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Ecommerce Forum

Customer Wants To Return Product After 30 Days
What do you do?

 10:57 pm on Oct 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

What do you guys do when customer email you wanting to return a product that was purchase 40 days ago? Our return policy states 30 days return guarantee. Would you accept the return? Under what term?



 11:03 pm on Oct 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

It depends. Is the product outdated now? Is the container unopened? Do you charge a restocking fee? Are they clothes, electronics?

Personally, if the policy was 30 days, I'd politely tell them sorry UNLESS it was unopened and I knew I could resell the item quickly.


 11:39 pm on Oct 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the response, Billy. We are in accessory business so our product can be resell but not with ease. We don't charge restocking fee but there's always cost associated with processing return. I offered him a return at 25% restocking fee, but he wants it waived.

Another question, say shopper use a coupon code for 20% off order over $100, and then make a return which make the original order below $100, do you still give customer the 20% off on the rest of the item? or do you subtract the discount from the return credit?


 1:10 am on Oct 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

Stick to our policy and don't do it.
Subtract the discount an chage them full price.


 1:18 am on Oct 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

Depends on a lot of things. How nuts does the customer seem... Are they going to spend every waking moment trying to ruin your life if you don't do it. Have they bought stuff before. Is it now used. Would it still be like new. Is there something wrong with it, or do they just not like it.

If it's not used and I'm not losing any money, I would probably take it back, minus shipping... if it's just a little over 30.


 9:05 pm on Oct 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

Depends on how much the product is, if it can be re-sold and how much your losing? It's so easy for one customer to go online and write bad reviews all over the place...I would try to just make the customer happy and move on.


 9:12 pm on Oct 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

Before I came to the web I turned around two failing businesses into triple digit growth by aiming to make every customer happy. Sometimes, in one specific case, it can seem absolutely unreasonable and even absurd. But cusotmer retention and good word-of-mouth far outweighs the bean counting on one transaction.

So I'd find a way to do it - maybe a partial refund is all it would take.


 1:41 am on Oct 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

I agree with Tedster, in a B&M I took alsorts of crap off people but when they calmed down youd be surprised how many bought hundreds of pounds of items.

May be worth just giving a refund and smiling


 2:14 am on Oct 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Will it cause you financial difficulty? If not, refund.


 2:23 am on Oct 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

A policy has been provided. Take in all the above (all valid points) then decide if you want to deal with this a second time... because it will happen a second, third, or more times.

Me? I have a policy. I stick with it. Has worked for 40 years.

The web does allow "loud mouth" but it follows pretty much in the same vein as it does in the real world... real customers can tell when a screw-loose is complaining and when there is a real complaint. Somebody who has had a product for 40 days on a 30 day policy is a screw-loose. Real customers know they can figure out suitability of use far less than 10 days.


 12:00 pm on Oct 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Do you really think this person is going to tell "everyone." Just doesn't happen.

"is a screw-loose"

More likely just one of millions of people having a tough time nowadays. I've been in business more than 40 years and I'd take it back, especially if not taking it back is ruining your day.

Yeah, I'd go for the restocking charge and if that fails I'd probably give in.


 8:37 pm on Oct 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Issues over returns will vary by country, for example in some jurisdictions restocking fees are illegal. From the reference to $ in one of Cooldar's posts I assume that he is in either Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Singapore or the USA.


 10:32 am on Oct 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

in some jurisdictions restocking fees are illegal

Usually they are illegal only if the customer follows a rigid set of rules. If not, you can charge restocking fees and it is perfectly legal.


 12:46 pm on Oct 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

Oh dear! That sentence was badly written! The customer has to follow the rules set out by law to make the restocking fee illegal.

Eg) - In the UK, a customer can return a product within 7 working days and get a full (including postage) refund. This must be done in writing. If they are outside the 7 days or they phone the return in, it isn't covered by the law and a restocking fee is legal.


 5:47 pm on Oct 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

I have both a B&M and ecommerce store and stick to my return policy period. If you don't then your gonna find it happen over and over. When do you draw the line? If you have a return policy posted and can't stick to the policy then you might as well take it down.

Try buying a Dell using it for 40 days and ask to send it back, buy from Walmart use it for 40 days and ask to send it back, for that matter buy from any big business and try to break their return policy. Why do you think a smaller store should not makes no sense to me at all.

Stick to your policy.


 6:24 pm on Oct 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

"Stick to my return policy" I think major chains give managers wide discretion in handling returns. Certainly Walmart did. One rule trumps all others: Don't provoke a physical fight or worse.

Jeesh, we're talking about 10 days over the line and the customer always has the ability to "create" a defective product with a hammer or scissors.

I've faced people like this over the years, only younger and bigger... and perhaps armed:


 8:11 pm on Oct 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

Precisely why you have a written policy and stick with it. Nice video.


 11:40 pm on Oct 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

Make the customers you want to keep smile. This one sounds like a headache. Unless he has a valid reason why he's exceptional, lump him in with the rest of the mortals.


 7:35 pm on Oct 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

Now this is a funny one, as we have a customer at my current place of work who threatened to do exactly this, although oddly he claimed he would target womens magzines to smear our name across. We do nottarget women as a demographic so quite why he thought he'd do this....

Any how day one of his smear campaign brought an 'email' from a concerned citizen, written in the style and manner of his writing... Ho hum but it gave it us all a laugh


 1:06 am on Oct 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

There's also the chargeback issue which not many on this board believe can be won at all by the merchant. Something to consider if you refuse the return.


 2:25 pm on Oct 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

MrHard I have no reason the think I would not win a chargeback seeing how I have a published return policy that states the time the customer has to return an item and this time has expired.

I would fight it and feel I would win.


 2:54 pm on Oct 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

I would fight it and feel I would win.

You might try physically threatening the customer when "Fighting" the chargeback fails.... more efficient than all that banter with CC companies and provides even more ego-gratification.

I'm curious how long these "published Return Policies" are? Do you invoke them when your #1 customer wants to return a minor purchase a day late? Or when it's a gift bought 31 days before Christmas?


 8:19 pm on Oct 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

Well 1st of all I will never ever physically threaten a customer period. That is a road to disaster and not one I will go down.

2nd I have never had a return customer ever try to break my return policy except for a gift and I talk about thais below. If there is an issue they call us right away and it is taken care of in a way the customer is happy.
I believe the only thing that has kept us in business the last 2 years has been our return customers so I as a business owner take customer care very serious. We have customers we have had for over 10 years.

How many times have you bought an item and waited over 30 days beore you used it? Anybody wanting to return something over 30 days have either broke it, copied it, or replaced it with something else.

They are the users and one that feed off merchants that won't stand up but give in. There probably is a forum were these people post suckers.

The qift question is a good one and one yes I have broken when the buyer told me they got the wrong item. Past the policy date I will only exchange it for the correct product with them shipping it back and additional charges/refunds if the product they wanted was more or less. They also pay for the reship.

The best advice I can give anybody in this business is treat others as you would want to be treated.

I may sound a little harsh but doing ecommerce for 11 years I have about seen it all and know I have to stick to a policy I have posted, and can't eat a product someone has had for 30 days. More than likely I will lose the whole amount and they get a refund. I go busted and they move on to another site and repeat the process.

You have to stop the bleeding might as well start with your return policy and stick to it.


 3:03 am on Oct 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

I have no reason the think I would not win a chargeback seeing how I have a published return policy that states the time the customer has to return an item and this time has expired.

The latest wrinkle on the chargeback issue is that it will request that the customer agreed to the return policy upon ordering. So there needs to be a checkbox page on the cart that they checked and the full policy needs to be on the cart as well (links from the cart to a policy page don't count).

This means you need to have one of those scroll boxes on the checkout page along with the checkbox. If you can print this out theoretically it's a defense but I have not attempted it so far due to coding limitations.

This is if they really want to play hardball with it. It seems to be different depending upon which bank it is among other things.

Just as in other areas of life, if you feel somebody is being unfair they need to get called on it.


 6:38 pm on Oct 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

MrHard have you actually been down that road or is this published as this is new news to me. I am intrested in seeing this so I can take action.

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