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Customer returns goods in a right state (again)

     
5:32 pm on Feb 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

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hi - a customer placed an order 20 nov for kids toys, value 180.

shortly after xmas she returned 1 item (30)stating it was incorrectly ordered & asking for a refund - item arrived in a plain unprotected poly bag & as a result carton was seriously damaged. relucantly we refunded.

2 wks later she phoned again & said another item(80)had missing parts & also that other parts were damaged - again she wants a full refund.

item was returned & on inspection we found 'no missing parts' also, the parts 'damaged' were due to misuse ie broken & bent.

more importantly, the display carton was ripped, plastered with brown tape, no assembly instructions or packing sent etc & minus its shipping carton (its a large item about size of a tv).

as the item was not in a saleable condition we replaced the damaged parts & returned it however she refused to accept delivery.

anyone know how we could handle this one?

6:25 pm on Feb 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

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The proximity to the holiday, the length of time between order and return and the fact that she's established a pattern makes it obvious she's abusing her position. Kudos to you for your professionalism, but it sounds like it's be wasted on an undeserving customer.

Did you take images of the item when it arrived and before you repaired it? Also, what's your chargeback fee? From her behavior I'd say she's no stranger to chargebacks. If you refuse to refund her, that's probably the next step.

You would win a chargeback but would still have to pay the fee. If the fee is greater than what's left of your profit, I would refund her and cut your losses. If it comes to that, be sure to let her know in no uncertain terms that she won't be receiving any further refunds.

6:29 pm on Feb 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I'd also consider placing her on an internal blacklist to prevent any future purchases from her.
6:59 pm on Feb 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Refund and dont deal with her again, real annoying but part of the ecommerce world.
7:10 pm on Feb 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Send her a registered letter containing your return policy with the specific terms she violated highlighted. Indicate in no uncertain terms that a chargeback will be disputed. Note also that in the event you should lose the chargeback dispute, you will turn over the disputed amount to a collection agency.

Offer to ship her original item to her one more time at her cost, with the replacement parts included.

Would I do this myself? No. But I hope you do it so this customer is reformed before they become MY customer. ;-)

7:12 pm on Feb 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

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cheers - c/back fee is 10 (worldpay) - we've had few c/backs but never won any.

the resale value of the item is now only 25 due to the pathethic state of the packaging.

had the packaging been ok then i would have refunded no prob.

7:28 pm on Feb 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Write a letter and tell her that you replaced the damaged parts as a gesture of goodwill and without acknowledging any legal obligation. Tell her you tried to ship the goods. Tell her since she refused the delivery you are now storing the goods at her costs, and let her know how much you charge for storage. Let her know that she can pick up the goods at your usual business hours or you will ship them again as soon as she has payed the shipping expenses. Include an invoice for the first month of storage.

If she does a chargeback, don't bother to fight it and don't bother with collection agencies, go to this website and fill out Money Claim Online (MCOL) - Her Majesty's Courts Service Internet based service for claimants and defendants:

[moneyclaim.gov.uk...]

In case your claim gets through - send the bailiff to collect the money.

Or refund the payment and move on.

2:43 pm on Feb 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

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just an update - i have offered a credit of 30 (33% of the retail value)+ free postage against any item on our site - i know the consensus is pay up & move on but i absolutely refuse as a matter of principle to refund her the full 80 she wants considering its state when returned.

btw jscasc - thanks for that useful link.