ANOTHER refund question

by David Sieg 10 replies
Hi Gang,

I having a mental tug-of-war right now. I sell a fairly expensive ($100) eBook in a very technical, specialized niche. In fact, there IS NO OTHER ebook of it's kind on the net. And like most vendors I offer a complete money back guarantee. My refund rate is extremely low, like less than 1%.

I have no problem giving a refund for legitimate reasons, what ever they may be. However, the vast majority of my refund requests have been "OH, I didn't know this was an ebook before I ordered it..." bla, bla, bla.

This is printed on my sales page, (Under the "order Now" button) TWICE on my order page (Directly below the "Buy Now" button where you CAN'T miss it.) is not in fine print, it is an entire a paragraph, it is also on my customer service page, about us page, contact us page and everyplace else I could think to put it. The eBook is never referred to as a "book" but always as an "Ebook." I have it in so many places, I specifically put it as an exception on my guarantee page. I notice NO ONE goes to the lengths I do to spell this out on other websites.

And I still get people who want a refund based on this excuse. I feel, after all the trouble I went to explaining this and making it as clear as I possibly can, short of stamping "EBOOK" on the graphic, this is a blatant excuse to steal the Ebook. Even my competitors have bought it, then requested a refund. (Which I gave.) I could understand it if ebooks were brand-new, like in 2000, but now they are a pretty common site on the Internet.

Where does good business practices end, and being taken for a total idiot and sucker begin? Any thoughts? Does everyone give refunds based on this lame excuse?
#main internet marketing discussion forum #question #refund
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  • Profile picture of the author Anon7
    My refund rates are also very low (less than 1%). I don't author ebooks, but I can usually tell when someone's out to stuff me. The scammers will usually ask for a refund right away without even making an attempt to get support.

    You will have people shafting you, that's just a fact. Even though its aggravating when you do get that 1% refund, don't let it bother you. The important thing to focus on your 99% of good customers that you have.

    Forget about the bottom feeders, they're not worth your time.

    -Jack
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    • Profile picture of the author jasonl70
      offer to send them a hardcopy If they agree, then have a local printer run off a spiral copy for you for a few bucks..
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  • Profile picture of the author Ken Leatherman
    David,

    I feel your pain.

    But the question I have to ask you does your guarantee state "Unconditional Guarantee". If it does I think you're going to have to "grin and bear it". Even though you and I both know they are "stealing your e-book"

    Now lets take a negative situation and turn it into a positive for you. Here's a serious plan you need to think about. You will be able to increase the selling price of your book, because of the perceived value and will more than likely cut the refunds even lower. (I hope)

    1. Offer the book on a DVD or CD. Kick the price up to $119.00 + S&H
    2. Offer it also as a Printed Manual $139.00 + S&H
    You can use a fulfillment company to handle this for you or cut corners and do it yourself. Personally I would go with the "Professional" route and have it done. Don't worry about stocking them let the fulfillment company take care of the hard products.

    By doing so you change your "Unconditional Guarantee" for those who bought as a e-book and make it an exchange for the printed version or the DVD plus S&H.

    What you have described is a part of doing business on the internet and for that matter in the off line world. I know this eats at you, but try not to let it ruin your day. Do what you have to do and move on.

    Your not being stupid or a sucker, your just in business.

    Ken
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    • Profile picture of the author Heather Vale
      Ken's got some good points... make it a physical product, it's easy and cheap to do, get a fulfillment company to print and ship it -- and then you offer a refund "Less shipping and handling" (you decide what a fair "handling" amount is... that's standard stuff).

      The other thing you could do is offer a refund that's based on them trying the methods and reporting to you why it didn't work for them. Then they can't just get it, refund and go... they need to have it for long enough to have possibly put it to work, and you'll know if they used it or not.

      Rather than saying "unconditional guarantee", you say "I guarantee this will work for you if..."

      Remember, YOU'RE in control of the refunds and what your policy is.

      Since it's low, maybe you just decide to be happy with what you're doing; but if you want to take the reins a bit more, one or both of the above solutions will work very well.

      cheers
      Heather
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      • Profile picture of the author SpicyRobby
        Originally Posted by Heather Vale View Post

        Remember, YOU'RE in control of the refunds and what your policy is.
        Heather
        Are you sure about this? Whether you use ClickBank or PayPal - you're definitely not in control...

        And even if you have a merchant account - you can get charge-backs and that's it.

        Personally I refund without any questions asked - there's just no point in it!

        * You'll waste your time
        * Your competitors need research.. So what? You have your traffic, your website and they can't tap into it!
        * Even 10% is normal - so 1% should make anyone extremely happy!

        Rgds,

        Robert
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        • Profile picture of the author sparrow
          Don't lose sleep over it part of doing business make the refunds or make some hoops to jump through it

          you could even have software disable the ebook if your profits warrant doing this

          Ed
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          • Profile picture of the author sylviad
            Ken has some excellent suggestions that certainly could work for you. If they return the product, they'll still be out cash for shipping and handling. Maybe it's enough to deter them.

            Another thing that might help is to change Ebook to DIGITAL BOOK or DIGITAL EBOOK- and capitalize it all - in red ink, so they can't possibly miss it. You could even add "available by download only".

            Another idea... on the order page, which will have far less written on it... spell this out as an IMPORTANT NOTE! Before placing your order, know that this is a digital book... etc.

            Of course, none of this is going to make any difference if they plan to steal your book.

            Other than that, I would simply let it go. Calculate your ROI - (sales/profit vs refunds & your time) and you're sure to see that it's not something worth worrying about. I'd be more concerned about whether your material shows up somewhere else under their names. At least you'd have their names via refunds to follow up on this.

            Sylvia
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            • I did this for a client once which really did kill this issue off ...On your order page or pre-order page if your using CB, add a working tick box form field, and add a statement saying they must tick the box to confirm they understand this is NOT a physical product, but an E-book, an no products will be shipped.

              Make it so if they hit submit without ticking the box it forces them to go back and tick the box to agree, much like a T&C.

              That kills of the " I thought it was a physical book" excuse dead, of course those that simply purchase with a refund in mind will simply cook up another unlikely excuse, such as they can't use read a PDF on their computer because their computer is to old / slow / does not have a big enough hard disk etc.

              Physical product via drop shipment also works but you do then enter a whole new world of customer service, lost in post, damaged goods, I never received it type BS.

              You also need to bare in mind that some people buy compulsively on the basis they will have the information in minutes , they don't want to wait for a physical product to ship.

              If you do decide to go down the physical product route, one tactic I have employed to please both camps is to send them the PDF version immediately or at least the first 3 chapters and then send the physical copy on via snail mail.

              That way those that want instant gratification get something in minutes and something to look forward to.

              My 2 cents..
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            • Profile picture of the author David Sieg
              Hi gang,

              Actually, all the ideas are good ones. (That's why I come here, you guys always make me feel better. :+) Maybe I'll implement them all. Like I said, I don't mind refunding per se, as you said, it's the cost of doing business. But Man !!! I've sold thousands of copies now, and you can spot a fraud pretty easily, and I guess this is what's bothering me. It really grates on me to be a sucker, especially for such lame reasons. I've also thought that maybe it should be a compliment, my sales copy is working to the point that they are no longer reading, just reaching for their credit cards.

              Speaking of which...

              Does anyone know of a service that you could subscribe to that keeps a database of serial refunders, frauds, etc?

              If not, I wonder if this is a niche worth pursuing? With the hundreds of thousands of ebook sellers, maybe there is money here in them thar refunds!
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              • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
                David,

                Generally good advice here. One other thing that could help...

                If it's in PDF format, don't call it any kind of book. Refer to it as a PDF document. Any technically oriented type knows what a PDF document is. It's easy to turn that into a selling point, by referring to immediate access, etc.

                Of course, test your response at the same time.


                Paul
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