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How do you deal with unreasonable customers?
(More like customers with credit card companies backing them)
directwheels




msg:4274384
 4:17 am on Mar 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

As all of you webmasters know, consumers typically have a lot of power when there is a disagreement with things they purchased using a credit card. They can simply file a dispute and you will have a really hard time fighting it.

Every now and then, I get totally unreasonable customers. I usually don't get them too often, but had 3 this week. Here are a couple examples:

1. Customer buys a custom-made product produced for his order. He said he is unhappy with it and wants to return it. When asked, he can't provide a reason why he is unhappy. We do not accept returns on custom-made products unless there is a quality or a real issue. He filed a dispute and we are fighting it now.

2. Customer buys something and USPS take 2 extra days to deliver it. Customer decided he needs it sooner and bought it from a store. Now he is expecting me to pay for shipping for have the item shipped back to me then give him a full refund, including shipping.

How do you guys typically deal with unreasonable requests? Do you just eat the cost and let it go? Some of these customers will assume they are always right and file disputes with their credit card companies. Or they go online and write all sorts of bad reviews about your business.

Most of the times, after trying to reason with them and they still want things their way, I just let them file the dispute. I then try to fight it with the credit card companies. I hate the fact that customers can file a dispute for the whole charge then not return the products to us.

 

JohnRoy




msg:4274410
 5:26 am on Mar 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

For issue 1) have them click on some sort of I Agree check-box before submitting the order - clearly reminding them about your return policy. It might help later when disputing, and even if not, it might help keep this attitude guys away from placing the order.

For 2) calculate the costs. Some merchant services charge up to 50 bucks for each charge-back, regardless of who wins the dispute.

3 in one week?! - that's awful :(

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:4274482
 9:36 am on Mar 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

Yes, I had a guy mistakenly make an online purchase of a downloadable item (60) twice. This was his fault. Instead of contacting us he put a charge back on both purchases. He had the item and we had nothing but hassle. It took about three months for PayPal to return what we were owed.

Having said that, if a guaranteed delivery time was part of the conditions in (2) above then that guy may have a case?

jecasc




msg:4274542
 12:57 pm on Mar 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

For national orders I don't bother fighting the chargeback but go after the debtor directly. Actually I had someone arrested for debt only a few days ago for a 150 EUR chargeback. I got a court order for payment and he refused to pay and refused to disclose his posessions to the bailiff so the bailiff arrested him until he got reasonable after twenty minutes since I had applied for an arrest warrant. However this only works for national orders since I am very familiar with the small claims court system in my country, international orders I usually write off when I loose the chargebacks. I send a few polite but threatening payment reminders though.

frontpage




msg:4274552
 1:34 pm on Mar 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

He said he is unhappy with it and wants to return it. When asked, he can't provide a reason why he is unhappy.


Most American's expect the ability to return something they are not satisfied with. It does not matter what the reason is as it falls under the age of old 'the customer is always right' meme way of doing business.

So, it is incumbent upon the seller to have a contract with the buyer clearly stating "all sales are final" and that return shipping fees are the responsibility of the buyer.

So, if a buyer disputes the sale with his/her credit card company you can provide a copy of the sales contract to the company for the dispute resolution.

digitalv




msg:4274557
 1:54 pm on Mar 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

The cost of shipping is insignificant next to the loss of revenue from having your name on complaint sites.

Tell him you'll reimburse him for the shipping after you've received the item and confirmed that it's in good condition. When you get it back, if everything checks out refund his money and send him a prepaid gift card to cover the shipping, rounded to the nearest $5.00.

Little things like that go a long way.

P.S. - As a general rule, it's better to do everything possible to avoid a charge-back even when you know you're right. Bad news travels faster than good.

HRoth




msg:4274819
 7:03 pm on Mar 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

Heh, your customers are unreasonable, but mine are murderers. I rarely get a chargeback. Last one I had, the individual claimed her daughter-in-law had used her card without her permission, and then her son murdered the daughter-in-law, so the daughter-in-law sure couldn't speak for herself and whoever got the merchandise (which btw was stuff intended for spiritual development) didn't return it. I lost the chargeback, but I have to say that I enjoyed reading about these unbelievable skeevs and feeling grateful for my uneventful life.

So far, no one who has bought a custom item from me has done a chargeback, although I did have a close call due to delivery problems internationally. That made me change how I have such things delivered to Canada.

dpd1




msg:4274840
 7:40 pm on Mar 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

I always love the people that email you first and ask if they would be able to return something after they bought it. Translation: I'd like to buy this and then return it.

MrFewkes




msg:4275487
 8:36 pm on Mar 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

Wheels - I dont know how you value your products and your time - but for certain situations its better to bow down and just let them go and get away with it.

By this what I mean is that sometimes I find myself trying to win a battle on principal - and this causes me to lose even more money - even when I win - due to lost time.

I came to the conclusion that sometimes it is very prudent of me to just keep them happy to shut them up and get rid of the monkeys - kind of smile at them and then send them the finger when they turn away - knowing you will never accept another order from them again.

I "feel" (but I may be wrong LOL) like a "proper" business man when I can rise above them............. :) in the long run its me laughing my way to the bank - not them - they are just little rats with smelly fur and itchy fleas.

But this may not be the case for you and your own products.

dpd1




msg:4275492
 8:42 pm on Mar 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

Agreed... As tough as it is sometimes, you have to look at the big picture. With some people, you're just never going to win. Digging your heels in is just going to make it worse. Unless you're loosing a fortune, kill them with kindness and move on. But I know it's easier said than done.

MrFewkes




msg:4275493
 8:42 pm on Mar 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

I had one once I just remembered - he ordered a product - then complained saying it was broken on arrival. He wanted a replacement for it. He sent it back - but it wasnt the one I had sent him - it was clearly very old and broken - and whilst it was indeed a red widget - it was not even a red widget model I sell! If I had sent him another - he basically would have got two red widgets for the price of one. No Way.

I did something to him because he had actually broken the law with his red widget and I could prove it because I had it in my possesion - he wont be contacting me again I can assure you - one up for the seller :)

dpd1




msg:4276782
 8:08 pm on Mar 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

Had a nice one today... It's always good to see the complaints the second you turn on the comp.

Guy orders something on the 25th. We send everything priority, which gives some wiggle time for us. Two days later he emails and says he hopes it didn't go out, because he wanted something different on it. I told him... Nope, hasn't gone out... I can add that no problem. (ie: free custom item). I told him it would most likely get there Saturday or Monday. So less than 1 1/2 week for custom order that has to be built.

He gets the shipping notice yesterday and emails me today, yelling at me in caps about how terrible my company is and how he's not going to recommend me to anybody, because it just now shipped.

So doing a custom order for free and getting to somebody's door in 1 1/2 week, somehow makes me a terrible company that doesn't deserve to be recommended to anybody. I'm waiting for the bad review attacks to start any minute.

MrFewkes




msg:4276809
 8:52 pm on Mar 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

You know guys - I can almost guarantee that all of us at sometime have bitched about "big" companies that we can never get through to on the phone to talk to a "human".

I took a step back and thought about "why this may be the case" once I started selling products online.

Who would blame them for trying to keep customers at bay - I couldnt imagine the stress of dealing with 100,000 customers like some of the ones I get - and I only get a couple of sales a day!

Customers are "orrible" things - but we need them I guess.

rjwmotor




msg:4276998
 5:44 am on Mar 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

I had a guy order a product(NOT reusable) in a specific color. Before installing it the color is visible so if there was a problem with the color he should have contacted us then, right?

Nope. He installed it(again, product is NOT reusable), decided he didn't like the color, literally ripped it off, crumpled it up and shipped it back to us saying he didn't like the color. I couldn't believe he was expecting anything back but sure enough- chargeback the next day stating "Item not as described"(tough one to beat).

I could not believe that someone would actually ship back garbage at this point and expect a refund-seriously he shoved it in a garbage bag, boxed it up and sent it back.

I took this one on simply on principle and couldn't believe it when I actually won--first one ever!

The chargeback system is WAY to inclined to believe the customer. As sellers, there should be someway we could see if/how many chargebacks customers have initiated in the past couple of years before selling to them. Some of these people know exactly what they are doing and how to game the system to get free stuff over and over.

dpd1




msg:4277007
 7:31 am on Mar 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think the problem with a lot of people, is that they don't look at a business as other people. They look at it as a thing. To them, they're not screwing over a person... They're just sticking it to "the man". They convince themselves that all businesses are evil and ripping everybody off, so that's how they justify acting like an a** and still live with themselves.

tangor




msg:4277016
 8:09 am on Mar 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

One of my sites, offering a very unique item, was so hard hit by these kind of customers I changed my payment model:

Money Order or Cashier's Check. Credit Cards or Paypal Not Allowed.

Sales remained about the same but the other b.s. ala chargeback or failure to abide by the sale vanished nearly overnight. :)

Above won't work for everyone, but might make a difference for some.

directwheels




msg:4277192
 5:49 pm on Mar 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

@tangor, I can't imagine how good it would feel to tell an unreasonable customer "tough luck" if they paid by a money order.

I really wonder sometimes about how these some of these people justify what they do. I had another guy that ordered 3 items, we shipped him 2 by mistake, and he filed a full chargeback on us before he reached out to tell us about it. I told him I will ship him the missing item right away but he said he wants ALL his money back and doesn't want to bother shipping back the 2 items he received.

JohnRoy




msg:4277622
 2:45 am on Mar 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

he said he wants ALL his money back and doesn't want to bother shipping back the 2 items he received.
With Paypal that guy would've succeed. However, with credit cards, if you fight back - the chargeback would be reversed.
dpd1




msg:4278052
 10:25 pm on Mar 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

Had a nice one today... It's always good to see the complaints the second you turn on the comp.

Guy orders something on the 25th. We send everything priority, which gives some wiggle time for us. Two days later he emails and says he hopes it didn't go out, because he wanted something different on it. I told him... Nope, hasn't gone out... I can add that no problem. (ie: free custom item). I told him it would most likely get there Saturday or Monday. So less than 1 1/2 week for custom order that has to be built.

He gets the shipping notice yesterday and emails me today, yelling at me in caps about how terrible my company is and how he's not going to recommend me to anybody, because it just now shipped.

So doing a custom order for free and getting to somebody's door in 1 1/2 week, somehow makes me a terrible company that doesn't deserve to be recommended to anybody. I'm waiting for the bad review attacks to start any minute.


I would have bet $100 on this one... Guy emails today and says he doesn't like it and wants his money back. What a shock. I wish the weather was this predictable.

cien




msg:4278066
 11:12 pm on Mar 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

Scare the buyer. Tell them you will call his/her police station and file a fraud complaint. Make sure to include the address of their police station and name of a police officer on the email. Reply with their name and maling address asking them to verify it for their complaint. Tell them the cops will show up at their door to confirm their identity. Of course you are BSing your way through but it works. Mention things like "violation of local and federal laws" and they'll get scared. It worked for me on ebay a few times yeas ago. Nobody wants the cops showing up at their door. Of course you have to sound credible.

HRoth




msg:4278092
 12:57 am on Mar 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

Well, when it comes to scaring, you DO have the right if someone does a chargeback when it is not warranted of taking them to small claims court. And you are totally within your rights to say this to the customer. I have said this I think twice to customers over the years. One was a customer who stiffed me with a check and kept promising to send a money order to make it good and never did. He actually did send the money order after I told him I would contact his district attorney and have him charged with passing bad checks.

dpd1




msg:4278126
 2:39 am on Mar 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

I guess it could be worse... A friend of mine owns some residential buildings. He's had a tenant jerk him around for 8 months now. Keeps on lying about sending a check from here and there, then doesn't. Gave him a check with the wrong amount... Gave him a fed bank check that they said wasn't one of their checks. He had to pay an attorney to start eviction proceedings, which can't happen until 6 months have passed. All said and done, he thinks he's lost about 10k so far. All from one deadbeat tenant.

So if you're in business, I guess there's always going to be bad apples giving you grief.

directwheels




msg:4278348
 3:33 pm on Mar 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

@cien, great idea. I have threatened people with debt collection agencies and it worked a couple times too. One guy who did a chargeback for no reason threatened me back and said "If any of these end up on my credit report, I am going to sue you", but then he paid the PayPal invoice right away.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:4278370
 4:00 pm on Mar 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

I had problems with a company in Canada (I am in the UK) who owed me a large sum of money. They played me around for about six months until I got fed up with the hassle of chasing them. Actually this was after one of their people had told me that he was too busy to deal with this as he had other priorities.

I sent them a final invoice the next Monday marked from "accounts" (as opposed to being from me personally). I explained that we had exhausted our "chase up" procedures and told them that if the money was not paid by Friday of that week we would be passing to our "Credit Collection Agents". We received full payment on the Thursday.

As you will no doubt be aware there are credit collection agencies who charge around 15% of any money they recover. I would have happily used one of them had it became necessary.

directwheels




msg:4278428
 5:23 pm on Mar 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

Are there any collection agencies that will collect very small sums such as $50-$100?

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