March 14, 2017

If you have bought a product or service online, you are usually aware of the refund policies.

At times, there are 30 and sometimes 60 day refund guarantees, and other times, there are none.

Even when there is a refund guarantee, there are a few things you need to be aware of which too many people either ignore – or honestly have no clue.

First, at all times, be aware of the terms of the guarantee. In some cases, they are NOT an automatic “you ask you get it” policy. Many times they are qualified refunds. That means, you must meet the requirements to request one. This could be answering some questions, or proving that you have actually tried the method your system you are trying to refund.

The reason for this is simple: you can’t refund software or even a DVD at a store unless it’s damaged or unopened, and typically they’ll only exchange it.

When you have access to a course or product, you have direct access to it. The product owner has no way of knowing just how much you’ve tried to implement. For all they know, you could be simply trying to download it all and upload it to blackhat sites. (Yes, this happens).

Just like you can’t take a half a bottle of liquor back to the store and say, “I decided I just don’t want this one anymore, I want my money back so I can buy a different bottle of liquor that is shiny and looks awesome”, you can’t (usually) do the same thing with an online product or service. The fact that it’s digital is irrelevant.

So pay close attention to the terms of WHAT the refund guarantee says.

Second, if the refund policy is 10 days or 30 days, it is there because you are required to stick with it – that is your time frame for being allowed to refund something. If you try to come back 3, 4, even 6 months later (I’ve had someone try 2 yrs later because they forgot they bought it) – seriously – that’s just unacceptable.

It doesn’t matter WHAT your reasoning is. If you are outside of the refund time frame, you have no right asking for a refund, especially when the product or service HAS supported you, answered your questions or posts, added new features or enhancements or reports into the system/course you bought – you have zero right to request it after that time.

You can’t take a physical product (like a mop or piece of furniture) back to a local hardware store 4-6 months after you bought the product when it has a 30 day money back guarantee. The store just will not take it. “IF” it’s a warranty issue, they’ll advise you on how to get it fixed, but they won’t give you your money back.

And if it has NO refund policy, then that’s it. That’s when you need to decide at the point of purchase if you want that product or not, because you are as the buyer, obligated to abide by that rule unless of course you were never given access to the product in the first place by no fault of your own, then you could be entitled. Just because you “never got around to logging in” doesn’t mean you are entitled. NOT getting your access info AND not getting a support response after a few business days – THAT justifies a refund.

Third, “IF” You are going to request a refund, (at any time), go through proper channels. That means, contacting the site’s helpdesk, or support email address. At worst if you get no response, go to their facebook group or page, and request it there (politely), and clarify that you aren’t getting a response.

On that note – ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS allow a bare minimum of up to 2 business days for ANY business to respond to you. With the connectivity of the world, you have to remember that in some cases people have very different time zones. While it might be Monday to you, it could still be Sunday night for the product creator.

Add to that every country has different holidays affecting their online hours, and people have the right to a vacation. Usually they have support staff, but on occasion it has happened where the person is out of town, or even facing an issue like a power outage is is absolutely unable to get back to you faster than that. (Or, sometimes illness in the family occurs).

So rather than attacking or immediately filing a dispute for someone not responding, consider these things first, and allow legitimate time for a response.  Things happen, we’d prefer to be fairly treated, so it’s only right to treat the seller with fairness as well.

Lastly – If you are within the time frame of the refund policy, NEVER EVER click “request refund” in Paypal! Did you know that immediately files a dispute/complaint with Paypal against the seller?

And did you realize, that it often flags *YOU* as fraud, especially if you do this on a regular basis?

People who wonder why their Paypal accounts get frozen or limited, these are big reasons why.

You need to PROPERLY go through the refund request channels from the seller’s website (or instructions) to request that qualifying refund. If you do not qualify for it, just don’t do it.

As business owners, we know that we can fight it with Paypal, and in most cases, Paypal WILL side with us when we provide the legitimate proof (of access, refund policies etc).

Even if you are within the time to request a refund – never do it through Paypal.

Because I can almost guarantee it will put you on an immediate blacklist with the seller… meaning you won’t be able to buy from them ever again, (even if it’s something you legitimately want), AND many will put it on a ‘global’ blacklist. Meaning, you won’t be able to buy from others either due to the fact that you requested it through improper channels.

I’ve heard of Paypal (from one of their staff members), that every “refund request” and dispute filed through their system, puts a flag on the account from the buyer. They monitor. And THEY can blacklist you, even if you think you’re just refunding a product because you “can”.

When a product is absolute junk (and within the refund time frame), I agree that it deserves a refund.

But in all of my years of business online – and I know this to be the case of most other successful marketers as well (discussions we’ve had) – even if the product IS junk, we almost never request a refund, no matter how entitled we are.


Because (1) we want to protect our accounts, and (2) because we chalk it up to lessons learned, and we never buy from that seller again, we simply remove ourselves from their lists. It still goes on the expense part of the tax receipts so not a total loss ;).


About the author 

Amber Jalink

I've been working online full time for 23+ years... yep, I know a little about doing business on internet ;)

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