I have spent the last three posts giving readers free sets of instructions for you to use in your Silhouette Cameo business. (If you missed them: Free car decal instructions, free wall decal instructions, and free care cards.) If you wondered why, those posts were a lead into this one: writing a refund policy. Including instructions for use or care of your handmade products tell customers exactly what they need to do, and can reduce the number of refunds you have to make. For example, if I give a customer a car decal and don’t tell them they should apply it as soon as possible the customer may wait several months. The customer may then have issues installing the decal and ask for a refund for a defective product. Similarly, if I make a heat transfer shirt and the customer takes it to the dry cleaners and the design falls off the customer may ask for a refund. If I have included instructions for the products, these problems may have not occurred.
Unfortunately, at some point in your business, you are going to have a customer who is unhappy with the product or service and will request a refund, exchange, or return. Your refund policy should be clearly written, readily available for a buyer to read before purchasing the items, and included with your product.
When writing your refund, exchange, or return policy, answer the questions below that are applicable to your business:
- How long does a customer have to request a refund?
- Do you require that products be unopened, unused, or in original packaging to request a refund?
- Does the item need to be returned to you? If so, who is responsible for shipping costs?
- Will the customer receive a refund or replacement if it is damaged or lost in the mail?
- How will a refund be processed and how long will it take?
- Are custom orders refundable?
- Can a customer exchange a product for a different one?
- What happens in cases of defective products?
- What if the product is delivered late? Will you provide a refund?
- Do you sell any items that are no refundable – no matter what? (Swimsuits, body care items, etc.)
- Are partial refunds available?
- Is the original shipping refundable?
If you do not offer refunds, exchanges, or returns, that becomes your refund policy – just be sure that it is in writing and available to customers.
A strong refund policy can also help you in the event that a customer initiates a chargeback through their credit card company, a dispute through Paypal, or any other online marketplace. If a customer has not followed your written refund, exchange, and return policies you have a better chance of a judgement in favor of you.