|Will I win this chargeback dispute?|
Customer wants to return item after 30 day period...
We have a return policy that states:
"If for any reason you're not satisfied with the item you purchased via this web site you can return *any non-engraved, unsized item in its original condition for a refund or exchange within 30 days of the date of purchase."
This customer ordered an item via phone on the 22nd of February, she was told that the item would need to be made, and to expect delivery in about three weeks. The item shipped on the 16th of March, and was received on the 20th.
On the second of April, the customer emails to say she isn't happy with the item, and would like to exchange it for a custom item which we do not have, and cannot make. I explain this, and she wants to return the item. I offer to take the item back and offer her a store credit, but she wants a full refund.
She says that though she bought the item over 30 days ago, she only received it 12 days ago.
Under the terms of our policy, I can say no. But will I win a charge back dispute?
I doubt it. The credit card companies probably won't consider it "purchased" until it actually shipped. (Otherwise, technically you could wait 31 days for shipping and prevent anyone from ever being able to return an item for refund.)
Normally, credit card companies don't want you to charge until the item is shipped. You may bneed to review the terms of your processing agreement to make sure you are in compliance.
These days, cardholders wield most of the power in disputes with credit cards. My guess is that you would lose.
Give her back her money, some things are not worth the bad will generated by fighting it.
The standard is 30 days after they receive the item, not from the date of order. It is meant to give time for the customer to evaluate the product, not for conveinence of the merchant.
Is she willing to pay a restocking fee? This would offset costs.
I hate it when people bring up that exchange thing when they really just want a refund.
'Just give back the money' is not a viable option unless you are willing to do it for everyone from now on. Not just the people who complain the loudest or chargeback, but everyone.
Yes, I suppose that if we wished to kill our business we could abuse our return policy by only shipping goods 31 days after the order was placed.
In this particular case though, the customer was clearly told that her item needed to be made, and how long it would take. She actually ordered two items, which we offered to ship separately because she was anxious to have them.
This customer got the second item 3 days before the the return policy expired, but waited 10 days to notify us of her wish to exchange.
According to the US Federal Trade Commission (summarized):
"An order is properly completed when you receive the correct full or partial (in whatever form you accept) payment, accompanied by all the information you need to fill the order."
Full text here:
Is it taboo to use date of purchase (as defined above) as the starting point of a return policy?
Might that come back and bite me in this case?
>>Might that come back and bite me in this case?
It sure would, if people actually thought about what it meant. If someone orders something and you take 3 weeks to ship it, then they are certainly not getting 30 days to decide if they're satisfied - they are getting about a week to 10 days.
Regardless of what some "law" says, consumers will assume that 30 days means they have 30 days to decide - which they can't do until they've actually received the goods. If a refund isn't given, a customer will feel deceived - and indeed, regardless of how a law reads, it is, in fact, deceptive.
I appreciate the input so far.
I find that my attention to the "law" increases in near direct proportion to the $$$ of the sale. If it were a $100 item, fine, I'd probably not hassle with the intricacies of the law, but this is a $2000 item.
In any case, I think the right thing to do will be to offer a full credit, even... though... it... stings... ;-)
As suggested, charging a credit card for an item that has not been shipped is against most of the card association's rules. This is why gateways have a pre-authorization - to guarantee you the money for a certain amount of days.
If the processor realizes you are charging without having shipped the goods, your account might be terminated.
Just learn from your mistakes and consider to have customers maybe even sign something when the total is over a certain amount
For 2k USD on a special order item I'd fight the chargeback if I thought everything was on my side - did she know exactly what she was getting etc.
I've limited experience of chargebacks at this level, but from what I have seen we've had an actual arbitration process, so there is at least a chance of winning.
|If the processor realizes you are charging without having shipped the goods, your account might be terminated. |
i find this interesting, if this is so.. then why is paypal still in business? they do not offer their merchants the option to accept the payment when the item is shipped.
(not arguing about this, just interested in this fact as i've seen it mentioned all over the internet before)
|they do not offer their merchants the option to accept the payment when the item is shipped. |
Actually, this is an option: you can create an Authorization, and then Capture it when you ship the item. For details on how to create payments as Authorizations in either Website Payments Standard or Website Payments Pro, refer to PayPal's Integration Center.
Here's an idea, and I can't take credit for it - I read it in a book on "coverting to sales."
How about offering to allow her to keep it for $1K - and no further options to return. That is a LOT of money for the customer to spend, $2K, and then not be satisfied - and then feel that the merchant was welching on how she understood having 30 days to decide.
No, a sale is not made until goods are shipped - they're ordered, no sale yet. And the 30 days from date of order is walking the line with deceptive advertising. I'd be nervous about getting reported to consumer affairs for that and then refusing to honor the guarantee - any bureaucrat in her position would side with her.
Letting her keep it for $1K, if worded right, keeps her satisfied, hopefully enough to be satisfied enough to buy again, and even to recommend. She may like it, but after living with it for a few days, have decided it is NOT worth $2k.
A lot depends on whether the article can readily be sold to someone else. Did it "have to be made" because it was something special, or simply because it was out of stock and awaiting replenishment?
If it was "something special" you need to later your terms and conditions to exclude such items from your gurantee unless they are defective.
I agree that the best option here is to offer a substantial price rebate, and decline future orders from this customer.
>>Will I win this chargeback dispute?
no, end of story.
I've offered a full refund to the customer. Though I may have been able to fight the potential chargeback successfully, the risks outweighed the benefits.
Thanks to all of you for your opinions and insight!
Will start a new thread on return policies shortly...
I've just checked the return policy for a company that has a ton of ecom stores running, many of which have products that can take 2-3 weeks (some more) to be shipped. High priced, major items.
Their return policy? Unconditional satisfaction guarantee - within 30 days from receipt of goods.
Anything less isn't worth the paper it's written on or the bandwidth it takes to read it. 30 days from date of receipt would be a perfectly normal consumer assumption - it's the only way it's actually a genuine guarantee.
In the UK, we have distance selling laws which require the returns policy to kick in once delivered. The minimum legal length/cooling off period os seven days.
Check the most popular luxury goods etailers you know. I found quite a few examples of "date of shipment" and "date of invoice" return policies, and not for mom&pop stores.
|Actually, this is an option: you can create an Authorization, and then Capture it when you ship the item. For details on how to create payments as Authorizations in either Website Payments Standard or Website Payments Pro, refer to PayPal's Integration Center. |
is this option available outside of the US (in canada)? i've searched in my account profile and i cannot located it.
I believe so. I'll send you some info by Sticky Mail and you can let me know if it works. :)