Would you refund this person?

23 replies
To make a long story short a customer of mine wants a refund because he did not read correctly what he was ordering and the parts he got, naturally, do not fit.

I'm going to take a loss on this and refund him, my refund rate is 0 so its no big deal. The parts can not be resold elsewhere because I ordered them custom just for his specific vintage motorbike and setup.

I kinda feel like an idiot for having to refund, even though I held up my end of the deal and delivered in a timely manner. I feel like I am morally right on this and that the customer is just taking advantage of my money back guarantee.

What would you do? I just feel so used and cheated on this. I did exactly what the customer told me and I delivered by express mail just 4 days after the order was placed. Basically I bent over backwards to help this customer out and maybe win his future business and he basically threatened to make a dispute with Paypal just because he can.

How do you deal with such people? He basically ruined my week with this.
#person #refund
  • Profile picture of the author Robert Michael
    Sounds like its a physical product, so I would tell him you will refund the money once you receive the parts back.

    Let him know he has to ship them back to you, and you will not be able to process the refund until they are delivered.

    Other than that, you would be happy to give a refund once they are returned (minus shipping costs of course)
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      Seems like a very small issue to ruin a week. If this is your biggest problem - you're very fortunate.

      The customer admitted he made an error - he didn't blame you. Why take it personally? It's business - have him send the items back and refund him the moment you receive them. (I'm assuming from your comments this is a physical item).

      People make mistakes - how you handle fixing those mistakes reflects on your business reputation.

      kay
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      • Profile picture of the author Bill Farnham
        I'm sure there are some lessons to be learned from this. Here's a good opportunity for you to create a refund policy on 'special order' parts going forward.

        The industry standard leans towards no refunds on parts that customers special order unless the parts can be returned to the manufacturer and a standard 15% restocking fee is paid by the customer.

        One thing you need to understand is there is a huge difference between refunding a customer because the part was defective versus the customer being defective. You owe it to your customers to stand behind the parts you sell, but you have no obligation to correct the customer's stupidity.

        I'd recommend you research other vendors TOS regarding how they handle the situation. Take from them (the ideas and stance) that you can live with and then create your TOS to help avoid these situations in the future.

        What may seem like a cold blooded stance when you first start dealing with customers will become a trusted friend as time goes by. You're running a business, and not a charity for the galactically stupid. Because trust me, after you've been doing this for a while you'll run into plenty of those folks.

        Just food for thought...

        ~Bill
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  • Profile picture of the author Tony Marriott
    Originally Posted by atvking View Post

    ........... the customer is just taking advantage of my money back guarantee......................

    If you offer a money back guarantee you have to honour it.
    If you offer a money back guarantee you will, at some time, have to refund a customers money.

    If you or your business can't cope with refunding money then don't offer a guarantee to do so.

    I understand that real goods cost real money but you need to factor that in when you offer these guarantees.

    Yes you lost money on that sale but how many other sales have you made money on? (that only happened because you offered the money back guarantee).

    If your customers discover your money back guarantee is worthless, how many do you think you will lose?

    Pay up, move on, make more money, maybe re-assess your guarantee
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  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    I would refund and then change my refund policy to take
    care of custom-made items as non-refundable. It's
    reasonable to have a policy that says if I ordered a
    custom-made item and it was delivered to my specification
    then I cannot expect a refund.

    -Ray Edwards
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  • Profile picture of the author atvking
    It's physical goods and the customer is entirely to blame.

    He is technically educated, he is in fact somebody someone may refer to as an "expert" that gives technical advice on related forums.

    It's like I was to order a SEO campaign and when the work is done I was to say "Oooops I gave you the wrong website, and keywords, please refund!" ... I guess I'm just upset because I have to refund because somebody did not bother reading what he was ordering.

    The customer knows he is wrong. He even said so.

    I will definitely revise my refund policy! And re-write it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ryan Even
    Refund the customer, take the loss and move on...

    It's really just part of doing business, don't let it ruin your week (or even your hour).

    You could sell the greatest product of all time and you'll occasionally have refunds or chargebacks to deal with. The more business you do, the more often it will happen.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kashi456
    Hey,

    Don't be downhearted.

    It's just how business is, sure you will get one or two asking for a refund

    Honour it and move on

    Regards
    Bilaal
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  • Profile picture of the author PanamaRex
    Even the best products have refunds. Always honor your refund policy. However, if you find that you are losing too much in refunds, either the product or service was not up to par, or you need to be explicit that products must be returned in re-saleable condition.
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  • Profile picture of the author BlackRob
    As your customer admitted he was wrong not you, I am perplexed to see the reason why you are worried.

    I would always ask for the parts back, and issue the refund, as it is good business practice, and if your customer is happy, he will be more likely to come back and buy something else in the future possibly. If not, C'est la vie, move on and sell some more.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark_Babcock
    There's some great advice in this thread already.

    You certainly could refuse to give the refund and arguably be justified in doing so because it sounds like it was a custom order. However, as @Tony Marriott said - if you offer a refund you have to honor it...and if you offer a refund and it doesn't specify that it doesn't cover special orders - you still have to honor it.

    However - I certainly wouldn't let it ruin my week.

    When I had a customer default on a $7million contract back in 2001 that left me paying over $4 million "out of pocket" on the job and ultimately led to bankruptcy - that ruined my week. When our oldest daughter was diagnosed with cancer 3 days later (4 at the time)...THAT REALLY ruined my week - again (she's doing great now)...and taught me never to say "it can't get any worse than this" - because when I did...IT did. When our 11 year old daughter was diagnosed with Type I Juvenile diabetes last Wednesday and we learned her body doesn't produce insulin so she'll have to take 4-6 shots a day for the rest of her life...that ruined my week. The first time she "crashed" and blood glucose fell into the 40s and she nearly passed out - that just scared the hell out of me - but it didn't ruin my week :-) (or hers).

    So count your blessings my friend. A customer requesting a refund based on their screw-up is frustrating as hell I know (been there before) - but it's no reason to let your week be ruined.

    I'd like to look at it as an OPPORTUNITY to improve your business model...and anytime we can learn something and apply it to improve our business - it's a GOOD WEEK.

    And having the opportunity to do so before the same thing happens again is even better, because it minimizes your risk and ultimately could save you lots of money...which means more profit.

    So I second @Bill Farnham's suggestion to take this opportunity to update your refund policy for special orders.

    But even then...if a customer requested a refund at no fault of mine - depending on the circumstances - I'd seriously consider giving it. Any customer who goes to the extent of threatening unjustified disputes, lawsuits or other action could be "poison" (and better off doing business with your competition). So if I thought they were serious - and it would cost me more in time, stress, distraction and money to defend it than it would to issue a refund...I'd probably still give the refund (even if my policy said otherwise) just to eliminate the hassle and move on without the distraction (and have done so before).

    So apply a little "spin" here and turn the negative into a positive you can use to improve your biz...besides - as an entrepreneur/business owner you're too strong and got too much going for you than to let a customer refund request ruin your week.

    Be Well!
    Mark
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    • Profile picture of the author atvking
      Thanks for all the advice. I was just angry about my refund policy being abused by this person. But I will definitely look to make the best out of this and make things better in the future.
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  • Profile picture of the author funkynassau
    I'd tell him to send me back the parts at his expense and then I will refund his money. I would not give him his money back til I got the parts back. If he's a scammer he wont want to spend his money to send the items back.
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  • Profile picture of the author Intrepreneur
    There's the saying "the customer is alwasy right" and this especially applies to getting a refund when the site you purchase from has a money back guarantee... Nothing to complain about here, it's just business. Focus more on making the next customer's experience better so they repeat purchase and leave this guy with a good impression of his dealings with your company..
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  • Originally Posted by atvking View Post


    I'm going to take a loss on this and refund him(
    He sounds like a tool, but you're doing the right thing. At least you're taking the high ground with this. Well done!
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  • Profile picture of the author Brendan Vraibel
    Like others have stated, refund and change up your policy. You say that he is viewed as an expert so I'm guessing that he has a wide reach that could potentially do some damage to your business if he decided to make a stink about it.

    It's always good to treat every customer as if they could do damage to your business with a bad review because that's exactly what they are. A huge majority of potential customers will look up reviews before they make a purchase decision and one sour customer could turn away many sales.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeanne Lovely
    It is hard to refund a sale when you are dealing with physical products, but get the parts back and refund the money - it is not worth the headache to keep carrying on about it.

    We all make mistakes, both in buying and selling
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  • Profile picture of the author Black Hat Cat
    Banned
    Originally Posted by atvking View Post

    To make a long story short a customer of mine wants a refund because he did not read correctly what he was ordering and the parts he got, naturally, do not fit.

    I'm going to take a loss on this and refund him, my refund rate is 0 so its no big deal. The parts can not be resold elsewhere because I ordered them custom just for his specific vintage motorbike and setup.

    I kinda feel like an idiot for having to refund, even though I held up my end of the deal and delivered in a timely manner. I feel like I am morally right on this and that the customer is just taking advantage of my money back guarantee.

    What would you do? I just feel so used and cheated on this. I did exactly what the customer told me and I delivered by express mail just 4 days after the order was placed. Basically I bent over backwards to help this customer out and maybe win his future business and he basically threatened to make a dispute with Paypal just because he can.

    How do you deal with such people? He basically ruined my week with this.
    So, basically, you feel the moral thing to do is have a refund guarantee, but not honor it?
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  • Profile picture of the author VinceReed
    Never take a loss because of someone else's mistake. You are running a business and you are not getting paid to read the fine print for other people. It's your week...
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  • Profile picture of the author owenlee
    Just refund and get on with it...no matter how great the product or how cheap it is..there are people who are always looking to refund...no point getting agitated over it.. Chill...weekend is coming...more sales for you~
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  • Profile picture of the author RefundHost
    Refund?
    Hell no ... you sent the wrong parts. What you'll do instead is:

    - Ask him ( once he figures his correct measurements ) wants the RIGHT parts.
    - If so ... send them.

    Then, adopt a policy to always obtain exact specs from customers
    and make exception to the MBG if they sized it wrong, themselves.

    Stick the returned parts on ebay for all it cost you and more
    since likely there is someone else needing those parts.
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    • Profile picture of the author JuniorNB
      Whew! I was searching for some info when i found this thread. Couldn't help myself scrolling down to read every advice written ere. I feel sorry for you but take it positive. No one has the right to make us feel miserable without our permission. Just move on and take this as a lesson. Now you know what to do next...

      For the sad, bad, or whatever negative feeling you are experiencing now, just keep reminding yourself..."This to shall pass..."

      Take care,
      Smitz
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  • Profile picture of the author golf69
    DO NOT let this ruin your week...just remember that there will always be things that come along that will test you. Give the refund (after you receive the parts back) and move foward.
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