built around selling books obtained in this fashion. All the books were new, returns, shelf pulls or overstock from all the big name book places / chains. He bought these pallets by the pound and you got what you got - no choices.

    Non of these books went back to the manufacturer or publisher - they aren't in the business of taking products back from retailers.

    It will always be the store / merchant who takes the loss.
    There is an expectation that a certain percentage of goods will be returned and that is factored into the sale price of the items in the store.

    The more losses a store suffers the more the prices of available items will increase - its basic business.
    While its good practice to accept returns and offer the best customer support you can, its also a very costly part of having a store / retail outlet.
    And, lets face it - there are shoppers out there that are habitual, chronic return freaks and that spoils it for everyone else.

    It's become so bad in the retail world that a service was created to keep track of these types of people. A store could subscribe to the service and check the return behavior of that individual because all of that was kept in a master database. There are stores / retail chains who keep an in house database of habitual return freaks and will refuse to service those people.

    Returns are costly to the merchant

    I don't know of any manufacturers that accept goods from retailers that have been returned by customers - other than defects.
    The manufacturer rarely if at all takes the loss - infact out of the entire product chain - manufacturers have the lowest profit margins.
    Its the wholesalers / distributors that make the most money.
    Thats why Walmart can offer better prices - they generally work direct with the factories (on a lot of their products) - cutting out the distributor (they become their own distributor for their own stores)
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    • Profile picture of the author Chris Lockwood
      Originally Posted by Debbie Songster View Post

      Chris - I don't agree with this
      I don't know of ANY manufacturer that will take something back that has been returned by a customer unless its something defective. Non of the manufacturers I work with do this and I wouldn't expect them to.

      Why should a manufacturer take something MY customer returned just because they didn't want it any more or felt buyer remorse or it was the wrong color or they got up on the wrong side of the bed - or any other excuse they have?
      Debbie, you are not Walmart, who is big enough to be able to set the rules for how they deal with suppliers (I said manufacturers, but really meant suppliers - whatever company they got the item from), and I know for a fact that what I described is true.

      This has nothing to do with items returned in salable condition, which just get put back on the shelf.

      I'm talking about items that were opened, had parts missing (which could be a manufacturer error or a customer removing parts before returning the item), were used before being returned, etc. It's common for big stores to send stuff like that back to the supplier, who takes the hit.

      Whether the store accepts the item back from the customer depends a lot on who is working at the customer service desk at that moment.
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  • Profile picture of the author Nick Brighton
    Originally Posted by Johnny Slater View Post


    There is nothing that says you have to give a refund to everyone no matter what, other than the bunch of people who feel they are entitled to it. Refunds are not a right, they are something that the merchant can CHOOSE to offer but are not requirements.
    Actually, according to consumer act laws (at least in the UK), that's not true at all...in fact, that's the exact OPPOSITE of reality.

    Originally Posted by Johnny Slater View Post


    The decision to offer a refund policy is solely up to the merchant, not the customer. You can't get a refund on a cd or dvd unless it's still shrink wrapped and has never been opened. Most software come with no refund policies attached to them.
    Again, not sure on the US laws, but that certainly is NOT the case in the UK. You CAN get a refund on a CD based on certain conditions, providing you have not damaged the actual goods (not packaging).

    As I say, your laws are obviously different, but this might help explain consumer rights in the UK a little better:

    Consumer Issues

    Don't be too sure about what the consumer has and has not got the "right" to do.
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    • Profile picture of the author tomw
      Originally Posted by Nick Brighton View Post

      Actually, according to consumer act laws (at least in the UK), that's not true at all...in fact, that's the exact OPPOSITE of reality.



      Again, not sure on the US laws, but that certainly is NOT the case in the UK. You CAN get a refund on a CD based on certain conditions, providing you have not damaged the actual goods (not packaging).

      As I say, your laws are obviously different, but this might help explain consumer rights in the UK a little better:

      Consumer Issues

      Don't be too sure about what the consumer has and has not got the "right" to do.
      The main core discussion in this thread concerns digital delivery products. If you read the entire thread you would have also read the fact that in the UK....yada yada yada...I'm not going to rewrite a whole post...just read the thread...
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      • Profile picture of the author Nick Brighton
        Originally Posted by tomw View Post

        The main core discussion in this thread concerns digital delivery products. If you read the entire thread you would have also read the fact that in the UK....yada yada yada...I'm not going to rewrite a whole post...just read the thread...
        Ok, I have read the entire thread thankyou. Now read my post and we're even. I am stating laws that are applicable to ALL products.

        Consumer rights are not affected by whether it's a digital product or not.
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  • Profile picture of the author tomw
    Touche, Nick.

    But there are special regulations concerning distance and mail order purchases and in particular there are exceptions in place for many digital products, which are classed as services.

    Thomas
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