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Ecommerce Forum

Your opinion on refund
paypal charge unverified buyer wants refund

 5:37 pm on Sep 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

Here is the story. We had a customer purchase a product from our ecommerce and paid through paypal. He is an unverified buyer. Cost of item is 144.00

He called after he got the order and stated the product was the wrong flavor or didn't have a flavor added so it was a natural protein powder.

We said we would do a pickup and reship the item it would be about a week for him to recieve the delivery. We also said a pickup would be done on the item he said was incorrect.

He turned down the reship and wanted a refund. We said no problem do a pickup.

This was Monday we got a call today wants to know were his refund is I called back and left this messsage

"We won't issue a refund until the order is picked up and delivered at our location so we can verify the contents have not been altered or or switched." I might add this may take a week to 10 days for us to get the package back.

I know he is gonna hit the roof but what would you do.

If we issue a refund he can just keep the product and we are out the money. He can also switch the contents and we are out the money plus a pickup charge of 30 dollars.

Am I in the right here or would you issue the refund now...


Patrick Taylor

 6:11 pm on Sep 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

Before doing anything, I'd have a word with PayPal. They will probably say they can't do anything until a dispute or chargeback occurs, but it seems worth a try.

Normally, it would be reasonable to expect the customer to return the goods (at his expense) before a refund can be issued. Many terms of sale are written that way.

So I think you are being more than reasonable and I'd tough it out and see what happens.


 6:31 pm on Sep 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

Assuming you have a return policy posted on your site (you *DO* have a return/refund policy, don't you?), point the person to that and explain that it is company policy that refund can not be issued until the product has been returned. Not only is it your policy, but it is pretty much standard busienss practice.

Since it appears the entire conversation has been verbal to this point, he can easily change his story to say he never received the product and do a chargeback. If you have his e-mail address, it would be best to send him an e-mail reiterating the previous conversations and again point out that he must return the product before a refund can be issued. Hopefully, that will prompt some sort of written response from him where he inadvertantly admits that he did receive the product.


 6:49 pm on Sep 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

we do have a return policy that is a good point.

I checked it (Du should have done this before the post) and it does state when we recieve the order back a full refund will be issued so I am within my rights.

Normally we issue the refund right away but the Company that made the product wants to do the pickup as they don't understand his complaint so i kinda smell a skunk here.


 10:51 pm on Sep 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

You are keen in your sense of smell. You are within your rights to do a pickup. PayPal will not back you, however, because their Seller Protection Policy requires that you ship to a confirmed address.

You may want to adjust your PayPal Profile to require customers to have a confirmed address in order to place an order. This is the only way to be covered under Seller Protection.

But a refund after receiving the returned item is normal. Do not issue a refund on a "promise of a return"; it won't happen.


 11:30 pm on Sep 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

Do not issue a refund on a "promise of a return"; it won't happen.

Ha- how I wish we could do that and be able issue a "reverse chargeback" on the refunded amount! Then the customer would have to prove to the CC company that the product was returned (but the merchant could turn the tables and say it was never received).

Sorry- I was just dreaming again. The CC companies will never become pro-merchant like that.


 4:49 am on Sep 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

Am I in the right here or would you issue the refund now...

Nobody issues a refund before getting the product back. This is also your defense in a chargeback. Issue the pickup, call tag or however you plan to get the product returned then deal with it from there.

If it goes to chargeback and you haven't received the return then provide evidence that you sent the call tag and assert that a refund will be made on return of the product. I know it's hard but have some faith in the system - even Paypal.


 5:21 am on Sep 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

I don't have an ecommerce site but I do a lot of shopping online, and I've never heard of any place giving a refund before the product has been returned and checked by the store.


 6:32 am on Sep 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

Some what off the thread here but remotely connected.

I know a customer can do a charge back on a credit card, but can they do the
same thing on a debit card charge?...KF


 12:38 pm on Sep 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

On a debit card, the bank can investigate the charge and request the money back, yes. I have done this a couple times with companies that did not want to give me what I had paid for. Every time, as soon as the bank started investigating, the vendor gave me the product or the money back. But it is a balky process. It is not something you can just do on the phone, at least, not with my bank. They mail me a form and I fill it out.

[edited by: HRoth at 12:39 pm (utc) on Sep. 28, 2007]


 2:31 pm on Sep 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

I will add here thee customer hit the roof demands a refund said he was going to put the product outside if it was stolen I was responsible etc and etc.

I have emailed him several times and let it be know without any doubt he would not get a refund till the item was returned and verified it wasn't bricks.

I as well told him his complaint was such the Company that made the product wanted to do the recall as this complaint has never been made before.

I told him if he were me would you give a blind refund to someone for 150.00 I don't think so and I will not as well. Allow us the time to get this pickup completed and when we do a refund will be issued.

I still smell a skunk here.

This as a paypal charge so I don't have any info on what kind of credit card it was. He is as well an unverified account so this is as well a red flag.

I feel this may help new ecommerce business as when we first started up we did everthing to please the customer... This is good but after getting ripped more than once you have to treat every customer (unless they have built a trust by reordering etc over a period of time) as a problem.

A really good attitude to take is trust nothing make and follow procedures to ensure your legal rights and financial responsibilities to your business.


 3:16 pm on Sep 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

I will add here thee customer hit the roof demands a refund

We had an expensive item one of my kids owned go missing right after our cleaning service hired a new employee. When questioned by the owner of the service, the new employee hit the roof and got very angry at the suggestion that she might been dishonest, but the item was eventually recovered and she had indeed taken it. So I wouldn't let your customers anger necessarily sway your decision. It might just be an over-reaction to cover up dishonest intentions.


 6:39 pm on Sep 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

No, do not issue a credit before you receive and inspect the goods.

If this person is demanding such a thing just say flat out that you have to follow company policy and there is no negotiation on this matter. Be stern and straight forward.

Patrick Taylor

 8:05 pm on Sep 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

Sometimes it isn't a matter of right and wrong. You take a straight commercial view. If you're going to spend hours of your valuable time on a slim possibility of recovering 140 dollars worth of goods (maybe less the 30 dollars for pickup - I don't quite understand the pickup as described - would the goods be returned for re-sale?), it can make sense to forget it and move on. It depends on how slim is slim.


 9:49 am on Oct 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

I am afraid that I do not agree with Patrick Taylor. Every time these people score a success and manage to get goods without paying then they are encouraged to try it on again. Never let them get away with dishonesty is my motto.


 1:48 pm on Oct 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

I second that. Scam artists find the eCommerce soft-spots after lots of trial and error, and if you're willing to let a $140 order off the hook, soon you'll have lots of refund requests for $140 orders as word spreads.


 3:52 pm on Oct 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

I didn't think you could sell supplements via Paypal? I know that an old account of mine was frozen for it.

If that is the case - you're going to have a tough time getting PP on your side regardless.


 7:34 pm on Oct 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

The lesson here is stand firm on your any policy period and don't back down. Make sure you have it posted on your site all information you need to cover your butt.

He calmed down and said he would take the package to UPS to be shipped back. He wanted a refund after this was verified.

Nope won't happen till the goods are in and made sure it wasn't bricks then we will issue a refund.

Scammers are everywere and as some said they will move on to another pull the same stunt till they get free products as they know trying to pursue someone over 150.00 bucks won't happen and they continue to do it over and over.

Patrick Taylor
the pickup was being down by the manufacture of the product. They wanted to do the pickup to keep us from having to do it then they would have to do it from us, this saves them some money on shipping.

We usually do the pickup get the product and issue a refund from the company that makes the product, but due to the nature of the complaint they wanted it back pretty fast.


 9:51 am on Oct 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

What happened? Is the product faulty?


 9:57 pm on Oct 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

Nope it was a legit complaint. They got it back and it was natural the chocolate flavor had been left out. I refunded his money yesterday in full.

We asked the company that was doing the pickup to call him by that time he had calmed down and began to understand even Walley World won't give a refund till they get the product back.

All is well but you never know and it is best safe than sorry in this world we live in.

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