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Am I too nice?
dickbaker




msg:3708576
 12:23 pm on Jul 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

My distributor charges a 15% restocking fee on returns of non-defective items. I've had quite a few customers order the wrong item, and I've charged them the 15% restocking fee, and nobody has complained.

Two weeks ago a woman ordered an Acme Super Widgetfinder XT from my site. I followed up on the order as I do with all orders, asking if the product arrived and if she was happy with the product and the service. She replied that the service was excellent, but her husband was wanting something completely different.

I emailed her back and told her that there would be a 15% restocking fee. She replied saying that she had sent the Widgetfinder back, and that she didn't think that she should have to pay the restocking fee because the item she received was an Acme Super Widgetfinder XT, and not the Acme Supreme Widgetfinder XT that she thought she was getting. She also told me that she had ordered a Supreme Widgetfinder XT from another online store.

In my response to her, I told her that she had received the item she ordered, that there are photographs and full product specifications of the items on my site and, further, that I have both the Super Widgetfinder XT and the Supreme Widgetfinder XT on my site. But, in the interest of customer satisfaction, I told her that I would eat the restocking fee myself (about $40).

It's too late to change things, but I feel like I've made a mistake and am being too nice. The proper thing for her to do would have been to ask to exchange the Super model for the Supreme model, and not order from another site. And it's not my problem that she's an idiot.

Am I being too nice, or is this just the way things should be handled?

Thanks for any replies.

 

bwnbwn




msg:3708577
 12:33 pm on Jul 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

Yes I would have eaten the restock fee if she had called me and told me what happened and that could she please exchange it for the correct one. This way you may of at least broke even.

I would have charged her the 15% restocking fee and shipping charges that go along with any order.

Your a nice guy but you will go broke not sticking to your policy. This is business don't let personal feeling get in your way.

piatkow




msg:3708596
 1:55 pm on Jul 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

IF you are getting a lot of people making mistakes in ordering then it is probably time to review the design of your site. I know of one site that I use where I twice got the wrong sub type of widget. First time I thought it was me, second time I thought it was them, third time I realised that it took a careful bit of mouse control on the dropdown menu when choosing sub types (and that I should have read the cart details more carefully before confirming the order).

Ahkamden




msg:3708642
 4:17 pm on Jul 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

I agree with bwnbwn if she was still purchasing from me I would probably eat the restocking fee. But if she then went to another site to purchase it. Nope that's her problem. Especially because you can't read minds. So is she just lying and found same product that she purchased from you somewhere else cheaper?

dickbaker




msg:3708808
 10:18 pm on Jul 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

Piatkow, the previous problems I alluded to involved an accessory to a particular type of widget. The photos on the pages show the relatively inexpensive accessory on the expensive widget. Think $100 accessory on a $1500 widget. Some people thought they were buying the widget and accessory for just $100. I corrected the problem by putting "WIDGET NOT INCLUDED" on the photos in bold red type.

Ahkamden, I suspect she'd have a hard time finding a lower price than mine. My distributor does a huge amount of business with the manufacturer, gets a volume discount, and I'm able to make a good profit while being lower than probably 95% of the competition.

This woman sent the product back without getting a return merchandise authorization number, so I have to deal with that as well. It's tempting to go back on my promise to reimburse her in full, but I can't do that. But if she gives me even one ounce of grief, that's what I'll do.

Habtom




msg:3708953
 4:03 am on Jul 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

Dickbaker, I believe you have been too nice on this case.

Wouldn't it be a good idea to send the return policy (with the restocking fee details) along with each item you send out?

bwnbwn




msg:3709255
 2:49 pm on Jul 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

Habtom great thought there just include the return policy in the email you send them when the order is completed...Great Idea

dickbaker either you are a man of your word or your not...You can't charge her now no matter what.

HugeNerd




msg:3709514
 6:26 pm on Jul 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

I do this exactly:
just include the return policy in the email you send them when the order is completed

and
if she was still purchasing from me I would probably eat the restocking fee. But if she then went to another site to purchase it. Nope that's her problem. Especially because you can't read minds

I put my restocking fee, at least in the online policy, return print-out placed in each order, and acknowledgement of order email, at 30%. Then, I have plenty of leeway. The restocking fee goes away for almost any reorder. On large orders/returns I drop it to 10% without batting an eye. If you prove to be difficult, I can "fight" before lowering it 10-15%. But, if you send back a perfectly good widget without an RGA, I keep it at 30% (my warehouse guys have to make sure it didn't get damaged on its return trip, wasn't stripped for parts, was actually received in the first place, replace it on the shelves, write up an RGA and adjust inventory to receive it back into stock, I pay another processing fee for the credit, etc...these all cost me money!). If you make me provide a service, expect to pay for it. I think having it listed at 30% prohibits some returns, which is always nice as I don't pay a second merchant processing fee...

Demaestro




msg:3709600
 7:30 pm on Jul 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

Nice guys don't always finish last. I would have done the same thing and I wouldn't even feel bad about it.

You have almost 100% guaranteed that if she ever needs another widget model again that she will come to you.... and even better if anyone she knows ever needs a widget she will tell them to go to you.

My policies are set up for the masses and are strict so I can stay in business and protect myself, yet I break them all the time.

If someone calls me and explains what happened then I have no trouble breaking policy for them. As long as they are sincere and their issue is realistic then I am all about making people happy over "getting what I am due"

Nice guy? Ya you are

Too nice? No such thing, just don't let people take advantage.

[edited by: Demaestro at 7:35 pm (utc) on July 28, 2008]

dickbaker




msg:3709751
 9:37 pm on Jul 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

Well, in the end it wouldn't matter if I charged her or not. She paid with a PayPal debit card. I called the disputes department at PayPal, described what had happened, and asked if I stood a chance of having them side with me in a dispute.

I was told that all the buyer had to do was say that the item was "not as described," and that was it. Even if it had been used. They would do a chargeback on me for the full amount.

As for the woman being a loyal return customer, who knows? I talked to her this morning and asked if she would cancel her order with the other online store. She said she would do so if I dropped my price down to theirs, which was $5 cheaper. It didn't matter, though, as her order had already shipped. (It went UPS Ground, whereas I include free priority mail shipping in my prices).

Over the years I've learned that there are some people I just don't want to deal with ever again. She's one of them.

Philip_M




msg:3710008
 6:40 am on Jul 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

"Over the years I've learned that there are some people I just don't want to deal with ever again. She's one of them."

Yes, that is very important. It is silly to crawl for customers' business when they are unreasonable and/or dishonest. Let your competitor have the misery!

I guess that it would be possible to make a list of around 20 people who following an unsatisfactory transaction would never ever buy anything from my store. It would be possible to make a list of around 20 people who following an unsatisfactory transaction are on our banned list and who we will not supply again. You can guess that the two lists are virtually the same.

There are some people who would crawl a mile on their hands and knees over broken glass to obtain a $1 discount. You are best off without them.

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