How to deal with Christmas delivery problem refunds

By Sharon Fussell, December 15, 2016

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It is hard to believe that in ten days time… Christmas will be over for another year!

You may currently be experiencing a surge in sales, which is great news. Of course, sales usually slow down once the ‘last post before Christmas’ dates get closer.

I always get a little nervous some buyers leave it quite late before ordering and still expect items to arrive in good time. Sometimes they claim because the order is for a Christmas gift that they deserve refunds if it doesn’t arrive when they expect it to.

And so I try to get orders out as quickly as possible to try and contain any postage problems.

As far as returns go, I usually use Amazon’s procedure so the buyer can access their labels and return the purchase in accordance with Amazon’s rules.

That said, you do not have to use Amazon’s system – as long as you keep within the parameters of their rules, for example no quibble returns for 30 days.

If you refuse to accept returns, a buyer can always ‘A to Z’ you or use a charge back on their payment card.

Although claims for non-arrival of orders are rare, they are still a pain. It is quite an expensive process to issue refunds – the buyer is fully protected – but the seller loses the original postage paid, the item and sale fees paid out to Amazon (which they keep).

Many buyers are not aware of online selling rules that requires sellers to refund the order and return postage costs if the buyer changes their mind within 7 days of the order.

While I admit it isn’t something I bring to buyers’ attention, I do use the information should I wish to return an online item.

Amazon is pretty good on refunding items that have defects and you can return items within a set period for any reason at all.

I usually refund the full cost of an item, unless a buyer returns an item for a reason that is not my fault.

For example:

1) If books arrive in a condition that the buyers are not happy with.

Or

2) The buyer changes their mind.

If the first reason is the case and the item is of low value I will tell the buyer to keep the item and give a total refund.

If the second reason is the case I will issue a product refund once the buyer returns the item.

Amazon allows 30 days for buyers to change their minds and return items. I usually stick to this time frame, but on occasion I might extend this period depending on the situation.

I recently had a buyer asking to return an item where the expected date of arrival had passed by 10 days or so. I refused to accept the return. The buyer requesting a return was doing so on behalf of a third party… and that situation can be the bane of my life!

They order items for their clients and should these clients change their minds the company puts in a return request to me. This costs me money and I do not appreciate it. In fact I would rather do without their business.

And so I am quite strict when responding to third parties who try to return items long after the 30 day return period.

I was recently asked by a buyer to issue a refund for the non-arrival of a book they ordered. When I checked, the order was from over 12 months ago!

I apologised and declined… because how is it possible to miss a book for over a year!?

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What do you think?

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