No matter what type of business you own, a customer will probably request a refund at some point. How you handle that refund may mean the difference between turning that customer into a fan, or turning them off.
Whether you offer tangible products, digital information products or services, it’s often important to define your refund policy Terms and Conditions (T&C), and make them clearly visible to your customers. Consider posting your T&C on your website and close to the checkout if you own a physical store.
Policy Details to Include
- The timeframe for getting a refund. Many companies use a standard 30-day term, but there are no rules that dictate this in most industries. Some states have specific rules. Otherwise, it’s up to you.
- What condition the item should be in to get a refund.
- When a refund won’t be allowed.
- Details about any costs (e.g., restocking fees) the customer will incur upon the return.
—Denise O'Berry, author
If you provide services or sell digital information products that are downloaded, you may want to define any specific conditions the customer will be allowed a refund. After all, you can’t “undeliver” a digital product or “unprovide” a service.
Bending Your Rules
Occasionally you may run into an anomaly that just doesn’t fit in your T&C box. Maybe it’s an irate customer who would be better served if you just gave them their money back and let them walk away, or a customer who wants to do a return on day 31 when you clearly defined a 30-day refund period. You may address these on a case-by-case basis, but you might consider the long-term repercussions of refusing to refund to that customer.
Read more articles on customer service.
This article was originally published on May 6, 2015.